Did you know there is something going on in our world today that has amazing secret power?
It’s called lawlessness.
I was reading a very old (like in 2,000 year old) letter that talks about it.
Paul was telling a small group of believers in ancient Greece about “the man of lawlessness” who would arrive on the world scene one day, putting himself above all worshiped things and beings, including God. That will be a dark day in history, but Paul is quick to remind us this person is already “doomed to destruction.”
We’ve seen some really bad characters in history, but none yet who can be described as this ultimate embodiment of evil. For that reason, the end is not yet here. Something is holding him back, and God’s got it under control.
Even so, Paul tells them and us that “the secret power of lawlessness is already at work.” When that mechanism is fully let loose, that’s when the head-honcho of lawlessness will take a stand for all to see and fear.
So why lawlessness? Why not just “the man of power” or “the world leader” or some other term that shows how widespread his control will be? Lawlessness doesn’t seem to convey the same thing.
That’s where the secret is revealed.
I didn’t understand this passage or the gravity of it until I was reading it recently. What’s the power in lawlessness? No one’s in control. Where’s the power in that?
That’s the point — No ONE is in control. Governments aren’t in control, police forces aren’t in control, common decency isn’t in control — God’s not in control. There is no restraint on any activity on this earth.
If that doesn’t terrify you, then I don’t know what does. But that is exactly where the power is. No one is safe.
I don’t mean to scare you, but when this hit me, it did make me want to reflect on the meaning of the phrase “the secret power of lawlessness is already at work. The stage is being set. Do you see it? As I began to think about it, I was surprised at how obvious it is.
Let’s take a current-day lawless tour of the world, and see where the power is at work:
- Antifa — blacked out faces, nameless perpetrators, terror tactics.
- MS-13 — children initiated at early ages, not just killing but mutilating victims.
- Annonymous — hactivists, symbolized by masked members and body without a head, cyber terrorism in action.
- Flash mobs — can be perfectly harmless or have illegal intent, but are sudden gatherings of groups of people for a pointless act.
- Mob violence — when a group of people attack vendors, government buildings, other persons.
- Mass killings — when a specific people group is targeted or even a random group of people.
- No-go zones — areas in multiple countries in our world, especially large cities, where the police or first-responders are not comfortable or allowed to enter to do their civic duty.
- Countries without governments — This has happened several times in European nations in the past few years, where no agreement can be made between ruling parties, so there is basically no governement for a period of time. (ie. Germany, Belgium, Spain, Northern Ireland). Somalia had no government for fifteen years.
- Venzuela is the most lawless country in the world (2016 index).
- Acceptance of lawless activity like bribery, corruption, criminal activity, black market purchases.
- Hooliganism, gangs, mafia, militias.
- Sex trafficking.
- Compounds that are built that are off-limits to officials.
- Free love — complete upheaval of sexual and societal norms in relation to marriage, sexuality and what’s accepted in society. Anything goes, everyone has rights, which means that no one does.
- Elimination of laws in relation to drug use or criminal activity.
So, what’s the secret in all this lawlessness? I had to think about it, but then it came to me…
Our expectations change. It becomes an accepted “new normal.” Our hearts grow cold, and we are desensitized to the troubles of this world, to our fellow human man.
Even worse, we begin to doubt where God is in all this craziness or if he is there at all.
Think about it. After World War II, the spiritual state of Europe dropped drastically. The chaos and senselessness of the war, the loss of life on a global scale emptied the churches and a hopelessness settled in that has never left.
That’s the power. That’s the secret of the one who controls the lawlessness — Satan. So, do you see it for what it is?
It’s a scheme to lull us into unbelief, because when no one is in control, that’s when Satan thinks he’s ultimately in control.
There’s just one problem with his plan — it’s doomed to destruction. Christ has already won the victory, and that’s NO secret.
Thanks be to God!
Grace and Peace
*See 2 Thessalonians 2:1-13.