The Mystery of Lawlessness
This is an attempt to explain or define the mystery of lawlessness mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2. This was originally intended to be included in the “Good From God, Not God From Good” entry. Please read it if you haven’t already.
With that in mind, let’s consider the passage where it’s described. 2 Thessalonians 2:
“Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
Who is the Truth? Jesus Christ. As he Himself says in John 14: 6: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” Jesus also says in John 10:30: “I and the Father are one.”
The preceding scripture then establishes two facts:
1) Jesus is God
2) There is no other way to God besides Jesus. To put it another way, you must do what Jesus commands to not be condemned. 2 Thessalonians: 12 makes it clear that all who do not believe the truth(the word of God) will be condemned.
The full significance of this is told to us by Christ Himself in Matthew 22:
“And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.’”
Belief in, submission to and continuous worship of Christ is not only the most important purpose in the life of a human being, but the basis for all other commandments in the scripture.
Hence when a person rejects Christ, he rejects God and His law. Commandments such as love thy neighbor or thou shalt not kill are all dependent upon the greatest commandment. Rejecting Christ is a rejection of these lesser commandments as well. Those who speak as if it were possible to follow God’s lesser commandments without first worshiping Him are guilty of blasphemy because they imply righteousness exists apart from God instead of because of God.
This means a person can mimic Christ’s lesser teachings and be in complete disobedience to Christ. A person who appears to be following the golden rule while refusing to worship Christ is lawless because he is not following the greatest commandment upon which the golden rule depends.
What then is the mystery of lawlessness? Rejection of Christ aka a rejection of God. The mystery of lawlessness was already at work in the time of Paul. We are told this plainly in 2 Thessalonians. And just as people rejected Christ in the time of Paul so too are they rejecting Christ in our time.
The mystery of lawlessness is at work when a person says he can be “good without God.” We hear it, see it and read it all the time. It is time for the True Christians to separate from people and groups who espouse this false doctrine. We must warn all people and groups with whom we associate about the seriousness of this. Any “church” or “pastor” who peddles this must repent or perish. Christ is the cornerstone. DO NOT support any person or group who blasphemes Him.