The apostle Paul wrote to the church of Thessalonica regarding the “mystery of lawlessness”. When one’s heart is governed by narcissism one’s lifestyle, thoughts, words, and actions will be governed by one’s own desires as much as one feels it is safe to do so. Today’s western world society is more and more resembling Paul’s prophetic words of 2 Thessalonians: “God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.” (2 Thess.2.11-12).
In today’s culture it is now relatively safe to do and say what was unthinkable just a few years ago. For example in the recent “Occupy” protests which are, or were, taking place in many US cities things are being done and said which would be shocking if it were not for the numbing and dumming down taking place due to an onslaught of continually shocking lawless behavior. For example, the crude behavior of some (not all) of the protestors in New York and some other locations has been to urinate and defecate in the doorways of nearby business’s and apartment buildings. While that is somewhat shocking it does not compare to the even more shocking defense of such animalistic behavior. One spokesperson while recently addressing the problem said, “We have the right to go to the bathroom”. Well, yes, and no. They do have the right but not on another’s property. Their spirit of lawlessness demands the freedom to do what they desire to do with complete disregard and contempt for the landlords, business owners, and tenants who legally possess and occupy those properties.
This last summer saw parts of London, England fall prey to mob violence and looting. There were some individuals apprehended by the police even from well to do families who had committed both vandalism and thievery. Why? Simply because they wanted to and thought they could get away with it. Regard for both the law and common civility is increasingly being thrown under the bus in today’s society. Why? Simply because of the rise of lawlessness. In short, many are so preoccupied with themselves narcissism trumps the rights and regards for all others.
What of the church, however? God states that judgment starts first with the household of God!
I was recently asked a question concerning the message I sometimes speak on of God’s heart for sexual purity. The question was whether I also communicate the message to non-Christians. My answer was “no”. I’m quite appreciative of those who go into schools and other secular venues and teach the value of sexual abstinence outside of marriage. Sex saved for the context of marriage helps foster healthy marriages and families regardless of whether one is a Christian, or not. However, when it comes to Christians preaching sexual purity to the world, purely from a Biblical perspective, we must first be willing to deal with the spirit of lawlessness we have begun to tolerate among ourselves.
The sheer number of moral failings among church leaders over the last ten years is truly staggering. What’s really indicative of the extensiveness of the issue is that all too often those fallen leaders are all too soon reinstated quickly back into their ministries. The common justification for short changing the restoration process is the claim that the church needs their gifting. Unfortunately, if we would take the time to discern true motivation we might see beyond the gifting into the heart. We might just see the spirit of lawlessness dominating some despite their gifting and calling.
Jesus stated there will be those cast outside the kingdom who will offer in their defense “‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me those of you who practice lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7.23 & 24) What is not in contention is their ministry to man. It is the stronghold of lawlessness that Jesus will find unacceptable.