Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And clever in their own sight!
The children’s story entitled The Emperor’s New Clothes is a humorous tragedy. Insincere itinerant tailors beguile a feckless ruler into believing they have created a garment that is invisible to anyone who is a fool, but visible to those who are wise. In reality, they have made nothing, but wanting to be thought wise, the king praises their work. The ruse spreads. All the emperor’s advisers and noblemen laud the tailors and tell him how splendid he looks in his new clothes. As he parades through town, no one is willing to confess that he can’t see anything, for that would prove him a fool. And thus, ironically, all proved they were fools.
What an apt description of what the once-sensible western society has become! In just a few years, many have been duped into affirming what is self-evidently false. A generation ago, we embraced ‘relativism,’ the idea that there are no absolutes, no right or wrong, no good or evil. We lived off the ‘fumes’ of our historical foundations for a few decades, but eventually succumbed to the philosophy we espoused. Scripture adroitly predicted the result: ‘Professing to be wise, we became fools’ (Romans 1.22).
The results have been appalling, and spawn ever-more-egregious and self-destructive idiocy almost daily:
- Rioters burning cities are good; police trying to stop them are bad.
- Drag queens dancing for children is good; a baker honoring heterosexual marriage is bad.
- Confusing a child’s biological gender is good; affirming it is bad.
- Encouraging LGBTQ+ is good; teaching traditional marriage and family is bad.
- Impugning people for their skin-color is good; upholding the value of every human is bad.
- Paying for mothers to kill unborn babies is good; opposition to abortion is bad.
- Parents concerned about the children’s education are bad; progressive administrators are good.
When God pronounces a “Woe!” on those who practice evil, it’s His promise of coming judgment. He is going to pour out His wrath on them. As one translation puts it, they are “as good as dead.” The internal devastation on our society is now a pandemic. We have invited the wrath of God on ourselves.
Christians must be aware of what is happening. Some succumb to Satan’s schemes. We expect this of the world: Satan is “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4.4), the “deceiver of the whole world (Rev. 12.9). But how tragic when believers are ‘outwitted’ by him, as he “disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11.14)! Those who reject his schemes, he overtly attacks. Rev. 12.10 reminds us that he is the “accuser of brethren.” He does not accuse the wicked; he indicts believers – to undermine our faith, weaken our convictions, and erode our assurance.
In 2 Cor. 2.11, Paul exhorts Christians to resist Satan, and adds, “for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” To strengthen your resistance, grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior. Put on full armor of God. And do not grow weary in well-doing. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor 15.58).