TO CHEW ON: “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive a love of the truth, that they might be saved.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9,10
In this interesting chapter of 2 Thessalonians, Paul gives his readers (who are confused about whether Jesus has already returned) some signs to watch for that will precede “that day.”
- It will be a time of “falling away”—people losing their faith in Jesus and the gospel - 2 Thessalonians 2:3.
- A charismatic leader will come on the scene. He will demand everyone’s allegiance, even worship. He will work miracles by Satan’s power - 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4,9,10.
- People will be gullible because restraint has been removed - 2 Thessalonians 2:6,7. (There are varying opinions about “what is restraining” [vs. 6] and “He [or he] who now restrains” [vs. 7] is—the Holy Spirit, the church, human government. I think it is safe to say whatever that restraining power, God is behind it being in place and then being removed.)
- People will be ripe for deception because they’ve rejected the truth. Paul’s words are explicit here: “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteousness deceptions among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
What we can take for our lives from this passage is that a love of the truth is a guard against deception. This is more than just a head knowledge or intellectual assent, though. John Piper expresses it well in this sermon on 2 Thessalonians 2:
“Notice: it is not merely an issue of knowing or believing in a merely mental sense: it is an issue of loving….Therefore the only defense against this appeal (signs and miracles of the man of lawlessness) will be a deeper desire for God. If Christ is our portion and our treasure, if he satisfies our longings, and if we love the glory of his gospel, then the mystery of lawlessness will not overcome us, and our love will not grow cold and we will endure to the end and be saved”
- John Piper, quote from message on the DesiringGod website (emphasis added). Read or listen to entire…
PRAYER: Dear God, help me to know, love, and live by the truth of Your word. Please make me sensitive to deception in whatever form it comes. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.