The Man of Lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)

 

Have you wondered how seemingly smart people can get caught up in really dumb things because of religion?  In my years as a Pentecostal church pastor, one of my greatest frustrations has been trying to bring people back to the truth who have gotten caught up in religious fantasy.  I must confess that I wasn’t good at it.  The truth is, as human history continues, people will tend to increasingly get caught up in religious insanity until the day comes when all of humanity will look to one person who represents the embodiment of what they desire from God.  Until then, religious insanity will continue because people will look for an easier way to God than through faith in the Savior.  There are three reasons why people get caught up in religious insanity mentioned in this passage.

First, people fear abandonment by God

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sister, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us… asserting that the day of the Lord has already come.

Fear causes people to do irrational things.  Someone who fears abandonment by someone whose love they crave may try harder to keep them which often leads to the ruining of the relationship.  People who fear that God doesn’t love them and will abandon them will also look for a way to make God love them so he doesn’t abandon them. 

God doesn’t abandon people.  People abandon God.

Second, people who fear abandonment are vulnerable to deception

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, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing.

Much of what goes on in modern church culture has to do with making people feel loved by God.  Worship services are often designed to make people feel loved and accepted instead of drawing people to a righteous God who loves too much to leave us the way we are.   Be careful of those preachers of whatever religion who seek and claim to have God’s presence because of the manifestations of signs and wonders. 

Third, people are deceived because they don’t want to acknowledge the truth.

They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

The truth is this:  People are powerless over their own sin and only the loving God can save them from themselves.  This requires a lifetime of repentance.  By repentance, I mean confessing our wrongs, changing our behaviors, and inviting others to join us on the path.  Entrance into the path of salvation is God’s free gift.  Walking that path requires humility and determination to put Jesus’ teaching into daily practice.

They day will come when all religions will agree that there is an easier path to righteousness than faithfulness to God.  Until then, it is up to those who love God to remember that God loves us and that he will not abandon us along the path of salvation.

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