Pastor Wade's Blog

Rearranging the Price Tags

Isaiah 5:20, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” 

The Danish philosopher Sören Kierkegaard tells a parable of a man who broke into a department store one night. Rather than stealing merchandise, he rearranged the price tags on many items. The next morning the clerks and customers found one surprise after another: diamond necklaces for a dollar and cheap costume jewelry costing thousands.

In Isaiah’s day, Israel had rejected and despised God’s instructions (Is. 5:24). The people grossly underestimated faith in Him and the value of His laws. They cheapened the worth of patiently waiting on the Lord to work out His purposes (Is 5:18-19). They devalued virtue and inflated evil (Is 5:20). They overpriced their own wisdom and cleverness (Is 5:21) and made heroes of heavy drinkers (Is 5:22). Bribery routinely subverted justice (Is 5:23). God had created a climate where goodness could flourish (Is 5:1-2), but His people had cultivated weeds and produced moral confusion.

Does this sound up to date? Our society is doing just what Israel did centuries ago. Dwight Longenecker astutely observed the downward, deceptive progression of evil: “First, we overlook evil. Then we permit evil. Then we legalize evil. Then we promote evil. Then we celebrate evil. Then we persecute those who still call it evil.”

Everett Piper, a columnist for The Washington Times, paints a clear picture of modern-day high priests of humanism and their unrighteous, ungodly assertions as he writes, “Isaiah’s warning reminds us that the high priests of self-aggrandizement and hypocrisy have always stood in the offing. They have always been at the city gates. Patient as father time, waiting and waiting for civilization’s walls to crack, staring wide-eyed at the ramparts, watching and watching for history’s citizens to slumber in their “safety,” ignorant of the imminent attack. 

“Theirs is a religion of human sacrifice, the sacrifice of mind, body and soul. On their altar, tradition, experience, reason, and revelation must die. Robed in their vestments of Inquisition, they ready the stake. With pious calls to “turn down the heat of our rhetoric,” they fan the fire. With their hateful “love,” they strike the match. Refuse to recant your sin of speaking out against their sin, and you will pay. 

“Shouting “judge not!” they judge you. “You marched with the pagan Constantine,” they cry. “In the name of Christianity, your Christendom be damned. Your patriotism is unpatriotic. Your nationalism betrays the nation. We will not tolerate your intolerance. We hate you for your ‘hate.’”

“This is their mantra. They actually chant this nonsense. In their darkened minds, such pabulum stunningly seems to make some sense.  

“They are oh so sure that nothing is sure, and they know that nothing can be known. They are absolutely confident there are no absolutes, and they do not hesitate to tell you that you are absolutely wrong. 

“This is the world of the progressive left. This is the land of one-party rule. In their kingdom, simple math and logic are no longer objective facts but merely tainted products of “privilege.” Two plus two is no longer four. Biology and genetics must kneel in obeisance to fabrication and fantasy. Defending science makes you a science-denier. Delusion is their identity. Saying that a man isn’t a woman and a woman is not a man makes you the one who is insane. 

“Arguing for the lives of all races means you’re a racist. If you march for freedom, you’re a fascist. You are guilty of intrusion if you simply want to be left alone. You will pay homage to “inclusion” or you will be excluded. 

“Killing millions of helpless babies makes them the champions of children.  

“Pretending a female is a fantasy rather than a fact makes them feminists.  

“While waving banners of “love trumps hate,” they scream of their hate for Donald Trump. Preaching that they’ll bring America together, they call half of Americans “maggots,” “deplorables,” “domestic terrorists” and “ignorant rubes.”   

“Their virtue signaling is void of virtue. You will be made to care. And they don’t care.  

“This is a party that flaunts freedom of speech while it cancels speech it believes should not be free. These are people with the temerity to lecture about violence at our nation’s capital after shamelessly spending months fomenting violence coast to coast.” 

How are we to battle back against the destructive evils in our own lives and in our culture? How are we to rearrange the price tags on life’s choices so that they reflect God’s values? How can we reverse the curse of sin and it’s devastating effects in our lives, culture, and world?

The bad news is big government coupled with big tech and hitched to big money can’t fix or reverse any of our greatest problems. For the heart of our problems is the depraved human heart that causes every person to want to do what is right in their own eyes. But the good news of the gospel is that God has provided all that is needed – not for the “great reset” - but for the “great reversal”.

In fact, three great reversals must occur if we are to be right, live right, and do right, and avoid being given over by God to a reprobate mind and a ruined civilization and Paul reveals them in his letter to the Romans:

  1. The reversal of God’s wrath against our unrighteousness.
  2. The reversal of God’s handing us over to a depraved mind.
  3. The reversal of our mind’s moral decay so that it can be renewed for right and proper use in God’s service.

The key verse in the Bible revealing the reversal of God’s wrath against us is Romans 1:17: In the gospel of Christ, “the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” This verse says in essence, “The righteousness that God demands from us, he freely gives to us, if we will turn back to him and trust him to be our greatest Good. And if you have the righteousness of God, you are not under the wrath of God anymore, and you no longer call evil, good, or good, evil - an incredibly happy reversal!

What is righteousness? It is the situation in which things are what they ought to be. We ask, "Are things right between you and your mate, or your friend?” We ask people if they are right with God. What are we asking? We are asking if their relationship is what it ought to be.

God is righteous. This means that He is everything He ought to be. We, by nature are unrighteous. But when we come to Christ and accept His death as ours and relinquish our independence for total dependence upon Him as the source and resource of our life, God then gives us a faith

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