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The Mystery of Iniquity
W. G. Humphrey, B. D.
2 Thessalonians 2:7
For the mystery of iniquity does already work: only he who now lets will let, until he be taken out of the way.
I. THE "MYSTERY OF INIQUITY" is the power unseen, unknown except by its effects, which is ever working in the world for evil — working against the law and will of God, corrupting what has been well done and well begun by man, causing misery in the natural world in all that man has to do with, through the mischief which it works in the moral and spiritual world, in the heart and soul of men.
1. Try to trace evil back to its origin, and you soon see that your search is vain. God did not create this to be the bane of His handiwork. Are we then to conclude that evil is an independent being, self-subsisting, with a will and deadly energy of its own?
2. Here, then, is part of the "mystery of iniquity"; and another part is the mystery of its working. See how we are born to evil, as surely as the sparks fly upward. Alongside the primeval blessing, "Increase and multiply," there has sprung up a countervailing curse on all our race in the increase and multiplication of sin. The seeds of evil are propagated from parent to child, each little one bringing into the world as his spiritual inheritance a propensity to evil, which mingles with all his propensities to good — a fresh contribution to the already abundant growth of evil; a mere germ at first, but unfolding speedily, growing with the growth of the child as the worm in the bud, and strengthening beyond his strength.
3. So active, so subtle, so successful, is the "mystery of iniquity" in its working; and what is it in its consequences? (Genesis 3:17; Romans 5:12). How mysterious are the chastisements which fall upon us! We may be sure our sin will find us out; though it be long, yet it will not tarry. Still more mysterious is the working out of the consequences of the parent's sin upon the children, perhaps even unto the third and fourth generations. The children suffer in body — they are a prey to the same virulent hereditary disease, they drag a blighted existence; or their minds are left untrained, unguarded, a seed plot for every sinful thought that may alight upon them; they are left to drudge in indigence.
II. Great, therefore, without doubt, is the "mystery of iniquity"; but, thanks be to God, still GREATER, INFINITELY GREATER, IS THE "MYSTERY OF GODLINESS" — the secret, unseen, unmeasured power which lies in the inspiration, guidance, comfort of His good Spirit, which is within us all, and is freely, abundantly poured out on all who truly seek it. Already it has bruised the serpent's head, it has shown us the way by which we may avoid the fascination of its basilisk eyes, and by which, even when it has fastened its fangs upon us, we may recover from its deadly sting.
(W. G. Humphrey, B. D.)