II Thess. 2:11,12
“For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.”
“We know what a strong propensity men have to falsehood, so that they not only have a natural desire to be deceived, but each individual appears to be ingenious in deceiving himself.1”
“Lies are best when they are lived.” This is not to suggest any positive intent from the comment as to endorse lying. But it speaks to the reality that humanity is vulnerable to the lie and thereby prone to live out what he or she believes. This was vividly illustrated some 30 years ago in a personal experience with a then co-worker in the factory where I was working at the time. The individual had a propensity for lying and not only lying but living out life according to the lies he crafted. Ironically, it was G. K. Chesterton, the English apologist and novelist, that said the only truly sane people where those living in an asylum because they believed they were somebody else, while the rest of the world is struggling with self-identity. This was because they believed themselves to be the people they say they are.
Now this whole issue of living out the lie becomes paramount when it is considered on the stage of a truth that has eternal ramifications. Again, man’s penchant for embraacing their own definition and interpretation of truth to the point of accepting the lie as truth leads to some extremely serious consequences when it is set in contrast to God’s absolute truth. The current relativism that is pervasive in our society and culture has facilitated the old indictment; “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” The writer of Proverbs states it; “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” (Prov. 12:15) The implication is that God is not persuaded or influenced by man’s relativity, but measures it against the absolute truth of His will and character as Proverbs 21:2 reminds us; “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts.” In other words, God will give space to you to believe your own lie as opposed to His truth if you press the issue, but the final chapter on His response to it may be postponed until future judgment.
The verse cited from II Thessalonians 2:11,12 obviously left to itself, may prompt the question as to whether God is the instigator of evil or that He participates in injustice by giving these individuals over to delusions. But the text compels us to look back to the previous verse that states; “and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.” (v.10) The reason God hands them over to the delusion of believing the lie of the antichrist is because they have been living the lie from the beginning by not embracing the “love of the truth.” The action of God on this matter is consistent with His dealings with humanity throughout history. Perhaps there is no greater account of this than the Apostle Paul’s acknowledgement of this in the Epistle to the Romans. In Romans 1:24-28, Paul three times uses the Greek word; παραδίδωμι (paradidomi) meaning to handover, or give over, to reflect God’s response to man’s rejection of the truth. Romans 1:28 stating; “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.” God simply is giving man over to his propensities and penchants to swallow the lie at their own bequest. In reality the human nature despises the truth because it confronts him where he lives, in the lie. This lie has no interest in entertaining the propositions of absolute truth because it inevitably brings death to the life of the lie. This is what the Apostle Paul is saying in Ephesians 2:1,2; “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” In essence, live the lie, reap the delusion. The truth is Christ died to reconcile man and God, anything else is a lie. So, where do we lie on this matter?