Thursday, 5 October 2017
…and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2 Thessalonians 2:10
The words, “and with all unrighteous deception,” are tied into the previous thought. Paul had just said that when the Antichrist comes, it would be with “all power, signs, and lying wonders.” Along with that, he will bring “all unrighteous deception.” The thought expands the previous three points. Everything about the Antichrist will be filled with unrighteous deception. In this, there is deceit being worked out, and that deceit is specifically for the purpose of committing unrighteousness. This will be evidenced, then, “among those who perish.”
This is speaking not of those who commit the deception, but of those who are the objects of it. They will be utterly deluded by the wiles of the Antichrist. Instead of looking for God, they will have their eyes fixed on this person, the one who most wholly manifests and embodies Satan. They will believe the lie and those who do not love the truth will be condemned for it. As Paul says of them, “because they did not receive the love of the truth.”
The “love of the truth” is speaking of the gospel of Christ which alone can save the soul. The word “because” gives the sense of judicial standing. They had, in fact, been offered the truth, but they turned it down. These people entered the tribulation period because they had refused to check on whether the Christian message was true or not. They will continue to refuse the message which will obviously be received by some who will not take the mark of the beast. A testimony to the truth will stand, but they will willingly refuse it. This is not at all a matter of predestination such as Calvin would teach, stating that they are condemned apart from hearing the truth. Rather it is a willing refusal of the truth.
This will be seen further as the next verse is introduced. For now though Paul simply declares the fact that those who follow Antichrist will not receive the love of the truth, “that they might be saved.” The obvious implication is that, if they did receive it, they would be saved. Salvation because of the truth of God in Christ does not end with the rapture of the church. Instead, it is that which alone can save, at any time and in any dispensation. However, these people will willingly receive error and falsity rather than accept the simple gospel – salvation is by grace through faith. Thus, their condemnation is just.
Life application: The words of this verse are true even today. There are countless false religions and cults out there who strive against God, introducing error and falsehood into their theology. But the truth of the message of Christ is available for any who will simply pick up the Bible and read it. But the general condition of man is to follow deception rather than truth. One must willingly put aside self, accept that we have no merit before God, and receive the simple gospel. If we fail to do this, we remain enemies of God, and our condemnation is just.
Lord God, it is pretty obvious that the natural human condition is to follow a path which is contrary to You. We tend to insert ourselves into any hope of salvation, as if we can somehow merit Your favor. But Your word shows that salvation is completely apart from our merits. Instead, we are to receive the work of Jesus by faith, and then to trust that it alone is sufficient for our salvation. May we never trust in our own merits. Instead, may we simply call out for Jesus, and continue to trust in His work to carry us home to You. Thank You for what He alone has done! Amen.