In 2 Thess 2:5-12 the Apostle Paul was discussing some of the "happenings" associated with the "last times. A thorough reading of the passage will prove worthwhile.
I am going to concentrate on two phrases:
"They perish because they refused to LOVE THE TRUTH and so be saved." v. 10b.
"...and so that all will be condemned who have
NOT BELIEVED THE TRUTH but have delighted in wickedness." v. 12.
All the perishing and condemnation going on in our world now and in the future is linked to the word, TRUTH. Just what is TRUTH? How do we define or describe it?
Not an easy chore. Let's turn to the MASTER TEACHER Himself for a crystal clear understanding:
Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we don't know where You are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, "I am the way and THE TRUTH and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really knew Me, you would know My Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him." John 14:5,6.
It is evident that Jesus is the TRUTH. He certainly claimed He was.
Let's go back to the designated phrases:
Substitute TRUTH with JESUS.
(1) They perish because they refused to LOVE JESUS and so be saved.
(2) ...and so that all will be condemned who have NOT BELIEVED JESUS but have delighted in wickedness. Now NOT BELIEVING to the condemned is tantamount to BELIEVING for the saved.
What do we have now? LOVING Jesus is the same as BELIEVING in Jesus. Plain and simple:
LOVING = BELIEVING
Many in our world intellectually know about Jesus. Many have a lifetime association with the church and the Scriptures. Many live good, moral lives. Information about Jesus, true or false, permeates our society. How do we sort it out? How can we tell if we LOVE/BELIEVE Jesus?
Suggestions follow, but are by no means exhaustive:
(1) Can't help but talk to Him. "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Heb 4:16.
(2) Can't help but absorb His Word. "Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken." John 2:22. "Heaven and earth shall pass away but My words will never pass away." Matt 24:35. "If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you." John 15:7.
(3) Can't help but be "helpful" to others. Jesus said, "You are the light of the world...let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matt 5:14a,16b.
(4) Can't help but share an appropriate word with others when the opportunities arise. "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." 1 Pet 3:15.
(5) Can't help but support His work. "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Cor 9:7,8.
(6) Can't help but sense a genuine joy in your life, not manufactured, not trumped up, not phoney. Jesus promised, "I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." John 15:11.
An appropriate summary:
"If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him." John 14:23.
To LOVE Him is to BELIEVE Him
To BELIEVE Him is to LOVE Him
LOVING = BELIEVING
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