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 Thessalonians 2:7
The Holy Spirit works in the lives of Christians today by using us to restrain evil in the world.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7, Paul was talking about the end times and the rise of the Antichrist, the great world dictator. He said about the Antichrist, “You know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.” Paul was saying that something is restraining the Antichrist from coming on the world scene right now. Paul went on to explain in verse 7, “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.” Who is the restrainer Paul was talking about? The Holy Spirit. Right now, the Holy Spirit is keeping the Antichrist from coming to power. He is keeping utter lawlessness and chaos from engulfing the world until He, the Holy Spirit, is taken out of the world.
When is the Holy Spirit going to be taken out of the world? At the rapture of the church. Then how is the Holy Spirit restraining evil in the world right now? He is doing it through believers—through you and me. Do you understand that? The restrainer, the Holy Spirit, is going to be taken out of the world because believers are going to be taken out of the world. If the Holy Spirit is restraining evil, He is doing it right now through you and me. That is one of our duties here on earth, to be a restrainer of evil. We are like Hoover Dam, keeping a floodwater of evil and chaos from engulfing this world until God says it is time.
That means every time you speak out against an immoral curriculum in your local school district, every time you vote for a candidate who protects religious liberty, every time you do anything in this culture to restrain evil, you are performing the work of the Holy Spirit of God. And if we fail to be the Hoover Dam that God intended us to be, then evil will break out in the world. That is what God says we are here to do. We are that restrainer of evil, the Holy Spirit working within us, and that is why we don’t have any choice but to get engaged with the culture around us. That is what God has called us to do.
Admittedly, that can be discouraging at times. Being God’s ambassador is neither comfortable nor convenient, but it is what God called us to do, even when we don’t think we are being successful. A lot of times, we may be taking a stand for God, thinking we are utterly failing, but we do not realize all the people around us we are influencing. Elijah reminds us that one believer empowered by the Word of God, prayer, and the Holy Spirit of God equals a true world changer. Yes, God wants to change the world, but the world He wants to change begins with you.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Convictions That Will Change Your World” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.