The Mystery of Lawlessness: Part 1, Murder

Paul Derengowski, ThM

By now you probably know that Devin Patrick Kelley walked into a Baptist Church in south Texas and murdered 26 of its congregants. He is now dead as well.

By now you have probably already had your fill of all the knee-jerk reactions and “expert” testimony from all the contributors to the media outlets, as they hash and rehash the same bits and pieces of information, not really to solve anything, but because those outlets (1) are pushing an agenda, and (2) believe morbidity is what the public needs to satiate its curiosity.

“Give us dirty laundry,” were Don Henley’s lyrics. The head may not be dead, yet, and it is vitally important that we know as many irrelevant or gruesome details, as possible, to add to our treasure trove of meaninglessness.

So, instead of re-repeating all the nonsense about the nonsense that occurred with murderer Kelley, let me address what the Apostle Paul called “the mystery of lawlessness” that “is already at work” found in his letter to the church at Thessalonica (2 Thess. 2:7).

Not only will it provide insight into what is going on, on a daily basis, but provide an answer that too few are providing, even though they claim to have it or be it.

Murder, along with several other sins we regularly take for granted, is against the Law: God’s Law. (see Ex. 20:1-ff.)

Murder is an indirect attack against God through the termination of the physical life of another human being who shares the same image of God.

It is premeditated, meaning that the murderer planned it out in his mind, usually long before the act took place.

Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders” (Matt. 15:19).

The first murderer was Cain, who killed his brother Abel, because Cain was angry because his self-righteous act of piety was rejected, whereas God recognized Abel’s righteous piety as selfless (see Gen. 4).

Nevertheless, Paul called lawlessness, of which murder is included, a “mystery.”

Mysteries, in and of themselves, are not necessarily “evil.” The Bible also speaks of “mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 13:11), “mystery of the kingdom of God” (Mk. 4:11; Lk. 8:10), and the “mystery” of the Gentiles being grafted in with the Jews (Rom. 11:25), none of which are evil, but are good.

Biblical mysteries typically have something to do profundity that is beyond human comprehension, whether for good or for evil.

“God works in mysterious ways” is a oft-repeated quip used by some who are not only stating a biblical truth, but an admission that they are oblivious as to why certain events turned out they way they did.

Only God knows for sure and in many cases that is the absolute truth.

Lawlessness, murder, and the like are mysterious because they originate in the hearts of men and women.

Since all men and women, boys and girls, share in a fallen nature (Rom. 5:12), it is natural for them to contemplate what many of their fellow human beings would think to be beyond the capability of their sons, daughters, friends, and colleagues to commit.

It is why when we hear of so-and-so committing an atrocious act of barbarity, we are in absolute shock. How could a mother shoot and kill her two little daughters!?

It is the mystery of murder (and other sins) that, figuratively, “blows us away.” We cannot wrap our minds around it, because it does not make sense.

Yet, the apostle Paul tells us, it is “already at work.” But, why? Who is behind the lawlessness? What it is supposed to mean and how are we to cope with it, if we can cope with it at all?

What is the answer and the solution to murder and/or lawlessness?

Does it really matter? Do you really care? Or do you simply want more “dirty laundry.”

For those seeking to understand, please continue to The Mystery of Lawlessness: Part 2, God’s Role

For everyone else, you may return to CNN, FOX, MSNBC, etc., which would be a mystery itself.

About the Author


President, Christian Apologetics Project
PhD Candidate, Northwest University (2018)
MA Apologetics w/ Honors, BIOLA University (2005)
ThM, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (2003)
MDiv, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (2000)
BA Pastoral Ministry & Bible, Baptist Bible College (1992)

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