Love of the Truth | Tom Nettles

by | Jan 24, 2023 | New Testament, Systematic Theology

This post is a continuatoin of a series of articles from Dr. Nettles on 2 Thessalonians. To view the last post, you can click here:

This view of the “mystery of lawlessness” described in the previous post still could allow for the “man of lawlessness” to be the Roman Catholic church in its exaltation of the Pope, the bishop of Rome, to the position of vicar of Christ, asserting his infallibility ex cathedra, his granting of dispensations, and proclaiming of the meritorious status of pilgrimages, the doctrine of transubstantiation and the continual sacrifice of Christ. It probably also includes a liberal, compromising Protestantism as a manifestation of the universal and comprehensive penetration that lawlessness and deceit pursue in every sphere of human relations. In addition all false religions the people submitting to their bondage of lies and gods that are not the King of kings and Lord of lords will be exposed for their fraud and condemned for they did not “believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness” (2 Thess 2:12).

Those who are deceived (10-12) are susceptible to deceit of all kinds for they push aside and even ridicule the truth. Those who “did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved” will readily be deceived for their refuge is in lies. Truth brings them under condemnation, a verdict to which they will not consent, so it is reprehensible to them. They love themselves as they are, refuse to accept the justness of a sentence of condemnation, and thus do not the love of the truth. Having rejected the ultimate truth, their only option is falsehood; having rejected the rule of divine law, their only option is some facet of lawlessness. They did not embrace the truth of human sin and the need of salvation only through the substitution of Christ’s righteousness for our unrighteousness; so, having rejected the biblical doctrine of justification, their only option is condemnation. 

Their attitude toward truth (11, 12) preferring deception, and their strange contentment with self-righteousness leads to increased judicial blindness justly inflicted by God (cf. Romans 1:24, 26, 28—“God gave them up,…God gave them up;…God gave them up.”) Having been established in rebellion and having their preference for evil sealed in their hearts, “they will believe what is false.” God’s truth and righteousness is magnified in their judgment for the companion of not believing the truth is the embracing of pleasure through wickedness—“who did not believe the truth but took pleasure in wickedness” (12). 

Whether it is one individual that gains such world-wide and trans-politico, trans-religio power or the confluence of all non-truth believing systems in the world, we find several growing indicators of the plausibility of such organized deceit in this generation. 

One, this generation has intensified resistance to God’s creation mandates and revealed moral law about life. The nature of life, that image-bearers by virtue of conception produce other image bearers (Genesis 3:27, 28; 4:1; 1 Samuel 1:20; Luke 1:24), is thrown aside in their quest for abortion. To take that which is conceived in the image of God and eliminate it as void of true life and value established by God is murder. That life in God’s image begins at conception runs throughout Scripture. This conviction should be infallibly ascertained in a Christian’s conscience by Luke 1:35 and Psalm 51:5. Procedures designed to terminate that which is conceived by procreation violate the command, “You shall do no murder” (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17; Mark 7:20-23). The “compassion” that seeks unlimited abortion is indeed a lawless, perverse, and deceitful promotion of crime by means of a lovely word.

The creation of humanity as male and female is called into question (Genesis 1:27; 5:1, 2; Matthew 19:3-9). Sexual perversity including violation of the created distinction and goodness of the male/female aspect of humanity has been present for millennia (Genesis 19:4-11; Romans 1:24-28). In our generation sexual perversity in aggressive violation of God’s purpose and law not only is celebrated in society as a right but is approved by so-called Christian denominations (Revelation 14:8) and those who profess to be Christian ministers. 

Theological error concerning the inspiration of Scripture, the deity of Christ, substitutionary atonement, the provenance and character of human sin, the necessity of justification, the doctrine of the Trinity, and the biblical teaching of eternal punishment are put in the category of antiquated ideas no longer fit for modern sensibilities. These positions are advocated from the offices of historically Christian denominations. The theological perversity leads to an increase in moral perversity. If the Bible is not a revelation of absolute truth, then its claims to present a standard by which all individuals in the world will be judged becomes relativized and susceptible to change by the opinions of a wicked generation (Romans 3:19, 20).

That which challenges these forces now and will finally render them all without power and reveal them as thoroughly iniquitous is the sharp sword proceeding from the mouth of the Lord. In light of that, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” Do this even in the face of the fact that “the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching … and will turn from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4:2, 4). We are charged to that stewardship “in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom” (2 Timothy 4:1)

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Are all sins the same? | Tom Hicks

Are all sins the same? | Tom Hicks

“Is it true that all people are equally sinful? If someone has sinful anger in his heart, but never acts on it, is that person really the same as someone who has sinful anger in his heart and then murders his whole family?”

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