right-wrong

Even right things can be wrong

“It is written…” (Luke 4:4,8,12)

It is no longer right to call wrong things wrong. That is, unless you believe all things should be right. That would make all wrong things and all right things right (head spinning yet?)

But even those who claim to want all things to be right believe some things are wrong, like, for example, people who disagree with people who want all things to be right are definitely wrong.

What it comes down to is that people want to do what they want to do. And they also want to be able to use the labels “right” and “wrong” at their own discretion. No criticism or reasoning allowed. This is what happens when everyone gets to be a god to themselves.

According to the Bible, there are some things that are wrong no matter what. Also, there are some things that are right, but could become wrong, depending on the situation.

For example, what could possibly be wrong with eating bread? If you have the ability to make it and feed yourself, how could that ever be wrong?

Suppose a manager promised you a promotion once you completed a certain training program, but someone else came along and offered you a similar position at another company, minus the trouble of the training program? Seems like a good thing, right?

These are analogous to the temptations Jesus faced with Satan. Why not just make the bread and eat it (he certainly had the power)? Why not accept the dominion of the world from Satan (it was certainly promised him, Isaiah 9:6-7)? Why not forego all the trouble of torture, death and resurrection to prove who he was? Why not just climb to the top of the Jerusalem Temple, declare yourself to be the Messiah, and jump off? After all, the Scriptures claim that the Messiah will receive special protection from God (Psalm 91:11-12). Here, Satan twisted a Scripture to make it appear as if Scripture gave permission to do a wrong thing.

Sin always has an element of rationality. It always makes sense at the time. It always makes sense in a particular context. The thing that makes sin, sin, and wrong, wrong, is not always the act itself. What’s wrong with sexual relations, for example? Nothing, if the context is correct. What’s wrong with observing the Lord’s Supper? Nothing, if the context is correct.

That leads to another question: who determines the context? If you and I are left to our own senses, any context can become right. But think about this: even Jesus didn’t determine right or wrong based upon personal assumption. He gave deference to the written word of God. God’s revelation is the ultimate context.

The reason why the otherwise reasonable acts of making and eating bread, accepting authority over the world and proving himself to be the Messiah in the manner proposed by Satan were wrong, was the context of Scripture.

This should cause us to take serious notice. If Scripture is the basis of all authority, and right things can become wrong things, and Scripture can even be twisted to make sinful things seem like approved things, then you and I had better be very knowledgeable in, and understand the context of Scripture. We must not only know what is written, but why, to whom, and under what circumstances, if we are to combat sin in our own lives.

Context is everything.

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A graduate of West Virginia School of Preaching (2004), Rick has been in full-time ministry since then serving the church in Prestonsburg, KY (2004-2014), and Massillon, OH (2014-present). He enjoys spending time with his wife, Samantha, their six children, and enjoys writing, playing and writing music, a good cup of coffee and a hot wood stove. He hates shoveling snow and plans to buy a snow blower soon.

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