No doubt the perishing world will still call the Christian’s message offensive and ugly, but we know from God’s word, as it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:15). This, then, is true beauty. Sadly, our Western society may still crash and burn in its arrogance to dress up their evil. And no matter what we do, many hell-bound people will still persist in calling the Gospel an evil thing and say that evil is the sassy, more chic virtue for today. But Scripture has already exposed this wicked deceit and it will not stand before God much longer.
Right now in America we are seeing a crazy amount of propaganda from educators, politicians and media hacks trying to dress up immoral agendas in the clothing of love, tolerance and social virtue. To help facilitate this fashion makeover, a liberal arm of our society has actually seized control of the dictionary in a sly attempt to undermine God’s holy design with reworked definitions that display evil as the latest trend in goodness.
Nowadays, for example, abortion is defined as “reproductive justice,” sexually-charged drag shows are called “family-friendly entertainment,” pornographic books in school libraries are labeled “educational materials,” and body mutilation surgeries performed on children are considered “gender-affirming care.”
Moreover, they claim, a man can be a women, a woman can be a man, and that famous vaudeville joke has been reimagined with the hot new punchline: “That was no lady. That was my husband!”
They’re Trying to Pull the Ol’ Switcheroo
Quite simply, the world is still trying to pull the “ol’ Switcheroo,” a satanic wardrobe change that boldly attempts to refashion unrighteousness as a prevailing virtue in society. As touched upon in Isaiah 5:20, the prophet exposed this scam a long time ago and denounced anyone trying to redeem evil’s bad look. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,” he proclaimed, “and who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
Here Isaiah lays out the classic con job utilized by wicked quick-change artists who “endeavour to confound both the names and the natures of virtue and vice, of piety and impiety; commend and applaud what is evil, and disparage and discountenance what is good” (Benson Commentary).
The latest willing victims of this flimflam are the same ones found in Isaiah’s day: the desperate masses who are all too eager to conceal their moral imperfections with the flattering shadows of the world (John 3:19-29; James 4:4). By limiting their exposure to the Light and accessorizing their look with good deeds, they hope to erase the hard wrinkles of their sins. But according to Scripture, their beauty regimen will fail them when they find themselves in the polluted garments of their self-righteousness (Proverbs 28:13; Isaiah 64:6; 1 John 1:8).
Sadly, there are even professing Christians who have taken off the armor of God to join with the world’s consumers, forsaking the holy pattern of Scripture and stitching together a cheap knock-off from the loose fabric of moral relativism (Proverbs 14:12, 26:4-5; Colossians 2:8). Some do this to earn “likes” and “retweets” from fashionable society, while others would rather question the Bible’s clear stand against sin than have to admit that their dear friend or relative is going to hell if he doesn’t repent and come to Christ. Yet whatever the reason, it eventually boils down to someone who loves the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God (John 12:43).
Why are People so Confused About Evil?
The scary truth is, everyone says they hate evil, and yet evil will rarely come to us wearing a screen-printed t-shirt that says in bold letters, “THIS IS EVIL. PLEASE HATE ME.” The great evils of our day are often cloaked in such a way as to remain hidden from common, everyday perception and many times come into our lives as a specter of virtue for the secret purpose of deceiving us. This deception is especially potent when we try to judge something as good or evil based on the shifting ethics of this world instead of judging with godly spiritual discernment.
This fundamental truth about evil is one about which the Bible has frequently warned us. From the very beginning of creation, evil has appeared in the guise of goodness in order to fool mankind into ruin. Indeed Satan, that serpent of old, tricked Eve into believing that transgression against God had its benefits, and she was thus convinced that the forbidden tree was “good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise” (Genesis 3:6).
Many centuries later, of course, Satan would try in similar fashion to tempt our Lord to turn stones into loaves of bread as He fasted in the desert, but Jesus sharply rebuked the trickery and exposed the hidden evil with the powerful spotlight of God’s word (Luke 4:1-4).
The strategy of evil to appear in comely attire, in fact, was always a pressing concern for Jesus and His apostles. The Lord himself warned that false prophets would come “in sheep’s clothing” while in fact being “ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15). In Matthew 24:24, He tells the disciples that false christs and prophets “will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”
Likewise Peter warned of false teachers who tell fabricated stories and promise “freedom” when they themselves are “slaves of depravity” (2 Peter 2). And Paul alerted the Church to the presence of false apostles who would disguise themselves as apostles of Christ, just as Satan often masquerades as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
As John Newton wisely noted, many centuries before the popularity of glitzy cross-dressing:
“Satan is never more a devil, than when he looks most like an angel. But let him look and talk as he will—he is Satan still; and those who are experienced and watchful may discern his cloven foot hanging below his fine garment of light.”