“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work” (2 Thessalonians 2:7).
The Greek word Paul uses for iniquity in this passage means, literally, “lawlessness.” Therefore, the mystery is one of lawlessness, meaning that multitudes are going to act without law or restraint.
Yet, this lawlessness is not simply a rebellion against the rule of man. It is not about rebelling against civil authority or committing robbery, rape or murder. These things do provoke God's wrath, but the mystery of lawlessness goes much deeper. It is an outright rejection of the truth that is in Christ, a casting aside of God's Holy Word and rebellion against the restraints of Scripture!
This spirit of lawlessness is rampant in our nation today. It is the force behind the legislation that seeks to banish God from our society and the same spirit that Satan used to deceive Eve when he told her, in so many words, “God is easy; He won’t punish you for disobeying. You can eat the fruit and indulge your lust and you won’t have to pay for it!”
Today Satan is using this same lie to convince masses of believers that they can indulge their sins without paying any penalty. It is a demonic scheme to pervert Christ’s gospel of grace and turn it into a message of licentiousness. Tragically, many lukewarm Christians are succumbing to this spirit of lawlessness.
Paul says the Antichrist will rise to power because people will be blinded and deceived by their own sin: “After the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10).
Satan will deceive masses of people by convincing them of a subtle but powerful lie, just as he convinced Eve: “God doesn't punish sin!”
Paul says this deception will come “with all deceivableness . . . because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (verse 10). He then adds, “For this [reason] God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (verse 11).
The apostle is saying, “Those who refuse to obey or respect God's Word will fall under a powerful delusion. At first they will wink at their sin and justify it. But soon they will actively seek out a message of easy grace. They will invent a grace that is far beyond what God intended. His grace never leads to license—it always leads to repentance.”