by Mike Ratliff
And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:53-58 ESV)
As we continue to look at the evidence of God sending out a strong delusion upon professing Christians who appear to be running headlong into apostasy in ever increasing numbers let us look at what it is in these people that has brought this about. Why have they fallen into darkness and we have not? I read part of an article today that was written in response to Therefore God Sends Them Strong Delusion in which the author attempted to make it look like I was actually blaming God for the apostasy we were seeing. I have run into many with that sort of “mind-set” in my many years as a Bible teacher. I have always taught God’s Word as literal truth and there are many places in the Word that some professing Christians have a problem taking literally because, if we do, then it refutes their pet theology exactly to the point. That is the nature of God’s truth. I have had some very ugly discussions in Bible Study classes about doctrine in which certain people were insistent that a section of God’s Word cannot be taken literally even though the only refutation they have against doing so is human philosophy. This, my brethren, is unbelief in action.
Unbelief in Matthew 13:58 at the top of this post is the Greek word ἀπιστίαν or apistian, which speaks of faithlessness or uncertainty, distrust, or unbelief. It is used in the New Testament to show a lack of acknowledgment of Christ in Matthew 13:58 and Mark 6:6, a want of confidence in His power in Matthew 17:20 and Mark 9:24 and a want of trust in the God of promise in Romans 4:20 and Hebrews 3:12 and 3:19. Unbelief leads to a turning from obedience to follow what the flesh wants or what one wants to believe instead of believing God and walking by faith. This causes a hardness of heart to set in and become progressively worse unless God grants repentance, breaks through the hardness of heart and the person turns to Him in belief. If this does not happen then the heart will grow continually harder no matter how religious the professing believer becomes. Accompanying this heart hardening is spiritual blindness.
Professing Christians in this state of heart hardening and growing spiritual blindness are not regenerate. If they were, they would be spiritually alive and God would not allow them to apostatize, however, as John tells us in his 1st epistle:
Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. (1 John 2:18-19 ESV)
Those who fall into irrevocable apostasy prove they were never truly Christians by this act. True, regenerate believers prove their authenticity by remaining faithful. However, there are professing Christians all over the place who are apostatizing, going after all sorts of false religions, trying to incorporate other religions into Christianity, et cetera, thereby proving that they are not truly Christians. They got to this point by starting with in their unbelief and disobedience. Eventually, they became so spiritually blind and hardhearted that they became open to all sorts of deception and that is what we are seeing all around us now. I used this passage in last night’s post.
The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 ESV)
Here we see that these people become so hardhearted and spiritually blind that they get to the point that they do not believe the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness. A literal translation of verse 12 from the Greek would read, “that might be judged all the not ones trusting in the truth but having thought well in the unright.” They pursue what is not of God and take pleasure in it. They proclaim it to be right and true because they have rejected what really is truth, God’s truth, as the truth. They are in unbelief, are now so hard hearted, and spiritually blind that they are ready for the final piece of the puzzle. God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false. That is why we see so many professing Christians all around us right now falling all over themselves to go hard after false doctrines and follow men rather than God’s Truth and the Lord Jesus Christ and His good doctrines.
These professing Christians are not genuine believers because they are not regenerate. Their fall into apostasy began with unbelief and progressed into hard-heartedness and spiritual-blindness to the point that they found pleasure in unrighteousness. God then sends them a strong delusion to seal the deal. They believe the lie. They assume they are the real Christians and those who remain faithful are only dumb fundamentalists or whatever. They believe they are so cool and “with it” and “culturally-relevant,” but they have been deceived and it all began with their unbelief.
Soli Deo Gloria!