In today’s scary world, pain seems just around the corner. It can seem like justice will never come. We see acts of terror, persecution, and destruction, and we naturally wonder, “God, where are you?” But God will bring justice. Paul explains this in his second letter to the Christians at Thessalonica.
Read 2 Thessalonians 2:1–12. Reflect on 2 Thessalonians 2:11–12:
“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” (ESV).
Ultimately, God lets those who have sought sin be given over to the power of sin (compare Romans 1:28). When Paul speaks of God sending a strong (or powerful) delusion, he does not mean that God is actively creating deception. Instead, God ultimately lets people succumb to the power of the evil they have already sought.
In essence, at or near the day of Jesus’ return, God removes the blessing of his general goodness over the lives of those who have sought evil. Instead of being protected in a way from their sin—as everyone on the planet is—he sends forth the full power of the evil they have chosen (compare Matthew 5:43–45). This means calamity and destruction, for that is the only thing that evil can accomplish.
Paul says this to comfort the Thessalonians. Evil may come. It may bring persecution and even terror. But it will not win! God remembers those who have relentlessly sought evil. And he lets the very evil they have sought be used in judgment against them.
God offers incredible grace to anyone who seeks him (Romans 1:16; John 3:16). But for those who seek evil instead, the full judgment of God will come down upon them for the choices they have made (John 3:17). Peter tells us that God, in his great mercy, has not brought about this day of judgment yet because he is waiting for more people to come onto salvation (1 Peter 1:3–12; 2:1–3; 2 Peter 3:15). God is also giving us an opportunity to draw closer to him.
The type of people we are under persecution, when evil strikes, says a great deal about our character. For these reasons, Jesus told us to love our enemies. Love can transform even the hardest of hearts.
What type of person do you desire to be? How can you show God’s love to even those who do evil against you and others? Drop me a comment, I would love to hear from you.
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