“And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie…”
And for this reason
Because people did not love the truth that God might save them (2:10), God sends them a “strong delusion.” God will not send them a “strong delusion” until they make it clear that they have gone into negative volition toward the gospel. The choice of error over truth is serious business because it leads to deep delusion.
God will send them strong delusion,
The word “delusion” means wandering. These people wander off the right path of truth into paths of religious invention. The people led astray roam all over the place in religion.
“Delusion” is stronger than deception. Deception means that a person can be fooled about something. Delusion is a way of life in which one is perpetually deceived. People under delusion harden their hearts permanently.
The word “strong” is the same word we found in 2:9 in the phrase “the working of Satan.” The New Testament always uses this word for supernatural working.
that they should believe the lie
When people “believe the lie,” God consigns them to a state of delusion. This is the lie of verse 4 that the man of lawlessness is God. People in the Tribulation cannot take a neutral stand. Either they believe God, or they believe the lie. God will ultimately give people in the Tribulation exactly what they want–to believe the lie. “The lie” is the opposite of the truth of Jesus and His death on the cross.
Ultimately, God will give non-believers what they want.
People given over to lies will enter strong delusion. God will give them over to their volition, their heart’s desire to believe the lies of Satan. People say they want the truth, but they really want Satan’s lies. They have a vested interest in believing lies.
God gave Pharaoh what he wanted (Exodus 7:14; 9:12). God will give us over to what we truly want (Romans 1:18-32). If we truly want hell, God will give it to us.