The Mystery of Lawlessness: Part 2, God’s Role

Paul Derengowski, ThM

As was mentioned in the previous article, God works in mysterious ways, which means that when it comes to lawlessness, God plays a role in that, as well.

How does God play a role in lawlessness, given that God is the Lawgiver and it reflects the holiness of his character?

Is God some kind of psychopathic hypocrite telling everyone to “Do as I say and not as I do”? Hardly.

God’s role in the lawless acts fallen humans commit is to allow those acts to proceed, but only so far as they glorify God.

This does not mean that all lawless acts are as egregious as they possibly could be. The Holy Spirit of God actually restrains evil (2 Thess. 2:6), even when we concede the demonic influence behind the evil perpetrated.

God allowed Devin Kelley to carry out what his heart pondered, but only to the extent that God would eventually be glorified by Kelley’s evil actions.

But, how can God possibly be glorified, much less justified in receiving glory, over the apparently senseless murder of human beings, including many of whom would call God their “Father” and “rock of salvation”?

God can only be glorified amid lawlessness, murder, theft, adultery, lying, cheating, misrepresentation, deceit, and any one of ten thousand other sins, some worse than others, because of His gracious and merciful character.

There is nothing humans do that is so beyond God’s grace that He cannot forgive, redeem, and restore.

The Law magnifies the extent of the sin committed, while also demonstrating the extent of God’s grace to overcome it.

“[W]here sin increased, grace abounded all the more,” wrote the Apostle Paul (Rom. 5:20).

Some have argued that humans can commit the unpardonable sin of rejecting Jesus as their savior.

But, such an argument is not scriptural, since the unpardonable sin had to do with attributing the works of Jesus to the works of the devil (see Mk. 3:20-ff.).

Since Jesus is no longer walking the earth performing miraculous acts, then no one can accuse him of doing the devil’s biding, nor can they commit the unpardonable sin.

Moreover, accepting Jesus as one’s savior is not scriptural either, since prior to spiritual regeneration (being “born again”–Jn. 3:3, 5) no one has the will or the want to have anything to do with Jesus (Rom. 3:10-11).

The sinner is in abject rebellion against God and “hates the light” He provides. Hence, the rebellious will not come to the light, “lest his deeds should be exposed” (Jn. 3:20).

The rebellious will not come to the light, lest the Holy Spirit bears the sinner into God’s family, unbeknownst to the saint, in the same sense that no one knows where the wind originates or where it terminates (Jn. 3:8).

Therefore, for those who are forgiven of their treachery, rebellion, and lawlessness, they only enjoy such because of God’s grace.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).

Those who realize their “new creation” (Gal. 6:15) in Christ glorify God, alone!

“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).

They know God’s grace abounded beyond their sins, many of which included murderous acts, as well as murderous thoughts and words (Acts 9:1; 22:4; 26:11).

Nevertheless, God’s role in the lawlessness of mankind was to allow it to happen, with the express intent, that is often beyond our comprehension, to glorify Himself.

Next: The Mystery of Lawlessness: Part 3, Deceitful Prophets

Previous: The Mystery of Lawlessness: Part 1, Murder

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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