Friday, August 12, 2016

Two Mysteries: Godliness versus Lawlessness

According to the Bible, most humans have it wrong about what godliness really is.

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory. 1 Timothy 3:16

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. John 16: 7-11

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but the one who now restrains it will continue until he is taken out of the way. 2 Thess 2:7


John 16:7-11 explains the mystery. But it's not a mystery that the carnal mind can fully grasp. The verse tells us that the prince of this world is already judged. What does that mean when we see Satan apparently running loose in the world? Among other meanings, the largest is that Jesus' sacrificial atoning death brought final condemnation and judgment onto Satan. The Holy Spirit's Work within the believer will prove to the world that Satan has been judged.

And yet, it looks to the world that lawlessness is in control. In fact, the world wants lawlessness and wants a king of lawlessness. Lawlessness will continue until it be taken away by God. But lawlessness must have its day.

I suspect the mystery of lawlessness will also have a satanic counterpoint to 1 Timothy 3:16. The Man of lawlessness will be manifested in the flesh, judged by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken down to hell.

The thing to remember is that the restrainer is a mystery and is supernatural. Who knows what it is? It is not limited to a specific time or culture. There is a mystery of godliness which is eternal and there has been the mystery of lawlessness for ages. And there has been a restraining of lawlessness for ages. We know what the mystery of godliness is because we have a verse that explains it: Christ. 1 Timothy 3:16. But we don't have a verse explaining the mystery of lawlessness.
No one government or law has ever been able to restrain lawlessness, but over the years some spiritual restrainer has held lawlessness in check. Lawlessness has not ended. It has yet to end. But it won't end without going out with a big bang. So lawlessness has to have its full fruition. That is one of the reasons why the restrainer stops restraining it in the last days and allows lawlessness to go on full blast. So the mystery of lawlessness and the Man of lawlessness will work together on the earth in the last days.
 
As Christians, what we can do now is allow the Holy Spirit to use us to show the world the mystery of godliness.
 
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