2 Thess. 2:11
Another notable feature of the period immediately following “the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto Him,” is the attitude that God will then assume towards men.
Now, God is beseeching sinners to be reconciled to Him. (2 Cor. 5:20.) He is commanding “all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30), and by His goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering, is seeking to lead men to repentance. (Rom. 2:4.) The present long-suffering of our Lord is salvation; for God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9, 15.) “Now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2.) It is yet “the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:19); but the long-suffering of God must have an end, and the fearful prediction of Proverbs 1:24 must be fulfilled upon the rejecters of Christ, even upon all who, in the “day of salvation,” refused to believe the gospel: “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh. as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but shall not find me.”
When they that are ready shall have gone in with the bridegroom to the marriage, then shall the door be shut, and those who stand without shall be without for ever— their knocking in vain, their urgent cry unheeded, and, in exact correspondence with the Scriptures quoted in 2 Thess. 2:11, the very God who, up to a certain moment, was the long-suffering beseecher of sinners, becomes the sender to those very sinners of “strong delusion,” that those who refused to believe “the truth” might be compelled to believe “the lie,” and this in order “that they all might be damned.” There is, therefore, no possible escape for one who (having heard and rejected the gospel) is left on earth when the saints shall be “caught up to meet the Lord in the air.”
The acceptable year shall then have ended, and the day of vengeance shall have begun to break—vengeance that shall do its terrible work with a rapidity most strikingly in contrast to the lingering long-suffering of grace.
It is an acceptable year, but it will only be a day of vengeance; for a short work will the Lord make when He rises up to judgment.
Knowing that such will be the inevitable doom of the unbeliever when the Lord shall come for His own, how intensely urgent ought the believer now to be for the salvation of those around him, especially for those “his kindred in the Mesh,” to whom, by the ties of nature and of natural affection, he is bound, but from whom, were the Lord to come, he would be severed for ever.
And is it not a plea to urge, in dealing with such, that the moment for which the saints are waiting will be the sealing of their eternal doom, as surely as the entrance of Noah into the ark and the shutting of that door was the sealing of the doom of the world before the flood? No warning had they that their day of mercy had expired, but the voice that for 120 years had witnessed for God was withdrawn.
No warning will the ungodly have of the change in God’s attitude toward them; but the voices of the saints shall no more be heard, and the strong delusion shall lay its deadly grasp on mind and heart, and seal for damnation the infatuated rejecters of the Truth.