“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9,10).
NOT ONLY IS OBEDIENCE MORE IMPORTANT THAN UNDERSTANDING; IT IS ALSO THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING. If we approach the discovery of truth with any intent other than to obey the truth once we discover it, it is not likely that we’ll find the truth we’re looking for. Getting the right answers to our questions depends greatly on our reasons for asking those questions.
In the above text, Paul wrote of those whose minds were confused and deceived by the “lying wonders” of Satan. Our adversary is indeed a crafty deceiver, and those who’ll perish in the battle against him will be those who “did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” But notice what Paul said in the two verses that immediately follow: “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:11,12). These words are a wake-up call, are they not? To study with anything other than the honest intent to act on the truth is to doom ourselves to being deceived. In the quest for spiritual truth, as in most important endeavors, very much depends on our motive.
When Jesus of Nazareth appeared in Galilee, proclaiming that His teaching was God’s word to humankind, some saw the sense in what He said and others did not. What made the difference? Was it simply that some were more insightful than others? No, Jesus Himself said it would be those who desired not simply to know but to do God’s will who would discern that it was God’s word they were hearing. “If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (John 7:17). Even on such a fundamental question as that of Jesus’ identity, getting the right answer depends on what we intend to do with the answer once we find it. Seeking the knowledge of God is a very serious business.
“Anyone who attempts to read the Bible should begin with a genuine respect for God. Then there needs to be a firm desire to reform one’s life according to its teaching” (Thomas Cranmer).
Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com