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10-2-22 Great Themes of the Bible–Common Grace

Great Themes of the Bible–Common Grace

David Peterson / General

Great Themes of the Bible / Common Grace / 2 Thessalonians 2:1–12

Sermon Type: Topical-Textual

Proposition: Sin is a mystery. It cannot be taken away but only managed until Christ appears. God in his grace enables all people to manage and minimize the effects of sin.


1. Great Themes

2. Different approaches to society

3. Noah and the Flood is pivotal

I. Lawlessness is a Mystery (2 Thessalonians 2:7a)

1. Human evil is a mystery (secret=μυστήριον)

2. What’s the cause? Imagine by John Lennon

Secular liberals are observing that, contrary to hopes of a more tolerant secular age, racial tensions worsen as more Americans ditch Church.

In an Atlantic article titiled “Breaking Faith” from the upcoming April 2017 edition, contributing editor Peter Beinart wrote that many believed that bitter cultural clashes would decrease as the United States became less religious. Yet it turns out that the clashes are not dissipating after all; (from Americans Becoming Less Religious Yet More Racist? in The Christian Post)


But if secularists hoped that declining religiosity would make for more rational politics, drained of faith’s inflaming passions, they are likely disappointed. As Christianity’s hold, in particular, has weakened, ideological intensity and fragmentation have risen. American faith, it turns out, is as fervent as ever; it’s just that what was once religious belief has now been channeled into political belief. Political debates over what America is supposed to mean have taken on the character of theological disputations. This is what religion without religion looks like. (American without God, The Atlantic April 2021


There is some social phenomenon which I suspect explains non work, non marriage, deaths of despair, general alienation and, I suspect, the rise of reactionary populism. It should be a major task of social science to understand it.

economics cannot explain why 1 in 7 prime age men 25 to 54 are not working today amidst a massive labor shortage. (Lawrence H. Summers on Twitter)

3. Ultimately, believing lies and rejecting truth, leads to delusion (2 Thess. 2:11)

II. God Is Holding Lawlessness Back (2 Thessalonians 2:7b)

1. God is working in history so it’s not like Noah’s Day

2. What is holding evil back, government, church/preaching?

3. Discerning and strengthening the natural orders of creation—family, male and female, community, natural law/moral order, authority, economic

Institutes of the Christian Religion (Chapter 2: Man Now Deprived of Freedom of Will, and Miserably Enslaved)

Therefore, in reading profane authors, the admirable light of truth displayed in them should remind us, that the human mind, however much fallen and perverted from its original integrity, is still adorned and invested with admirable gifts from its Creator. If we reflect that the Spirit of God is the only fountain of truth, we will be careful, as we would avoid offering insult to him, not to reject or condemn truth wherever it appears. In despising the gifts, we insult the Giver.

Institutes of the Christian Religion (Chapter 2: Man Now Deprived of Freedom of Will, and Miserably Enslaved)

How, then, can we deny that truth must have beamed on those ancient lawgivers who arranged civil order and discipline with so much equity? Shall we say that the philosophers, in their exquisite researches and skilful description of nature, were blind? Shall we deny the possession of intellect to those who drew up rules for discourse, and taught us to speak in accordance with reason? Shall we say that those who, by the cultivation of the medical art, expended their industry in our behalf were only raving? What shall we say of the mathematical sciences? Shall we deem them to be the dreams of madmen? Nay, we cannot read the writings of the ancients on these subjects without the highest admiration; an admiration which their excellence will not allow us to withhold.

4. We must be involved in society that we might be preservers of society—sanctified by truth

300 Quotations for Preachers (America Founded on a Creed)

America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence; perhaps the only piece of practical politics that is also theoretical politics and also great literature. It enunciates that all men are equal in their claim to justice, that governments exist to give them that justice, and that their authority is for that reason just. It certainly does condemn anarchism, and it does also by inference condemn atheism, since it clearly names the Creator as the ultimate authority from whom these equal rights are derived

GK Chesterton

III. Lawlessness will be destroyed when Christ returns (2 Thessalonians 2:8)

1. The promise in this life is the ability to manage sin but not eradicate it (Gen. 4.7)

Jesus is Gonna Win

While a student at theological college in the United States Bernard Travaieille was playing basketball with some friends. They were using the court at a nearby school, where a friendly old janitor would patiently wait until they had finished their game before locking up. One day Bernard noticed the janitor was reading the bible. In fact he discovered the old janitor was reading the Book of Revelation.

Bernard was surprised. It was a difficult book to interpret even for highly trained bible students! “Do you understand it?” asked Bernard.

“Oh yes, I understand it” the janitor replied.

Now Bernard was really intrigued. Here was this book that baffled scholars, that was the focus of every conspiracy theory known to humanity, and this old man, a janitor with little formal education, claimed to understand it!

“You understand the Book of Revelation?! What do you think it means?” asked Bernard.

The old man looked up at him and very quietly said, “It means that Jesus is gonna win.”

Source: Reported by Bernard Travaieille in Illustrations Unlimited

2. The promise is that Christ’s return will do what the flood could not do.


Perhaps Today

Perhaps today our Lord will come

To bear us to our much-loved Home:

Before the evening shadows fall

May sound the longed-for clarion call;

Then out of sorrow, tears and strife,

We’ll rise to realms of joy and life.

Perhaps today will be the last,

And time shall be forever past.

Our light affliction will be o’er.

Then Glory! Glory! evermore!

These days of toil and pain will cease

And faithful workers rest in peace.

Perhaps today mine eyes shall see

The Lamb of God who died for me:

Oh, nothing else will matter then.

If unto Him I’ve faithful been.

Live for that day, O soul of mine,

And joy eternal shall be thine.

—Annie Lind Woodworth


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