“Those who are perishing because …”
We are challenged by the way Paul uses the word “truth” three times in 2 Thessalonians 2. He also uses it eleven times in his letters to Timothy, which we are just about to read. There is not much “truth” spoken today. No one admits anything they say is a lie, but it is a challenging question to ask ourselves ‘Can we really make a positive statement about something which is neither a “lie” nor “the truth”?
The tactic of deliberately giving a misleading impression is all too common; some refer to such as ‘half-truths’! Let’s consider some of the points Paul makes. He writes of “those who are perishing because they refused to love the truth and so be saved” (verse 10). So ‘truth’ is not just something to be spoken – there is a certain “truth” which is something to be loved – and those who do not do this – perish!
What is the specific “sense” of the “truth” Paul is referring to here? It is the truth about God and the truth about his ways and the beliefs he is looking for humans to accept and – as a result – then to live their lives in a way that shows they willingly – indeed joyfully – accept this truth as the only meaningful way to live their lives.
We are then challenged to understand the character of God when the next two verses tell us “therefore God shall send 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” (verses 11,12).
Some pull a curtain across their minds as to the character of God; to simply say ‘God is love’ is an oversimplification. Those who have pleasure in unrighteousness cannot serve God acceptably. God knows our hearts; we can intellectually know – and say we understand what is true – but do we love that which is true? We may believe God is soon going to make his power known in a very dramatic way! Do we “see” in our hearts that God is being “righteous” in doing this – that God is doing the right thing – because the world deserves this!
Verse 13 says we are chosen by God “to be saved through sanctification (holiness) by the Spirit and belief in the truth”. In contrast, when Jesus returns he will “inflict vengeance on all those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel …” (1:8). But, oh the wonder and joy for those who do (1:9-12)! And you?
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