Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. (Jn. 17: 17)
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. (2 Thess. 2:9-12)
I will be starting a new series, specifically expositing on the phrase 'refusing to love the truth' as stated in 2 Thess. 2:10. Recent events have shown me the reason for various things going on in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ which grieves me, and this passage I think is the best expression of the union of truth and love in our Christian walk, and explains a lot of what is happening both in liberal and conservative circles in Christianity.
The passage of 2 Thess. 2:9-12 is set in the context of the description of the last days with the coming of the antichrist or the man of lawlessness. In this particular passage, we can see that as the last days draw ever closer, such events as described here will take place. Before the coming of the antichrist, there will be an increase in false signs and wonders, with the intention of deceiving even the elect if possible (Mk. 13:22). Such and other forms of deception will multiply and will deceive those who are perishing. Of such people, it is described that they are deceived because they 'do not love the truth and be saved'. As such, God will judge them by sending a strong delusion to believe in what is false, and be further condemned because they love unrighteousness.
We can note that in this text, God is described as sending such people a strong delusion, thus we can see that deception and falsehood is a form of judgment sent by God to those who 'do not love the truth and be saved'. Contrary to effeminate 'christianity', God can and will judge people, and He also can and will judge people by giving them lies to believe in, which further their condemnation (Rom. 1:24, 28). God does in that sense 'deceive people', but such is judgment which brings further condemnation based upon the fact that they 'do not love the truth and be saved', not something that is undeserved.
We have been talking a lot about this phrase of people who 'do not love the truth and be saved'. However, what does this mean? A cursory look would show that such people are not saved, and they are not saved because they 'do not love the truth'. Loving the truth therefore is a condition for salvation.
Now, it must be stated that this in no sense detract from the truth that salvation is by faith alone. However, when a person is saved by faith alone, he/she has already been regenerated by the Holy Spirit (Jn. 3: 3) and thus is a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). Contrary to the 'free-grace' heretics like Zane Hodge et al, repentance is not a work because a person who will by faith alone receive the salvation offer of Christ will only do so if they have been regenerated in Christ, which will precipitate repentance from sin. Being saved by faith alone apart from repentance is like saying it is possible to be alive without breathing; an oxymoron indeed. When a person has been saved by faith alone, the person will love Christ and love the truth because that is the nature of the new person in Christ.
When talking about the phrase 'love the truth', we can note that there are two components to the phrase, namely 'love' and 'truth'. Since Christ is the truth (Jn. 14:6) and Christ is the Word (Jn. 1:1), loving Christ would mean loving the truth and loving the Scriptures, and vice versa. Therefore, anyone who says that they love Christ but do not love the Truth of God and the Scriptures is a liar. Similarly, anyone who says they love the truths and doctrines of the Christian faith but yet do not love Christ deceives himself and the truth is not in him.
In the next installment, I will examine a couple of examples found within Christendom to show forth how such a phenomenon as 'refusing to love the truth' has been and will be manifested.
[to be continued]