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by Jacob Ninan

Lawlessness is sin (1Jn.3:4 NASB). It is easy to understand that to transgress the laws of God is sin (KJV). But lawlessness is more than disobedience to the law. It is also an attitude of mind that does not respect laws.

When lawlessness increases, as it is happening now, there is an increasing disregard for laws. We are not unduly shocked when this happens on a blatant scale among unbelievers. But there is a mystery of lawlessness that is at work (2Th.2:3-7). It is mysterious because it is not obvious, and this is why we have to be careful when it concerns our own lives as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Otherwise we will be deceived concerning our real condition, and ultimately by the man of lawlessness also (v.3), by his power, signs and false wonders (v.9). Our safety is to love truth - truth from the word of God as well as the truth about our spiritual condition (v.10).

A distinguishing mark of those who truly love Jesus is that they will do what He says (Jn.14:21). In other words, they keep His laws and commandments. The mystery of lawlessness is at work so that instead of taking heed to knowing more and more exactly what Jesus wants us to do, people are taken up with doing a lot of 'Christian' activities and speaking and singing nice things about Jesus (Mt.7:21-23). Jesus is not asking us to do as many things as possible for Him, but to do what He wants us to do (1Co.4:2 LB).

What will remain in eternity without getting burned up are those things which were initiated by God, done in the power of God and for the glory of God (Ro.11:36). Satan camouflages this mystery of lawlessness with the exhortation that we are to be free from the law.

This mystery comes to its peak of success when Satan has managed to make believers more afraid of being under the law than to disobey the law.

Satan's strategy is to portray laws as things that restrict freedom whereas actually they protect us from harm and lead us to the life of God. We can examine ourselves here to see how much we have been influenced by this spirit of lawlessness.

When believers have become so 'free from the law' that they are no longer careful to put a bridle on their tongues, to be exact in reporting matters, to scrupulously avoid talking evil about others, to apologise every time they hurt someone, to be righteous and faithful in money transactions, to be punctual at work and at meetings, to be careful in keeping their word or appointments, to read the Bible and pray regularly (and to get up early for that), to be disciplined in their eating, drinking and sleeping, to be choosy in what they look at and listen to, etc., considering all this to be 'legalism' - we could say that the mystery of lawlessness has succeeded very well in their lives!

Paul recognised how easy it is to to preach to others and be involved in the busy schedule of Christian activities and finally find himself disqualified. These busy schedules make us think that everything is fine with our spiritual life because, after all, we are serving the Lord!

But what is required of stewards is not a large output but faithfulness (1Co.4:2).

Paul disciplined himself (1Co.9:27), and he knew that spiritual life is synonymous with strict discipline like that of a soldier (2Ti.2:3,4). We also see that all true men of God, whatever ministry they may have had, were all men of discipline.

If we allow this word to judge us now, it may wake us up before it becomes too late.

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