And you know what restrains [the man of lawlessness] now, so that in his time he may be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way (2 Thess. 2:6-7).
In the present day, most discussions about the Holy Spirit center around some kind of touchy-feely nonsense that has nothing to do with him.
The proliferation of Neo-Pentecostal/Word Faith groups that stress speaking in tongues as evidence for the manifestation of the Spirit, accompanied by an emphasis on health, and especially wealth, are the main culprits who skew not only the Holy Spirit’s identity, but what he actually does.
Rarely, even in Christian churches, is the Holy Spirit’s role in restraining evil ever mentioned.
Yet, the Apostle Paul makes it perfectly clear that one aspect of the Spirit’s ministry on earth is to prevent Satan and his minions from carrying out the kind of mayhem that they regularly scheme.
That is not to say that horrific crimes against humanity and sins against God are not committed.
We all live in a fallen world, where terrible tragedies regularly occur, as is evidenced recently by the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church massacre.
Yet, as tragic and senseless as what Devin Patrick Kelley did, it pales in comparison to what could have occurred, had the Holy Spirit not restrained him from killing even more people, either at the same location or elsewhere.
The appetite of lawless, unrestrained, self-destructive evil is never satisfied.
The epitome of evil is the devil or Satan, whom the Apostle Peter described as an “adversary” and “roaring lion,” who is constantly prowling about, “seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).
But, because of the Holy Spirit’s role in restraining him, the “roaring lion” never actually carries out his demented plan, which is to murder everyone.
There is always a remnant left untouched (Matt. 24:22).
Jesus said that the devil “was a murderer from the beginning” (Jn. 8:44) and if no one was around to restrain him, as well as those–both human and demonic–under his influence, he would have all humans executed in ways that might even make Islam’s modern-day warriors, ISIS, vomit.
However, the Holy Spirit will eventually be removed from earth’s scene, thereby not only fully revealing who the man of lawlessness is, but also allowing evil to run amok unrestrained.
The morbid, if not often macabre, media will have great difficulty keeping up with all lawless activity, mainly because there will be no one around to enforce previous legislation.
It is why there will be a temporary peace imposed by the Antichrist himself upon all humanity, one day, as he sets up the nations to be conquered (Rev. 6:2).
What is happening, on an almost daily basis, in the forms of all the lying, cheating, stealing, idolatry, and murder is a prelude of things to come, with the exception being that today the Restrainer is with us, but later he will not be.
As Jesus described it, “for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall” (Matt. 24:21).
Last Sunday’s church massacre in Texas, as terrible as it was, will be tomorrow’s church picnic by comparison.
The only hope is to be prepared when the Restrainer is removed.