Saturday, November 10, 2007

Why would God send a delusion to those who refuse to accept Christ? (2 Thes. 2)

In the context of this passage, Paul is telling the Thessalonians of the coming of Jesus. He is supplementing what he has already told them. As we have all been taught, there will be those who accept Christ and those who do not. This passage in the latter verses addresses those who follow the Antichrist and have lived "lawless" lives. It will be much worse than we see in today's culture where people do whatever they want and act as if they are their own gods.

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan. The Antichrist will come with power,with signs and with lying wonders. All of this is according to the working of Satan, as described in Revelation 13:13-17. If someone has spiritual power,signs,or wonders,those are not enough to prove they are from God. Satan can perform his own powerful works, either through deception or through his own resources of power. He is Satan’s messiah, an infernal caricature of the true messiah. The deception can only take root in those who do not receive the love of the truth. These people are ready for the deception of the Antichrist, because they want a lie, and God will send them a strong delusion. In the end, the Antichrist is only God’s messenger. God has judgment to bring, and He will send . . . a strong delusion through the Antichrist. God will not force this delusion on anyone, but those who do not receive the love of the truth will receive this strong delusion. God is sending to them the working of delusion in order that they should believe the falsehood. They were first deluded, which was their sin; and God sends them strong delusion, and that is their punishment. Specifically, God sends them the lie. This isn’t just any lie, but the lie, the lie that has enthralled the human race since Adam. This is the lie that God is not God and we can be gods. His point is that the last pseudo-Messiah or Antichrist will embody all that is profane and blasphemous, every conceivable element of impiety; and that, instead of being repudiated, he will be welcome by Jews as well as pagans.
As God gives rebellious man the lie he desires, it isn’t out of His generosity. Instead, it shows God’s judgment on those who reject the truth. As Romans 1 points out, this God giving man up to the depravity of his heart, his pleasure in unrighteousness. They think that they are acting in defiance of Him. But in the end they find that those very acts in which they expressed their defiance were the vehicle of their punishment. Thus he will punish men for their unbelief, and for their dislike of the truth and love to sin and wickedness; not that God is the author of sin, but in righteousness he sometimes withdraws his grace from such sinners as are here mentioned. He gives them over to Satan, or leaves them to be deluded by his instruments. He gives them up to their own hearts’ lusts, and leaves them to themselves, and then sin will follow. God is just when he inflicts spiritual judgments here, and eternal punishments hereafter, upon those who have no love to the truths of the gospel, who will not believe them, nor live suitably to them, but indulge false doctrines in their minds, and wicked practices in their lives and conversations.

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