Those who practice lawlessness are those who do not experience the Cross.
Art Katz writes in his book, True Fellowship: To Him Be The Glory In The Church:
""The Consequences of the Cross
Jesus brought His death upon Himself by His own character, His own life and His message. What then shall be brought upon us if we adopt His character, move in His life, and proclaim his message? The disposition that clamors for prosperity, for blessings and the rapture as escape is not the spirit that is going to appreciate a message on suffering and the Cross. We know that the spirit of Antichrist is in the world. Anti not only means opposed to, but also seeking to be something like Him, yet not Him. How shocked and stunned might we be if we were to realize to what degree we ourselves have submitted and may actually be operating in that spiritif our Christ is not the Christ who suffered, died and rose again! We nod our heads to the doctrine of the Cross, but in the actuality of our own knowledge and experience where do we essentially live our lives?
The Cross is the most unreligious symbol that can ever be imagined. The crucifixion of Jesus, the ending of a life in nakedness that began in nakedness, is the complete negation of every kind of conventional wisdom and religious notion that men could conjure. There is no way to come to an understanding of it by our own reasoning. The fact that we think we have, is contradicted by our lives. We can only come to it in darkness and repentance, and in no other way. It is too perverse, too ugly and too unappealing, for which reasons, only perverse, ugly and unattractive people have never had difficulty in coming to the Cross.
We need to not only see Jesus, but also the purpose for which our lives have been called:
For is was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings (Heb. 2:10).
We were not called to success, happiness, and our own satisfaction, or only to have our own needs met. In fact, we do not have to be clever to realize that this poses a question, namely, if this kind of redemptive suffering was required to make Jesus perfect, by what means then shall we be made perfect? The answer is of course, through exactly the same process by which Jesus entered into perfection ?by the things which He suffered.
By sentimentalizing and distorting the Cross, thereby taking the sting out of it, we negate its death and suffering. The Cross should be the central and pivotal event of all our faith and life. All must go dark for us and become as night in the daytime of our comfortable, religious understanding. We have become too used to the Cross, and have made of it only a theory and formula for salvation. We have come to altar call after altar call, and invitation after invitation, laying our lives down before Christ again and again, and yet somehow we are still very much alive. The veil of selfishness, self-interest, vanity and pride is still not rent. The rocks of our hearts are still not split. The Cross of Christ needs to become for us an event.
There is only one way to enter it, namely, the total negation of all of our life, the doing away of ourselves in the yielding up of the ghost. If His glory is to be manifest in the earth, it shall be only through His resurrection life manifesting through those who have been joined with Him in death and burial, and have been raised with Him into that newness of life. God will only bury that which is dead. We will know that we have entered into the death when we see the evidence of the resurrection.
There is a real cutting that requires a real shedding of blood for any covenant of God, and we are in that covenant to the degree to which we have been joined to that cutting. Did we see our water baptism as some kind of biblical obligation, or did we see ourselves as being buried with Him? God knows those who are living in the newness of life and those who are not. Those who are mouthing and pronouncing New Testament terms, and who may actually even be involved in New Testament ministry, so to speak, may actually and unconsciously be putting their confidence in their flesh and their own natural ability and aptitude. You can, on that basis, make an impressive show of it ?but it is not newness of life. This is not some religious palaver. We are speaking of an utterly supernatural reality that brings the believer thereby into a new dimension of existence, reality and life. We are in that life or we are not. God has made it absolute. Merely to employ the word resurrection and allude to it, quote it, and preach it, does not mean that we have it. What is the evidence of our lives generally speaking and consistently? Are we in the flesh or in the Spirit? How many of us have tried to dismiss condemnation by quoting the Scripture over and over again: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1)and have not been relieved. You can quote that scripture until you are blue in the face and still be under condemnation, if you are not in Christ Jesus. The pressure of the condemnation is to bring you to that very place. But who likes to be cut, and who wants to see blood spilled? The flesh shrinks from it. Only those who love the Crucified One have any desire at all to be joined with Him in that place.
For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed [because you do not have any other] with Him in glory (Col. 3:3-4 Parenthesis mine).
Are we willing to have our lives predicated on that basis, and are we willing to cease our efforts to get by on the strength of our own natural ability? Your life is dead except His life be revealed, which means we will be left humiliated often. When we want to shine, be clever, impressive, entertaining or whatever, then He simply will not be there to accommodate us. There will be no glory for us ever, but only glory for Him when His life shall be revealed. We are not living anymore by our own calculations or deliberations. We do not move on the basis of what is logical and reasonable. That is the worlds game. We move by His life. When His life moves, then we move. When His life will be expressed by speaking, then we speak. Trusting for His life, moment by moment, is the faith for which the saints once contended, and the just shall live by this faith."
Paul said somewhere, that men preach the gospel for their own gain. Never the less the gospel is preached. The signs and wonders done by these people give witness to the world that God is. A relationship is entirely something different. God is faithful, so what if some were disobedient. Let God be true and everyman a liar.