READ: Leviticus 25-27, Psalm 40, Mark 12, Romans 12
A fallacy has crept into the thinking of the people of God and has affected our witness. We no longer think it appropriate to be against something. We think we must only concentrate on the good things of the gospel and believe that speaking positively is enough to overcome evil. Romans 12, the same chapter that tells us a renewed mind transforms us (v. 2), instructs us to think soberly not haughtily (v. 3), encourages us not to set our mind on high things (v. 16), also instructs us that non-hypocritical love hates evil.
Psalm 40 reveals that the sacrifice God delights in is one that proclaims good news with unrestrained lips, to declare His faithfulness, not conceal His loving-kindness, to say continually, “The Lord be Magnified!”, and all this before the great assembly. The point is not that we are to always witness to what is considered the positive things of God – the point is that we are to always witness to THE CHARACTER OF GOD. God by nature hates evil and is against what is twisted and unholy, and a vital part of witness is to declare what God is against as well as what He is for. There can be no good news outside of the context of bad news. There is no redemption outside of the fall.
God’s covenant (Exodus 26:13ff) reveals appointed terror, punishment, breaking, plagues, fury, destruction, and abhorrence for those who disobey. This is the context for His great and merciful patience (Lev. 26:40-44). Jesus Himself used a polemic approach. He spoke against what He disagreed with frequently. In Mark 10:12, He “spoke this parable AGAINST them.” In Mark 10:27, Jesus informs his examiners: “You are greatly mistaken!” Over and over Jesus speaks against what is evil.
Romans 12 exhorts us to overcome evil with good (v. 19). Let it sink into our spirits that flattery, deceit, passive-aggressive behavior, manipulation, fear, self preservation, disingenuous answers, and false identity are all evil – tools of Satan. We do not overcome evil with the un-good of being false, fearful, or faithless. We overcome evil with the good of speaking the truth of God’s character: proclaiming both what He is for and what He is against. We speak truth, truth that is merciful, gracious, kind, firm, strong, corrective, and life-giving. Part and parcel of being for Jesus is publicly standing with Him on what He is against.