And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false 2 Thessalonians 2:11
Deluding Influence – The refusal to believe has some very serious side effects. These side effects are immediate, not a delayed reaction of eternal punishment. But here’s the really scary part. Those who are affected don’t even know it’s happening.
Paul’s commentary on this Old Testament principle leaves little doubt about the cause. The reason God sends this terrible consequence into their lives is because they “did not receive the love of the truth in order to be saved.” The Greek verb is dechomai, “to accept an offer deliberately and readily.” It implies that an offer was made – and rejected. This is not about the hypothetical little girl in a foreign country who has never heard the good news. This is about the millions of real people who have been offered the gift of grace and who deliberately reject its promise and its obligation. These are people who know God’s offer but choose to live according to their own gods. For these, God has a special medicine. It’s called an energeian planes (a “working error”).
Notice that God’s medicine is active . . . a working error. God doesn’t sit on the sidelines waiting for the inevitable judgment. He acts now! He sends these rebellious souls a working medication. It affects them in this world. Its long-term result might be terrible punishment, but that doesn’t mean there are no effects in this life. These people are under divine deception, and there is no more powerful, nor inescapable, present-moment curse than this.
This active curse is planes – the Greek word that means wandering away from the true path. It is error, delusion, fraud and deceit. In the New Testament, it is associated with wickedness and sin. Notice the implication. Because these people deliberately refuse God’s offer, God Himself sends a continuing, active delusion into their lives. Quite frankly, they are doomed. They lead lives of blind deception. Unless God lifts the veil, they will go right on believing that they are perfectly correct while they march off the cliff.
This is very uncomfortable theology. We want a God of eternal loving compassion and continual forgiveness. We don’t want to think that God is actively engaged in deluding lost souls. But it’s very hard to avoid that conclusion when we read Paul’s assessment. God actively supports His children, and apparently, He also actively deludes His enemies. This helps us understand why Yeshua says that no one comes to Him unless called by the Father. The veil must be lifted before we can see, and only God can lift it, but woe to the one who “sees” and then refuses the truth. A millstone is better than this curse.
Now here’s the scary part. No one is immune. This working error falls upon those who knew the truth. I can’t deliberately refuse a gift that hasn’t been presented. This curse is reserved for those who knew God’s offer. Of course, remaining obedient and devoted protects me from any of these consequences, but the possibility reminds me that fellowship is no trivial matter. Perseverance is serious business. To deny grace once it is presented results in hell’s version of compound interest: you pay now and you pay later.
Topical Index: Sin