2 Thessalonians 2:6-12: Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve
July 21, 2019
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
2 Chronicles 22-24, Psalm 146, Luke 12:1-12, 2 Thessalonians 2:6-12
Paul continues his teaching here about the “man of lawlessness.” (See the previous devotional for a definition and discussion about what Paul means about the “man of lawlessness.”) In this section, there are three matters about which we need to be made aware.
First, the way that Jesus defeats evil and overthrows this mysterious man of lawlessness figure is through the “breath of his mouth.” Paul here is referring to the teaching of God’s Word. We sometimes think of Bible study or sermons or devotionals as merely an intellectual exercise. But it is through the “breath of his mouth” – through the Word of God – that the power of Satan is defeated in our lives and around the world. Therefore, give yourself to understand the Bible. To know the Bible. To explain the Bible. If we wish to see the kingdom of darkness pushed back and the kingdom of light established, then we will seek to make the voice of Jesus heard through the breath of his mouth, that is the Word of God.
Second, we are told that this opposition to Jesus will be “in accordance with how Satan works.” How is that? Satan will use “all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie.” So Satan is a liar. He is, says Jesus, the father of lies. He trades in lies and falsehoods. He lies about who you are and what your life is about. He whispers lies in your ears that God does not love you, or that you have no value. He constantly tries to tear down the Christian with deception and lies. And then we are told that he uses displays of power and signs and wonders. Supernatural acts can be done which are not done by God. There can be impressive supernatural works that are devilish in origin, not divine. An impressive charismatic personality is no guarantee that someone is being used by God. It is “by their fruits” (Jesus says), not their gifts, that you shall know them. What counts is Christlike character, not apparently impressive, even supernatural, abilities. Satan then not only lies, he also tries to back up those lies with powerful movements and activities and even false signs and wonders. How often this has happened down through history with various false religions and new spiritualities, and how the Christian must be on guard against it. Very gifted men and women can deceive us unless we test the spirits and test the people by the Christ-test of character and Christlikeness; by their fruits you shall know them.
Third, the reason why people ultimately perish is because they “refused to love the truth.” We as responsible moral agents make choices. And we choose how we respond to the word of God and the gospel. Those who will not be saved are those who refuse to be saved. You have before you today – and each day the Word of God is presented to you – death and life, hope and hell; choose this day whom you will serve.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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