What a treat…another excellent post reblogged with generous permission from Eliza at Holding Forth His Word.
In 2 Thessalonians chapter 3 Paul asks the Thessalonians to pray for Silvanus, Timothy and him, that they would effectively share the word of the Lord and be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men. 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. It is interesting to note that Paul asks for deliverance for himself and his fellow workers, but then states that the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. Paul by the Holy Spirit, was reminding the Thessalonians that they enemy he faced, was the same one who opposed these dearly beloved brethren. These adversaries, who are bereft of faith and belong to Satan, tirelessly oppose the Lord Jesus Christ, His workers, and His beloved children. I think that it is instructive for us to look closely at some attributes of those, who as Paul said, do not have faith.
One of the first things that can be said about those without faith is that they do not love the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-15 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. But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught whether by word or our epistle. Their rejection of the truth, their disbelief in the truth, their refusal to receive God’s gift of the love of the truth, brings God’s judgment upon them in the form of strong delusion, which God sends upon them, that they should believe the lie, and unless God relents, they can do no other. Those who do not have faith are deceived by Satan’s power, signs, lying wonders, and unrighteous deception. The tricky schemes of the enemy done through wickedness are their delight. In bold distinction, we see the beloved of the Lord Jesus Christ as those who are chosen of God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit for salvation and belief in the truth, through the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; and they hold fast the truth of God, which is the Word of God.
Another attribute of those who do not have faith, is they do not know God because they reject the gospel. 1 Corinthians 15:1-5, 12-14, 33-34 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you-unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve., Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty., Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
Those who lacked faith in Corinth rejected the resurrection of the dead and so rejected the gospel, and therefore did not know God, since it is through the gospel of Jesus Christ that we come to know God. Those who lack faith will always attack the gospel in some fashion. They will either attack the person of Jesus Christ, diminishing His person or His work in the gospel; saying He isn’t God, or never claimed to be God, or He only showed us the right way to live, we must add our works to be saved, we must suffer in purgatory, we must pray to Mary, or any and all manner of blasphemy that attacks the worth and work of our glorious Savior. These faithless professors love the lie, are empowered by Satan, and are never satiated in their unending violation against our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Finally, Paul gives another preview into the depravity of those who do not have faith in 2 Timothy the fourth chapter. 2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. This same depravity also deceived the Israelites as recorded throughout the Old Testament, but shown in parallel fashion in the book of Hosea. Hosea 10:13 & 8:12 You have plowed wickedness; You have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of lies, Because you trusted in your own way, in the multitude of your mighty men. & I have written for him the great things of my law, But they were considered a strange thing.
Those who do not have faith cannot stand sound doctrine. The idea that they must attend to the doctrines of the Scriptures just grates on their nerves. They love fables. They love the novel The Shack because it presents to them a god who doesn’t judge and accepts them just as they are without requiring faith or repentance. They have gathered around them many mighty men who are eager to tell them what they want to hear because it is so lucrative. They are enamored with the likes of Rob Bell who says everyone will go to heaven and nobody will go to hell, directly contradicting the words of Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, Who said: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 They also love Billy Graham, who not only surrounded himself with those who despised faith in Christ Jesus during all of his evangelical campaigns, but who has declared there is a wideness to God’s mercy, so that all will go to heaven because they have desired something better. Dr. Graham forgot what Jesus said in John 14:1-6 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
The names of the mighty men are numerous; the number of faithful men of God who will contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints, not giving any quarter to heresy or apostasy, is small. The duty of the man of God in this hour is clear. Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. …holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. 2 Timothy 4:2, Titus 1:9, 1 Timothy 4:7, James 5:19-20 May our merciful and gracious God and Savior raise up such men in this hour who love the Lord Jesus Christ with all of their heart, mind, strength and soul, and hold fast the Word of God for the glory of God and the good of His body.