Is God real? Is the ancient Christian message still relevant and worthy of our attention? Or can we ignore it as many do today? There was a time in the not-too-terribly-distant past when the majority of families migrated to a building of their choice to worship on Sunday; when God was favorably referenced in the media, and Christian values were supported in the print and visual media, schools, and government. Not anymore. Now, few still view Sunday as anything but a day to sleep in and prepare for the new work week. When it does find its way into the media, Christianity is the implied “ignorant man’s choice,” and if there’s a character in a movie or series who is identifiable as such, he or she either did it, or Christ’s message is so altered as to be rendered unrecognizable. The sad truth and new reality is that within our post-Christian society so little of culture acknowledges God anymore, that for someone who hasn’t invested the time and effort to discover for him or herself, Christianity’s relevance can be a legitimate question.
“So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 NLT)
“And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (II Thessalonians 2:11-12 NKJV)
“For this reason God sends them something powerful that leads them away from the truth so they will believe a lie. So all those will be judged guilty who did not believe the truth, but enjoyed doing evil.” (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 NCV)
This particular passage in II Thessalonians has been rendered slightly differently in various translations, but the message is clear–because they wanted nothing to do with God, He sends a strong delusion and people fall for the lie. What lie? There may be more to it than just this, but the theory of evolution is almost certainly a part.
Before you write me off as ignorant and uneducated, hear me out: I’m really not, and there are multiple scientists and academics–not only Christian but also secular–who find far too many flaws in the theory to accept it wholesale. Google it. Check out the opposing arguments, because that’s what receiving an education is supposed to do for you–it’s supposed to teach you to objectively evaluate all sides and then make an informed decision, not tell you what to believe. Refusing to even evaluate a premise that is not easily observable, is, in fact, the antithesis of being educated–far worse, it smacks of the highest form of bias and indoctrination–almost, one might say, of being strongly deluded.
Yet this is what we have today. It is almost impossible to be taken seriously in some academic and professional circles if you even question evolution’s validity; in most textbooks it is presented as the prevalent and exclusively legitimate theory of origins. It has become a given, as proven beyond the shadow of a doubt, though it is far from so. It is, in fact, Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale The Emperor’s New Clothes; everyone’s afraid to point out the obvious–that’s it’s not really there, that it has major flaws.
This is not to say bits and pieces might not be verifiable or reproducible, but when we enter the realm of speculation so far back in time that the human mind boggles–we can’t rightly fathom a hundred thousand years, much less billions and billions–that’s entering the realm of irreproducible and unprovable opinion passed off as factual history. And we, like the villagers in The Emperor’s New Clothes, are all pretending to see the legitimacy of what’s not there, because we’re afraid to paint an “ignorant and uneducated” bullseye on our head to point out the obvious.
Let’s take a look at the entire passage today’s verses are found in:
“Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the [future] coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him. Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God. Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming. This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 NLT)
The “great rebellion against God” has already begun, it “is already at work secretly.” “Every kind of evil deception” will “fool those on their way to destruction because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.” Because they want nothing to do with Him, “God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies.”
God IS real and there have been volumes written proving it. Google it, buy a book, do the homework–the incontrovertible evidence is there, and I can’t do better in a short devotional. The problem, however, is not with the absence of proof or the illegitimacy of faith in Christ–it is with those who refuse Him; they do not want to believe.
In the end, it turns out that rather than Christians having a need to believe, those who reject Jesus have a need to not believe. If God is real, I am accountable to Him, and will someday be judged for my sins, for my rebellion against Him. I must turn away from them; I must come to Him. I cannot allow myself to admit He is real if I want to continue doing something wrong, if I “refuse to love and accept the truth that would save” me–it is inconsistent. Logic demands that I act according to reason: if God exists I must change my life; if He does not, only then can I continue as I desire.
But He does exist; He IS real, and those who “refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them” will be “condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.” Do you believe? BELIEVE!
Dear Lord Jesus,
Help me not enjoy evil rather than believing the truth! I believe–help me love and accept the truth that will save me!! Amen.