2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 ESV
“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
When I read this passage of Scripture this time, what immediately came to mind was Revelation 13:1-18. For it speaks of the dragon (Satan) giving his power and throne and great authority to a beast rising out of the sea, which I believe to be a one-world global government being run by the elite of the world who are presently doing exactly what this passage speaks of. So this one-world order is presently in the works. And this beast is allowed to make war on the saints of God and to conquer them. And that is happening.
And then there is a second beast rising out of the earth, and it exercises all the authority of the first beast, which is the authority of Satan. And so the dragon, the first beast, and the second beast seem to form a false trinity. And this second beast makes the inhabitants of the earth worship this first beast. And it performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and it deceives those who dwell on the earth. And this appears to fit with the description of the lawless one.
Okay, so this lawless one is deceiving those who are perishing, and they are perishing because they refuse to love the truth and so be saved. So, who or what is presently deceiving people so that they refuse to love the truth and so be saved? It is the false church, the institutional church which is of man and not of God. So since the church is the body of Christ, this is a false body of Christ. It pretends to be “the church” but it isn’t, for it is being run by humans and it is following after men’s marketing schemes.
So, although the true church is the body of people believing in Jesus Christ, who have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and who have been raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, with Christ Jesus as their head, these liars have turned the gatherings of what is now called “church” into a marketplace where they are marketing “the church” to the world. And so they are altering the gospel of Christ and his character to make them more appealing and acceptable to the ungodly and to human flesh.
And then going back to Revelation 13, it says that this second beast exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast. And what comes to mind here is that back in the mid 1950’s I began school. And at school and in the gatherings of church that I attended I was taught to put hand over heart and to pledge (vow) my allegiance (worship, faithfulness, loyalty) to my government. And we sang patriotic songs of worship of our government, and we honored our military as our heroes and saviors who kept us safe.
And most people I know today in my age group are still putting hand over heart and are vowing their fidelity to the government, and they are still singing songs of worship of the government, and many of them demonstrate much more loyalty to the government than they do to Almighty God, just from what I have observed through the words they speak and through their social media posts. And they will give way more praise and defense of politicians than they will ever mention Jesus and his gospel message.
And all of this is deliberate and well planned out deception along with the gospel they are teaching now, too. For they are telling people that they can just acknowledge who Jesus is and what he did, or they can make a public confession of Christ as Lord, or they can make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and they are now told that all their sins are forgiven and heaven is now guaranteed them when they die, end of story. And many are teaching that we do not have to repent or obey our Lord or do any works at all.
But the Scriptures do not support that, unless you pull some of them out of their context and make them say what you want them to say while you ignore the bulk of the teaching on salvation, eternal life, repentance, and obedience as is taught in the Scriptures. For the Scriptures are quite clear that we must die with Christ to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and that we must follow our Lord in obedience. For if we don’t, and we continue in deliberate and habitual sin, we will die in our sins, and we will not enter the kingdom of heaven, regardless of what our mouths profess.
But even if you show this to people in the Scriptures, so many of them will refuse to hear it, for they refuse to love the truth and so be saved. They prefer the lie, because the lie makes no requirements of them for turning away from their sins to follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his commands under the New Covenant. For the lie convinces them that a mere profession of faith in Christ is enough to secure them heaven for eternity regardless of how they live their lives while they are still on the earth.
2 Thessalonians 2:13-15 ESV
“But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.”
Now the truth of the gospel is that Jesus Christ (the only begotten Son of God, who is God) died on that cross, not just to forgive us our sins, and not just so we can go to heaven when we die, but he died to free us from our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin and to empower us to live godly, holy and righteous lives in obedience to our Lord, and for the glory of God, and in his power, strength and wisdom. For Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to his righteousness (1 Peter 2:24; Romans 6:1-23).
And Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self, we will lose them for eternity. But if for the sake of Jesus we die with him to sin and we now walk in obedience to his commands in righteous living, then we have the hope of eternal life. For if we are ashamed of Jesus and his words, denying him as Lord, then when he returns he will be ashamed of us (he will deny us).
[See: Luke 9:23-26; Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Near the Cross
Hymn lyrics by Fanny J. Crosby, 1869
Music by William H. Doane, 1869
Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.
Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.
Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.
Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
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