The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 NIV)
The Thessalonians had somehow gotten the impression that they had missed Jesus’ second coming. This was a devastating thought because their hope in life was the promise of eternal life with Jesus. For anyone suffering persecution and hardship hope is essential. It is essential for everyone, but it is easy to place our hope in temporary things when life is easy.
For some reason Paul chooses in this passage to focus on what will happen before Jesus comes again. An evil man will come, and his purpose will be to deceive. We regularly watch crime dramas. I understand that these are not true stories, but I’m still fascinated by characters who are so easily deceived by a lie. Most of the time the lie is obvious, but if everyone told the truth and only believed the truth there would be no story.
We see what we are looking for. Based on my personal experience I could make a convincing case for white 2000 Outbacks being the most popular car on the road in Santa Rosa. I see them everywhere. I see them because we drive one and I’m looking for them. I’m quite certain that DMV statistics would show that some other car is the most popular. I just went to Google and discovered that Subaru doesn’t have a car in the top 30 most popular cars in California. I have a choice. I can continue to believe that my Subaru is a very popular car, or I can choose to believe the truth. Fortunately, this choice will have no impact on my life or eternal destiny.
Paul’s warning is that we make choices all the time and Satan’s goal is to deceive us. If we are looking for wickedness, we’ll find it. If we love pleasure, we’ll find it. The thing that should frighten us in this passage is the warning that God will reinforce the delusion that is fed by our desire for wickedness. I think very few people would say that their greatest desires are lies and deception. Yet every day we choose to believe lies about ourselves and the world we live in because we think what we’re hearing is in our best interest.
There is another choice. We can choose to desire truth and seek after it regardless of how hard it is to hear. I believe that the truth is good news. I am a sinner. The truth is that I’m far worse than I think I am most of the time and there is nothing I can do on my own to change that. I need help. Jesus died on the cross and rose again to save me from myself. When I desire truth and look for truth this is what I’ll see, a world in need of a Savior who will destroy deception when He returns.
For my grandchildren:
Do not be deceived. Always look for the truth.