by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 7 January 3, 2015 Humble, Texas (Download Audio)
(043)Thesis:God is active in retaliation against those who refuse to yield to "truth".
Introduction:We have come in our studies to the end of the long paragraph of 2:1-12. We have seen that Paul is very interested in making sure the Thessalonians are clear about the fact that the Day of the Lord has not yet begun so that their hope of the Rapture will not be confused. In this unit of thought, the primary focus has been upon the person we call "the antichrist", but whom Paul calls "the man of the lawlessness". At issue is the devil's long range plan to bring humanity under his dominion so that he may use its "power" in his war against God's dominion. Now, at the end of the paragraph, we are told why God has been allowing this progression of "the mystery of the lawlessness" to progress to the point of a massive human rebellion against Him. Paul says it is most fundamentally because the "love" which is God's bottom line in all of His dealings with His creation has been rejected, particularly at the level of "truth".
I. The Reasons God Permits Satan's Gradual Success.
A. "On this account...".
1. The majority of humanity "did not embrace 'the love of the Truth'."
a. The great "advantage" of "the Truth" is that it provides the boundaries of knowledge for the non-omniscient so that they may live, as persons, within the benefits of the Joy of Life.
1) "Persons" are beings which have the capacities of thought, choice, and action.
2) Within the reality of multitudes of "persons" who do not have omniscience, nor innate wisdom, there exists the enormous possibility of "thoughts, choices, and actions" that are damaging to others.
3) "The Truth" makes it possible for "thoughts" to be directed toward benefit, "choices" to be made for benefit, and "actions" that will work within the dynamic of a cause/effect reality to produce benefit.
b. The great "disadvantage" of "the Truth" is that non-omniscient persons cannot contain it so that they must be rooted in the main foundation of "Love" (benefits for everyone) and "Faith" (submission to what is known so that what is not known does not overrule the truth's commitment to the "Love").
c. For a created "person" to not "love" "The Truth" makes that person an extreme danger to others so that "unrighteousness" is both hurtful and inevitable.
2. God's "love" was manifest in the provision of a way to be "saved" from all of the disasters of unrighteousness, and humanity was simply not interested because of "the deceit of unrighteousness" (which has its roots in the inward turn from others to the self).
B. "...so that...".
1. God's reaction is active in making it possible for the truth to be set aside in favor of "the lie".
a. When a "person" settles the issue of "love", God reinforces the thoughts, choices, and actions that that person produces; this is both for those who love the truth and those who do not.
b. Thus, when a person comes to awareness of his/her own thoughts, choices, and actions in respect to the issue of "who will profit and who will lose?", he/she will either yield to the insistence of "love for others" or will resist and commit to "love for myself".
c. Thus, God's reaction to the selfish is to reinforce their commitment to themselves.
2. The major issue is "the lie".
a. The nature of "the lie" is directly involved with "the mystery of the lawlessness" and is most directly addressed to the immutability of God's character and, particularly, His "Love for others".
b. The "lie" is, thus, the rejection of the immutability of God's commitment to "righteousness" as the means to the benefit which is to flow to others at whatever personal cost is involved.
3. God's reaction to those who refuse to yield is to simply reinforce the selfishness by sending a "power of wandering" into their hearts and minds [Paul calls this "God giving them up to their own lusts"].
4. This reaction is reality in spite of the declarations of God's "Love" in view of a desire that they be saved.
C. "...in order that...".
1. God is interested in holding those accountable who did not believe the truth (this is the "faith" side of the coin).
2. He is also interested because they took pleasure in "unrighteousness" (this is the "love" side of the coin).