The Expository Files.

 Why Believe a Lie?

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

Religious confusion and its assorted contradictory doctrines prove that the devil and his servants are effective deceivers (John 8:44). Since God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), the many false doctrines taught in various denominations today do not come from God. It is no surprise that the same evil one who has been perverting and denying the words of God since the Garden of Eden is still sowing seeds of deception. He even finds pastors ready to serve as his accomplices in preying upon weak little lambs (Acts 20:28-30).

But why would anyone allow himself to be deceived? Paul offers an explanation of the motives for believing lies in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12. The people deceived by Satan's craftiness "did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved." It is not sufficient to know the truth. We must love the truth. There are many people who study the Bible for curiosity, or vanity, or for academic reasons, but who do not approach the Scriptures with the humility necessary to allow the Lord to change them and mold their character. They don't love the truth, and are thus easy prey for the devil.

Paul mentions one other factor: they "had pleasure in unrighteousness." When a person wants to find an excuse to justify sin in his life, he will not study the Bible with the honest and open heart necessary to understand it. You can often hear this attitude in the comments of those who want to defend their sinful practices: "Where in the Bible does it say that I cannot . . . ?" The proper attitude is not defensive of evil, but asks: "What does the Lord want me to do?" People who are determined to justify their sins will not understand the truth. Their minds are carnal and incapable of discerning the spiritual richness of God's message (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Why would anyone believe a lie? Because the truth often demands painful transformations that most people are unwilling to make. The way of the Lord is difficult and lonely, but it leads to eternal life (Matthew 7:13-14).

By Dennis Allan
From Expository Files 4.10; October 1997