II Thess. 2: 11-12. “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
So far, so good here in my corner of the world. Winds are between 15-30 mph, with a gradual increase until about 5 p.m. tonight when we could get gusts over 60 mph. Raining right now, but not in torrents. Yet. So, while I still have electricity. . . .
Paul continues in these two verses to explain why those who refuse to hear the truth will be condemned. It is because of their own choice to refuse righteousness and instead choose evil. It is because of this choice that they are condemned, not because God is petty and vengeful.
For this cause points back to their distaste for the truth. Do you have anyone in your life who really, really doesn’t like to face and accept truth? Someone who, if his lips are moving he’s lying? Aren’t they a discouragement to you? They refuse to say truth, accepting only what fits and promotes their own self-conceived desires. In my business, these people fit the profile of a sociopath; one who has no conscience, no sense of right and wrong except as it affects that individual. His only sense of wrong is when he himself is thwarted in some way. These people are impossible to reason with, because you simply can’t reason with an unreasonable person. These are the people Paul is describing in this passage. They’ve heard the truth. They want no part of it, and can even become angry and confrontational when the gospel is offered to them. They have no excuse. For this cause shows a clear cause-and-effect situation: They reject God, God sends judgment on them. The judgment will come in the form of strong delusion that they should believe a lie.
God is the sovereign Judge. We have no right to question His will, His decisions, or His judgment. Those who reject Him are doing all of that, and more. Their judgment is a natural consequence of their choice. God is a moral Being; He cannot remain passive toward active evil. Sin must be punished in a moral universe (I Thess. 1:10). God cannot act contrary to His character.
Strong delusion: God will not send error to dupe or fool anyone, as Satan does. Instead, the sense here is that He will send upon them an inward working of the inevitable consequences of error. They will fall under the influence of the spirit of lawlessness that is already at work within them, and will lead them ever farther from the truth. Since they chose falsehood and defiance, God will subject them to the power of the error they chose. Their choice of evil is the very instrument that will punish their sin. Proverbs 5:22. “His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sin.”
That they should believe a lie: The lie they will believe is the last and most evil: That Anti-Christ is indeed Christ. Satan will succeed for a time in passing off the Man of Sin, the Lawless One, as God. This is the ultimate blasphemy, and will not be forgiven
That they all might be damned: God’s purpose is that they reap the consequences of their own choice of sin. The word damned is also interpreted as judged, in the sense of condemnation. This judgment will come not only because they rejected truth, but because they had pleasure in unrighteousness. This thought is perhaps the most telling, for me, because it describes the heart of the sinful who not only reject righteousness, but love unrighteousness! They enjoy, take pleasure, prefer, love, that which is the epitome of evil. They preferred Satan and the Man of Sin over the pure, holy, righteous love of God; not only did they prefer it, they treasured it and loved it!
I am reminded again of Jeremiah 17:9. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”