Friday, February 25, 2011

Calling it Straight

Acts 13:10 and said, "You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?

10 εἶπεν· ὦ πλήρης παντὸς δόλου καὶ πάσης ῥᾳδιουργίας, υἱὲ διαβόλου, ἐχθρὲ πάσης δικαιοσύνης, οὐ παύσῃ διαστρέφων τὰς ὁδοὺς [τοῦ] κυρίου τὰς εὐθείας;

This was Paul's statement to Elymas the magician who was trying to thwart the message of the gospel as told by Paul and Barnabas. I think it's pretty strong to call someone ἐχθρὲ πάσης δικαιοσύνης. Obviously Paul is engaging in hyperbole here. Or is he?

The point is that the gospel is righteousness. There is no righteousness apart from the gospel. Therefore, by definition, if you oppose the gospel you are ἐχθρὲ πάσης δικαιοσύνης. This is pretty serious business.

The implication of this in our culture is pretty staggering. Take someone like Oprah, for example. She's a pretty good gal by the world's standards. She gives all kinds of high-end stuff away once a year on her show. She does what she can to help what she considers to be good causes. She tries to help people feel better about themselves.

Oops. Right there she is opposing the gospel by preaching a message of self-help rather than Christ-help. You don't have to watch much Oprah to see that she is drawing people away from the gospel and to themselves. Hence, I would put her in the same boat as Elymas here.

It's easy to pick on Oprah and she has almost become a trite example for illustrations like this. My point is just to exhort everyone to think through the messages that we hear. Let's be discerning about them. Are they for the gospel or are they opposed to it? Some may be obviously opposed like the difference between Islam and Christianity. Others are more subtle like the self-help messages of Oprah. Either way, we need to know our Bibles if we are to be discerning about this.

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