Must we talk about this?
David Bahn-Reflections Podcast
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. – 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10 [ESV]
Diane and I were once described as two kids in a wagon. Diane is picking up things and handing them to me. I take a quick look at the item, and summarily discard it. Not a very flattering picture of how a marriage relationship should look. But in many cases it is accurate. For my part, I sometimes too quickly discard things I find unnecessary or unimportant (like details, for example!). I also tend toward overlooking unpleasant things, or things I hope will just go away with time. I realize that’s not my best asset. But sometimes it serves me well.
All this to say, I’d rather not embrace the full reality of sin, evil, judgment, and hell. It’s not pleasant to think about. It’s not easy for me to write about “the man of lawlessness…the son of destruction, 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.” Evil such as that foreign to me and I want to keep it that way. I have enough trouble dealing the the evil of my own flesh.
Recently a comment was made about an issue of some controversy within our church body. Those who are embedded in that kerfuffle can get quite stirred, and one person spoke of some others essentially as tools of Satan. Another person immediately got up and expressed great distress at the idea that someone could be called Satanic. While it may or may not have been the proper place to have that discussion, there is another looming reality. Jesus called one of his closest disciples Satan (cf. Matthew 16:23)! Paul speaks of “nothing good” dwelling in his flesh (Romans 7:18).
Whenever we choose to sin, cave into temptation, get led astray by friend or foe, or fail to do the good we know we should do, we enthrone another god in the temple of the True God. Whenever anything or anyone other than Jesus Christ takes first place in our hearts, we replace the Lord of Life with a cheap, transitory, impotent, ineffectual, deceptive, and destructive imitation. I’d rather not acknowledge that I ever do that. But I do. We all do. Even if for a moment. That’s why we need a Savior.
And that Savior has come. His name is Jesus. He died for our sins. He rose for our justification. In him we have the promise of eternal salvation and life forevermore.
That’s why we can always talk about “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him” with hope and anticipation and joy. Yes! We must talk that.