Some years ago, after a politician had engaged in a long-term, scandalous affair, his wife told the media that he was “a good husband and father.” How far would the man have had to go to qualify as a bad husband?
Back in the day, the mother of rock singer Mick Jagger’s out-of-wedlock child, told Hello magazine that, even though Mr. Jagger had not yet met his four month old son, he was “a very loving father.” What would an unloving father be like?
Words are important. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh,” said Jesus. Words reflect our thinking and shape our thinking. This is why St. Paul urged young pastor Timothy: “Hold fast to the pattern of sound words” (2 Timothy 1:13 EHV).
The prophet Isaiah had a hard word for folks who rewrite God’s “dictionary.”
“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.”
It is calling evil good when men call the murder of an unborn child “a medical procedure,” or a “choice.” It is calling evil good when people call perversity “diversity” or “a loving and committed relationship.” It is calling evil good when clergy call false doctrine “a concerned dialogue.”
It is calling good evil when the gospel of salvation by faith in Christ alone is called “intolerance.” It is calling good evil when faithfulness to all that the Bible teaches is called “narrow-minded.” It is calling good evil when the Bible’s loving call to repentance is called “homophobia,” or “hate speech.”
This rewriting of God’s “dictionary,” this blurring of the language, this forsaking the pattern of sound words has been going on for a long time. When everything is good – except good itself – then what is evil? Is there any difference between righteousness and unrighteousness? Are we to believe that everyone goes to heaven and no one goes to hell?
If this is true, then God’s own Son became one of us for no good reason – and died for even less! Then who needs saving? Then call home the missionaries and close the church doors. Then is not the cross itself a macabre mockery? If everyone is “good” without God and “saved” without a Savior, then why should Jesus have even bothered?
As a young lawyer, Abe Lincoln asked a man on the stand: “If you call a dog’s tail a leg, how many legs does the dog have.” The man replied: “Well, if you call a dog’s tail a leg, then I guess the dog has five legs.” “Wrong!” said Lincoln. “Because calling a dog’s tail a leg doesn’t make it one.”