2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 New International Version (NIV)
The Man of Lawlessness
2 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness[a] is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 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.
Thurs. December 10
Wow. This passage is both hard to read and hard to fully understand. One thing is clear: God is in control. That is no mere sentiment to Paul. In fact, that gives him incredible comfort! In fact, Paul even points out that God is so clearly in control that He actively sends a delusion to fool people, so that they cannot escape condemnation. In our lives this might look like how God has called us to give mercy, love and grace, but the law (which is anything that tells us about right and wrong) that comes from God actually deludes us into thinking that we are in control and do not need saving. We are deluded by the very laws of God into thinking that we do not need Jesus because we can earn enough “brownie points” to make it into heaven on our own. Don’t believe me? Then ask yourself this: “Have I ever held a grudge?” Holding a grudge is the delusion that you are better than someone by some system of rules that you live by and because you are good enough then you can judge others. But there is the condemnation! You are not the judge; you never have been and never will be. So, let’s turn to Jesus for mercy and grace, and praise God that HE is in control, not us!