Within 2 Thessalonians 2 we have a statement about the love of the truth sparing the lover from deception. Something to note about the context of the statement is that Paul has just finished speaking about the end of the age and the coming of Jesus. He is saying that the false manifestations and false signs and wonders to be performed by the man of sin at the end of the age will only be resisted by the lovers of truth. There is something within the truth itself that will cause for the lover to see the forgery.
When Daniel was taken away to Babylon, he and his companions were able to smell the aroma of the king’s table, and it was the stench of death to them. Such a statement cannot be said of the many others who were taken with Daniel. Because Daniel knew of the Lord’s table, and ate of it with joy and love, the opposing table was not pleasing or appetizing. So it is in the love of the truth. To love the authentic thing, what God has truly called for, and what God truly acts in the earth, is to then despise any counterfeit or inauthentic display. To those who are being saved, the fragrance of Christ is the most beautiful aroma to perfume the air. Yet, the sweetness of that aroma is the stench of death and massacre to they who are perishing. God allows such a testimony to be made, whether of the sacrifice upon the altar, the way in which we view the atonement, or even the wisdom of God itself.
It has never been enough to believe. Faith and works go hand in hand, and the authentic apostolicity of the believer will lead them into truth in the inward parts. When Jesus or the apostles healed someone, it was not merely an outward manifestation of physical healing. There was a wholeness that entered the one healed. It was a demonstration of a certain Kingdom, and the character of that Kingdom was revealed. When demons were cast out, it was not enough that they flee the victim. There was then soundness and life that entered. A half healing is not a healing, and a miracle that leaves you in need is not a miracle. Elijah did not leave the widow, even though he had prophesied and the miracle of the oil and grain continued. He remained with that widow, because in the wisdom of God the miracle was not the provision, but rather the revelation of, “Now I know that the word of God in your mouth is truth.”
Whether we are talking about state church, about institutional religion, about righteousness according to the law, about false signs and wonders, about dubious manifestations, about flashy gimmicks, about glib truisms and cliches, or about entertainment to occupy the day, in all these cases the lover of the truth cannot settle for unreality. Many are coming out of the systems called church buildings, because they can no longer believe in a system of worship that the Bible doesn’t speak of. For these lovers it is more important to them to keep themselves undefiled than to settle for something until the alternative comes. A cheap alternative for the sake of having “something” is not a love of the truth, but rather an outright disobedience.
Even within our most Charismatic denominations, where the Spirit is celebrated highly and with joy, if we have sought after miracles or manifestations for the sake of these things, we have abandoned the truth, and certainly have abandoned the love of the truth. Such an abandonment is spiritual malpractice at best, and making a covenant with death and hell at worst. To applaud something simply because it has the correct words, or the correct theology, or the display that ‘only God can do’ is to leave oneself susceptible to even more erroneous and dangerous kinds of things. If the Toronto Blessing was not a dubious and false manifestation, and the many that followed afterward likewise, then what will differentiate the actual false thing? And, what will cause they who profess to be believers to stand against such falsity when discernment was utterly abandoned for the sake of a blessing?
Truth in the inward parts demand integrity. Even if we don’t go along with the crowd and get mocked, misunderstood, or even wrongfully accused, we should rejoice that we are counted worthy of such treatment, for the prophets and apostles before us were treated the same way. I don’t want to suggest that we should be critical of all things, but rather that we should be trusting the truth that God has revealed to us, and if something does not align itself with that revelation of God in us, to us, and through us, then we will not allow ourselves the leisure of being exposed to such a phenomenon. Better to miss out on the blessing than to dive in and find out it was actually a false blessing that has now damaged your walk with the Lord. The love of the truth is discernment. A high degree of knowledge with a nonexistent discernment is not only dangerous to the individual, but to everyone else also. Apostolic and prophetic perception sees past the physical and into the very spiritual reality, and can speak to that reality the words of God in healing and wholeness,1 so that the one hearing is set free, and free indeed. Yet, a love for words without a love for truth will allow us to rejoice at the physical display without the spiritual manifestation. This is the danger, and this is why the love of the truth will spare us from deception, both now and in the days to come.
1 It isn’t just that there is healing, but there is wholeness. The apostle and prophet see past the physical, and into the spiritual, and that doesn’t diminish the physical, nor exalt the spiritual, but says they are connected together, and that without healing both infirmities, neither will truly be healed.