Shrewd in Their Own Sight

Isaiah 5:20 ESV

“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!”

Evil good and Good evil

In what ways do people call evil good and good evil? Well, one way is when they lie about their sins and they pretend that they are not doing evil when they are, or when they premeditatedly lie about the evil they are plotting, while using God as their cover for the evil they are doing.

Another is to not call sin what it is, but to change the word “sin” to “I messed up,” as though that lightens the offense. It is to not call adultery what it is, but to call it a bad habit, and to claim it takes a long time to break old habits. It is to make it as though one just burps in public.

And another is to deny habitual and deliberate sinful practices for what they are and to lessen them to “I messed up again,” as though each offense is an individual offense apart from the addiction as a whole. It is to deny one is trapped in sin, and therefore he/she keeps repeating the same sins.

Another is what the cheap grace gospel does, which is what many are following. For, it teaches that God’s grace frees us from the punishment of sin so that we escape hell and so we go to heaven when we die. But it does not teach, or it does not stress death to sin and living to righteousness.

In fact, the most influential “gospel” being taught today says that God’s grace frees us so we can go to heaven, but we don’t have to repent of our sins or obey the Lord or submit to his Lordship. For, they say, that is “Lordship salvation” or “works-based salvation” which we are not to do.

So, they are definitely calling evil good and good evil, for what they are promoting says that it is wrong (evil) to obey the Lord, to turn from our sins, and to submit ourselves to Christ as Lord. But it is right to “believe” in Jesus and then to continue living in sin, only now guilt-free and with no remorse.

Yet, how can anyone believe in Jesus Christ, in truth, and read the Scriptures and what they teach, and then arrive at such blasphemy as that? They can’t! No one who believes in Jesus Christ, in truth, can genuinely believe that God’s grace frees them to continue living in their sin and that he does not require obedience, submission and repentance.

Isaiah 5:21-23 ESV

“Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight!
Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
and deprive the innocent of his right!”

Wise guys and Cheap Grace

Those who are wise in their own eyes are the ones who have devised this cheap grace gospel, which has many levels to it. But it is not that God’s grace is cheap, it isn’t, for it cost Jesus his life on that cross.

But if you teach that a person can pray a prayer to receive Jesus Christ into their hearts, and then you tell them they are now saved from their sins, and that they are bound for heaven, and that no one can take that away from them, you are teaching cheap grace, which is not what Jesus or Paul taught.

Now, I realize that you can find all sorts of Scriptures to support cheap grace if you remove them from their context and from the context of the whole of the New Testament, and if you don’t teach them within the context of the verses around them, or of the whole of the chapter or of the book of the Bible from which they come.

For example, Paul is the hero of the cheap grace gospel people, but Paul taught exactly the opposite of cheap grace. He warned those who called themselves followers of Jesus that if they made sin their practice that they would not inherit eternal life with God, but they would die in their sins.

[Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:28-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-11]

If You Continue in Faith

Paul also taught believers in Jesus Christ that the Jews who did not believe in Jesus were broken off from their covenant relationship with God, like branches from an olive tree, because of unbelief, and the Christians stood by faith. But they were not to be arrogant, but afraid.

For, if God did not spare the natural branches, he would not spare them, either. For, he said, God’s kindness (grace) to them would only be extended to them as long as they continued in his (biblical) grace (see Tit 2:11-14). Otherwise, they would also be cut off, too (Rom 11:17-24).

Paul also said that we are saved by this gospel IF we hold firmly to the word he preached. Otherwise, we have believed in vain (1 Co 15:2). And he taught that God has reconciled us to himself by Christ’s body to present us holy in his sight, etc., if we continue in our faith, firm and steadfast, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel (Col 1:21-23).

He taught that if we disown Christ he will disown us (2 Tim 2:10-13), and the writer of Hebrews taught we are his house IF we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast, and that we have come to share in Christ IF we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first (Heb 3:6, 14-15).

But the gospel and the hope that he spoke of was not the cheap grace gospel. It was not OSAS. It was not that we can pray a prayer and now we are part of God’s family and heaven is guaranteed us as our eternal destiny.

Paul taught that we must die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness. He taught that we must forsake our sinful practices and that we must follow Jesus in obedience to his ways. And he taught that we must walk (in conduct) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh if we wanted salvation from sin and eternal life with God.

Who Acquit the Guilty

Those who are teaching the cheap grace gospel are acquitting the guilty and they are indeed depriving the innocent of their right. For, when they teach that you can believe in Jesus, be saved from your sins, have heaven guaranteed you, but you can continue living in sin, they are acquitting the guilty.

And the way they deprive the innocent is that they try to make those who are following Jesus Christ with their lives appear as evil or as guilty of some crime. For, they say we are trying to earn our own salvation, or that we are legalists or hyper-religious or that we are teaching a false gospel.

So, we need to be those who are shining the truth of the gospel for all to hear, and we need to be those who are exposing the fruitless deeds of darkness. For many people are falling for the lies, and they are believing in a false hope of salvation while they continue living in their sin. So, shine the light of Jesus and his gospel, and put out the darkness disguised as light.

Shine Jesus Shine

By Graham Kendrick

Lord the light of Your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness, shining
Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us
Set us free by the truth You now bring us
Shine on me
Shine on me

Shine, Jesus, shine
Fill this land with the Father’s glory
Blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire
Flow, river, flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth Your Word, Lord and let there be light

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