Those Who Pervert Righteousness

Those Who Pervert Righteousness

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 1 Timothy 4:1 (NKJV)

Have you ever found yourself witnessing to someone or sharing a message you heard on Christian radio or at church, only to have another person enter the conversation and refute the Biblical truth you were attempting to share?  I know I have and it can be downright frustrating.  There are certain people who feel compelled to share an opinion on everything, even if they really don't know what they are speaking about.  I think they believe if they don't say something they will be thought of as ignorant or something.  Unfortunately, when they open their mouth, they remove all doubt about that because they really don't know what they are speaking about.  

Well, if you are having a conversation about how many cylinders there are in a Ferrari 430 spider, I guess it wouldn't really matter all that much.  But when you are sharing the Gospel message from the Bible it has great implications - especially when a person is trying to convince the person being witnessed to, not to believe in these Scriptures.  

Such was the case with a man named Bar-Jesus also known as Elymas (a name meaning sorcerer, magician, fortune-teller).  Paul was sharing with the Roman proconsul (Governor), Sergius Paulus, who was a very intelligent man according to Scripture (Acts 13:7).   Elymas jumped in the conversation and tried to turn Sergius from the faith.  We see what happened next as recorded in Acts 13:9-10.

Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, "O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?" Acts 13:9-10 (NKJV)

Notice some of the adjectives Paul uses to describe Elymas,

  • O full of all deceit and all fraud
  • You son of the devil
  • You enemy of all righteousness
And then Paul finishes by asking him a very straightforward question to directly point out his offense,

"Will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?"

The word "perverting" used here is from the Greek word, Diastrepho, pronounced, dee-as-tref´-o. It means to distort, misinterpret, or to morally corrupt - to turn away.

I guess what we can glean from this is when someone comes against God's Written Word (The Bible), and they deny it and cause others to deny it as well, they are distorting the truth and turning people away from God's "straight" path.  We can see this with messengers going door-to-door sharing false doctrine from magazines or other books.   It is causing these people to stumble, and God has very strong words about causing others to stumble.  Listen to what Jesus says about causing a new believer or Child to stumble.

 "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea." Mark 9:42 (NKJV)

I also find it interesting and ironic that Paul spoke forth a temporary curse of blindness on this Elymas to go along with his spiritual blindness. Perhaps that is because Paul could relate to this very much, as he too, found himself temporarily blinded before having his eyes opened to the truth (See Acts 9:1-18).

And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.  And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. Acts 13:11 (NKJV)

Now, I am not suggesting by this devotional that you go around and call everyone who cuts-in on, and speaks negatively about your evangelical conversations, a "son of the devil."  But I will say, this is how the Holy Spirit views them, and they are on some pretty thin ice.  

Hey Christian, be aware that the enemy is going to try to discourage you by bringing an Elymas into your life at some point.  They will try to pervert the straight ways of the Lord so be ready to combat their lies with the truth of God's Word.  

STUDY QUESTION: What are we warned about in 1 Timothy 4:1?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Can you see times where the enemy has sent someone into your life in an attempt to turn you away from the Gospel message that the Apostles preached?

APPLICATION: Be vigilant against the Elymases that attempt to pervert and distort the truth contained within the Bible.  Beware of those who take a Scripture and build a false religion around it.  Read your Bible and pray that God will guide you in all understanding.  God will be faithful to show you the truth.

Father, thank You for giving us Your Word to guide us in all truth and understanding.  Help me to identify the lies of Satan when those under his influence attempt to pervert the path of truth and spread false doctrine.  In Jesus' precious name, amen...

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000