2 Thessalonians 2:8-12
… and then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will destroy by the breath of his mouth and wipe out by the manifestation of his arrival. 9 The arrival of the lawless one will be by Satan’s working with all kinds of miracles and signs and false wonders, 10 and with every kind of evil deception directed against those who are perishing, because they found no place in their hearts for the truth so as to be saved. 11 Consequently God sends on them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false. 12 And so all of them who have not believed the truth but have delighted in evil will be condemned.
18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness, 19 because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”
The enemy of our souls will one day meet his demise – simply by the LORD’s presence – but not before he launches a vicious campaign, trying to deceive the whole world. God is so good to warn us of the enemy’s attacks, but mankind can be deaf and blind to them. We do not have to be surprised; though we will not know the very hour, we can know the season. How is it, then, that people would choose death and destruction? Why would we ever choose to accept lies instead of God’s truth? Can we blame the enemy who deceived us? Eve tried that one, too. No, we must realize that we are given free will and the opportunity to choose life or death, which are before us.
Some may question our culpability when reading the rest of this passage from Thessalonians. God influenced them to believe the lies – but not before they first chose to. They cannot say they did not know, because the passage above in Romans clearly shows how mankind knew the truth and suppressed it. These verses humble me to walk in the fear of the LORD. There is nothing in me that would make me right with God, save His grace alone. I am forever grateful that He chose to open my eyes to understand His Word and to know Him.
The scripture above says that the cause for the people’s perishing is because they “found no place in their hearts for the truth”. Why was there no place for God in their hearts and what did they make room for in their hearts? Things that did not matter for eternity; lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and boastful pride of life filled their hearts and minds. Our hearts, too, can be crowded and burdened with all that beckons to distract us from the One thing needful – a relationship with God. We must rule our hearts and prepare Him room. But our very hearts are deceitful – what then (Jeremiah 17:9)? Where is hope when we are surrounded and occupied by an enemy (our flesh) inside? It is this very knowledge that can free us.
Knowing the truth about our hearts can set us free. Placing confidence in God and His word, not our flesh, not our hearts, is making Him room. Choosing to believe the One Who is truth personified, versus believing the One Who is known as the Master Deceiver, is the path to eternal life. Seems like a simple choice, right? But our heart of flesh can be strong and we will often have to go against very persuasive feelings which betray God’s Word. Although satan’s deceit is powerful to twist the truth, God’s truth is all-powerful to change hearts, and illumine the truth to our eyes. Today we have a choice set before us . . . make way for the Messiah!
Lord, help us to daily, moment by moment, to seek You first. May our lives not become too crowded, lest we forget our real life’s purpose – to know You and glorify You. Our hearts are all laid before You, Master. Help us to turn others from the path of deception toward an eternal life with You! Amen.