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November 12, 2020

The Power of Sin in the Life of an Unbeliever

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Sin

The unbelieving person does not see anything of the splendor of Christ and does not yet have the life of Christ in his or her soul. So, what does the secret power of sin look like in the life of your unbelieving friend, relative, or neighbor?

Sin is a secret power, working in the soul. 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 gives us a devastating analysis of its power and effect. Sin produces bitter fruit in a person’s life. This is what sin does.

[Satan] will use…every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

Seven Bitter Fruits of Sin 

1. Deception

…every sort of evil that deceives…  (2 Thess. 2:10).

Notice that the Scripture says, “evil… deceives.” Satan makes sin look attractive. This is the nature of sin; it always does that.

Some sin will disgust you. You will wonder to yourself, “How could anyone do that?” But some forms of sin will be attractive to you. That is where Satan deceives, and it goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden.

2. Perishing

… evil that deceives those who are perishing. (2 Thess. 2:10).

Notice the present tense. There is a theme that runs right through the life of a person who is without Jesus Christ. There is an unraveling of life that is going on now, a taking down, a becoming less. This is a process that has already begun. By nature, we are perishing.

3. Refusal to love the truth

They perish because they refused to love the truth… (2 Thess. 2:10).

These people heard the truth and refused to believe it. But the real issue here is that they refused to love it. The heart governs the life more than the head. The greatest barrier to faith lies not in the doubts of the mind but in the desires of the heart.

4. Delight in wickedness

…all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness (2 Thess. 2:12).

“Delight[ing] in wickedness” is the explanation of “not believ[ing] the truth.” Where the heart loves wickedness, the mind cannot embrace the truth. It’s impossible! Jesus said, “How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from… God?” (John 5:44).

5. Powerful delusion

For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion… (2 Thess. 2:11).

The reason is that they refused to love the truth. This is looking down the line of what happens when a person persists in resisting and pushing Christ away. Here are folks who’ve heard the truth and they’ve refused it.

You cannot get away from God’s activity here: God sends. God gives them what they desire. They do not want the truth, and so now they’re unable to receive it.

I want to press home on all who’ve not yet received Christ, the danger of continuing to refuse Him.  As you hear the Word, some of you are putting off a response to Jesus, “I’ll become a Christian later.  I’ll respond to God in my own time.”  Even right now you would push away Jesus Christ.

You say, “I can become a Christian later,” but you may not be able to. The secret power of sin is at work in you. That’s why the Bible says repeatedly, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Heb. 3:15).  Warren Wiersbe says it well:

“The human heart becomes harder each time the sinner rejects God’s truth.” [1]

You feel Him reaching out to you and you’re pushing him away. Every time you hear the Word of God something happens in your soul. The Word of God that you are hearing today will make you softer or it will make you more resistant to Christ.  It never leaves you the same.

Jesus said, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer.  Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you” (John 12:35).  Sinners refuse to love the truth, and down the line they end up with a delusion. They can no longer see what they used to see.

This is how God’s judgment works in this world. God gives sinners what they want. That is why a life of resisting God and running from God ends up in an eternity apart from God—in the darkness, with the God-haters, outside the light and the joy of His presence.

6. Faith in the lie

God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie” (2 Thess. 2:11).

“The lie” goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when Satan said, “You will be like God” (Gen. 3:5). “You’re a good person. You don’t need Christ’s sacrifice. You can work it out yourself.”

When a man feels that he is the captain and commander of his own life, that he is his own god, his own law and that he can stand on the merits of his own goodness, you know that he has swallowed the lie. He is living under a powerful delusion.

7. Condemnation

…all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness (2 Thess. 2:12).

“Condemnation” is a terrible word. Don’t you shudder when you hear it? We rejoice in Romans 8:1 that says, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”, but the reason that has meaning for us is found right here in 2 Thessalonians 2:12.

To those who have resisted the claims of the Savior, who have not loved the truth but have believed the lie, Christ will say, “I never knew you. Depart from me!” (Matt. 7:3). Then, there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 8:12, 13:42, 13:50, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30). Did you know that Jesus said that phrase seven times? I do not want that for you. Those who pray for you do not want that for you.

These seven bitter fruits of sin show us why we need a Savior. Jesus Christ has come into the world because we need saving from the mystery of sin that is at work in every human life.

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Go deeper on the doctrine of sin in the course Watch Your Doctrine, taught by Pastor Colin Smith. 

This article is an adaptation of Pastor Colin’s sermon, “The Lord Jesus Christ: Coming in Glory”, from his series, Staying the Course (When You’re Tired of the Battle).

1. Warren Wiersbe, Be Ready: Living in the Light of Christ’s Return (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 1979), 153.


Colin Smith

Founder & Teaching Pastor

Colin Smith is the Senior Pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the Founder and Teaching Pastor for Open the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.
Colin Smith is the Senior Pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the Founder and Teaching Pastor for Open the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.