The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 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. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 NKJV
If you have followed the rhetoric by those of a liberal bent being directed towards Christians lately, you may have noticed that some of the terms they use come directly from the Bible. Unfortunately for them, however, is that they fail to notice that those terms are not used in the Word in reference to believers but rather are reserved to describe nonbelievers. You see, rather than believers being “delusional” because of their beliefs, it is the unbelievers who reject the truth as revealed by God who are described in this passage from Paul as being deluded.
In this chapter, Paul is addressing the believers at Thessalonica concerning their fear that the tribulation might have already begun. Here Paul reassures them by explaining just what needs to occur before that time begins. As he describes the coming of the antichrist, he makes it very clear that his acceptance will be abetted by the fact that those who remain after the rapture of the Church are here “because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved”. The truth, according to one commentary I read, is that these people will be deceived by the antichrist because they want to believe his lies.
What we see right now, all around us are the lines being drawn between those who choose to believe the truth as God has revealed it and those who choose to reject it. The Greek word for “delusion” is translated as a “mental straying, error, wrong opinion relative to morals or religion”. If one chooses to believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, then there should never be any question as to what to believe because the Word makes it abundantly clear what God thinks, especially as it pertains to morals and religion. The only question before us is do we choose to accept and believe, or reject and disobey?
In the first chapter in the book of Romans, Paul explains in more detail what delusional people are like. We are basically told that it is when a person chooses to reject the truth of God; God will then “give them up” to their choice to be “deluded”. The Greek phrase used here means simply to allow or permit them to believe as they wish. As one commentator put it, “people can eventually come to the place where it is impossible to believe”. Neither you nor I know where this line may be drawn, but God does. It is at this point that God will then “give them up” and allow them to believe the lies they have chosen to follow. Paul describes them this way;
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; Romans 1:18-28 NKJV
The “debased” mind in verse twenty eight is also translated “reprobate” in the King James Version, and in the Greek it literally means “unapproved, i.e. rejected; by implication, worthless (literally or morally):—castaway, rejected, reprobate” according to Strong’s Definitions (1890). If you are like me and look around at what we are seeing today from society as a whole, and witnessing the scorn and persecution of believers beginning to make the weekly news, does it not feel as if the stage is set for the ‘delusion” to take place? Considering the extent to which many have not only rejected, but are beginning to attack those who choose to believe the truth, is it hard to understand why they will be so easily deluded by the appearance of the antichrist at the end of this age?
When discussing the passage from Thessalonians, Ray Stedman put it this way; “However, the deception can only take root in those who do not receive the love of the truth. These people are ready for the deception of the antichrist, because they want a lie, and God will send them a strong delusion.” This delusion will be the man of sin who deceives the whole world with his “power, signs, and lying wonders”. People will flock to him and believe because they have already rejected the truth of God and want to believe the lies the antichrist has for them.
Paul makes it very clear that these people have no excuse. It is not that they don’t know of God, but rather that they have seen and chosen to reject. Now you tell me, who do you believe is truly delusional; those who have chosen to believe the “love of the truth” or those “who exchanged the truth of God for the lie”? This world may well be full of delusional people, but according to God, it’s not His believers.