With All Wicked Deception

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.”

Understanding the Last Days

I am not a prophet and I am not an expert on the teachings of the last days, so I am not going to attempt to go into detail regarding the events of the last days and who is who and what is what. But I believe we would all have to be blind to not see what is presently going on, not just in the world, but in our individual nations, and within the gatherings of the church (or what is falsely being called “church”), at least here in America.

The lawless one is already at work among us, even if he has (or they have) not yet been revealed. And so much of what is being called “church” here in America are businesses of men, being run just like businesses, which are following after other humans and their marketing schemes and tricks. And this is widespread across America and across church denominations. And so they are marketing “the church” now to the world.

And this is not about drawing people to genuine faith in Jesus Christ by sharing with them the truth of the gospel. This is about using marketing techniques and schemes in order to attract the people of the world (the ungodly) to the gatherings of what they call “church.” And so they follow these marketing ploys for how to get people in their “churches,” and thus they pattern the gathering of “the church” after the cravings of the world.

They are being taught that they must do everything to not offend the people of the world and to make them feel comfortable and at home in the gatherings of these “churches.” And so they use worldly means and methods both to attract them to their gatherings and to keep them coming back for more. So they entertain them and they dilute the character of God/Christ and they alter and dilute the gospel of Christ to appease human flesh.

Speaking from Experience

Now, I am not speaking here without knowledge and without much experience in these matters, for I am 73 years of age and I began ministering in the church probably before the age of 16, when I worked in the nursery. But then at the age of 16 I was already teaching the Bible to children. And most of my life since then I have been engaged in some type of church ministry in serving my Lord. And my husband and I were even church planters twice, and so we have been through some of their training classes, so we know some of what is being taught to pastors these days.

And when you work closely in the inner workings of some of these “churches,” you get to see not only the good but the bad and ugly, too, and you get to see what is really going on behind the scenes. And then we have had a lot of experiences living in different states and cities within the USA and attending and participating in many of these institutional churches of various church denominations, so we have learned much that way.

And then I read books and articles and blog posts and memes on social media and people’s posts on social media, etc., and I have interactions with a lot of people who profess faith in Christ, especially since I have been writing on the internet for nearly 20 years on various sites. And I read and I listen to how they describe their faith and their understanding of the gospel, and I have tested these against the Scriptures, too.

So, my point here is that I am not a novice here when it comes to church ministry and the inner workings of what is going on inside these gatherings called “church.” So, I speak from much experience in these matters when I talk on these subjects, and so I can say with much confidence that the lawless one is greatly at work inside many gatherings of what are called “church,” and the evidence is huge that Satan is behind it all.

The End Result

And the end result of it all is what this passage speaks of. Many pastors of what are called “churches” are charlatans and wolves in sheep’s clothing, and they are the deeply deceived who are then in turn deceiving their people into accepting lies as truth and into rejecting the truth as lies. And so we have many false professions of faith in Jesus Christ coming from those who are refusing to love the truth and so be saved from their lives of sin.

For they are largely being taught that a once in their lifetime decision to believe in Jesus Christ is enough to have all their sins forgiven and to be guaranteed heaven when they die regardless of how they live their lives on this earth. And I can still recall the first time I heard someone tell me this, for this man declared to me, “I don’t have to repent! I just have to believe!” So he obviously believed that repentance was not connected to his faith.

And many are being so bold now as to teach that we do not have to repent of our sins, and we do not have to obey the Lord, and that absolutely no works are required of us whatsoever, regardless of what the Scriptures teach on that subject, which are numerous. For they teach salvation as just forgiveness of sins and a promise of heaven, but with no requirements to forsake their sins and to live holy lives and to obey our Lord, in practice.

So, what does this Scripture say? To those who refuse to love the truth, who reject it in favor of the lies, God sends a strong delusion, so that they believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. And please take note of these last few words here, for the Scriptures teach that if we make sin our practice, and if obedience to our Lord and walks of holiness are not our practice, that we will not inherit eternal life with God, regardless of what faith we have professed with our lips.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; 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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