Restraining Lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:1-7 – Part 2)

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.” (2 Thessalonians 2:7, ESV)

Yesterday, I wrote about the events over the past couple weeks. These events display what Paul wrote about in saying, “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.” However, he goes on to say that there is now one who restrains this power of lawlessness. As bad as the situation looked with the death of Floyd, the rioting, destruction, the looting, and the setting of fires, it could have been much worse.

In a short time, the unrest we have seen in this situation will cease, and in upcoming months and years it will be virtually forgotten by everyone but the friends and relatives of Floyd, the property owners who have lost everything, and the others who have been seriously injured or died in the aftermath. The reason this did not cover every community and plunge the entire world into total lawlessness and chaos is that there is a person restraining the “mystery of lawlessness.”

So, who is restraining the “mystery of lawlessness”today? Many have attempted to determine this over the centuries. Some have thought the restrainer to be governments. Some suggested that the restraining force is the church. Others suggest it is the preaching of the gospel. While all of these have some restraining influence, only God has the ultimate power to restrain evil.

The Spirit of God is actively resisting the power of lawlessness in the world. However, there is a time coming when the restraining power of the Holy Spirit will be taken out of the way. When this occurs, the man of lawlessness will have his way and lawlessness will characterize the entire world. If you did not like what you saw in the last couple weeks, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Woe to those who remain when this restraint is taken out of the way. There will be no power to restrain evil. Every person will do as it seems right in his own mind. It will be as in the days of Noah, when the thoughts of every person’s heart were on evil continuously (Matt 24:37; Gen 6:5). Today we only see a shadow of those things which are to come. Friend, you do not want that day to come upon you unprepared.

I sincerely believe from the Scripture that a time is coming when the believers in Christ will be caught up and away from this coming perilous time. We call it the rapture. You must be ready. How do you prepare? You do so by trusting in Jesus Christ alone and His death on the cross, by which He paid the penalty for your sin. Trust in him today.

(Tomorrow, Responding to Lawlessness.)

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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