Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 11, 1949

"Right Ways"


Many are the occasions recorded in God's word when the counterfeit and the genuine clash. The true and the false cannot find harmony unless one accepts the other—the true must become false, or the false must become true. This has been true ever since the devil in Eden took the genuine words of Jehovah and made them counterfeit by inserting the three-letter word "not". One of the most striking instances of this clash between the true and the false is found in Acts thirteen.

Probably Paul was never more intensely earnest than when he met a false prophet named Bar-(son of) Jesus at Paphos when he, Barnabas, and Mark were on their first journey for the preaching of the gospel They were in the capitol of the island of Cyprus and the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, had sent for them to come and tell him of God's word. Luke calls Sergius a prudent man. This is evidenced in his acceptance of the truth when he heard it, and in his rejecting the man who had deceived him into thinking he was a prophet of God.

The sorcerer was fortunate to be in the employ of the high official; he was not going to surrender his position without a struggle. No doubt he used all the persuasive wiles at his command to induce his employer to ignore these "wandering Jews." But Paul was not one to accept defeat easily. He set his eyes on the deceiver and spoke one of the most denunciatory passages in all the Bible — if not in all literature itself. He told this man that he was the son of the devil. His actual words were, "0 full of all guile and villainy, thou son of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?"

"Right ways" of the Lord! It is just a little adjective with which Paul describes the ways of the Lord, but it is so stable and sure and definite. The ways of the Lord were right then; they are right now. Isaiah says that those "ways " are not man's ways; but, even so, Paul says they are right. There are those who tell us today that there are no such things as right and wrong, good and evil; that these are only relative terms. But Paul did not know this theory; or, if he did know it, he did not believe it. He knew some things are right and some are wrong. He knew that both truth and error, the genuine and the counterfeit, existed. Through much sacrifice, sufferings both mental and physical, and through many heartaches he had learned that the only right ways are those of the Lord. Because Paul knew this as a fact, he was able to have a glorious assurance through every kind of peril and every kind of suffering. When terrible choices confronted him, he hesitated not for one moment to choose the "right ways" of the Lord; for he knew that in the final analysis these ways were the only ones that would bring happiness and blessings.

Good and evil will clash as long as time lasts. There will be right and wrong as long as man has the power to choose. And the Lord's ways will always be the right ways. It would be pleasant, perhaps, to drift through life on flowery beds of ease, to meet no resistance and no opposition; but such a life would never develop either character or strength. There must always be choices; man must always have the possibility of making up his mind to serve the Lord rather than Satan.

When we are confronted with a great decision to be made, when good beckons with a stern and unyielding demand, and evil lures on with a tantalizing appeal, remember that the Lord's ways are right — and all other ways are necessarily wrong.

—A. T. R.