The House of Confusion
First Published (September 2014)
Robert Wurtz II
For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults. (2 Corinthians 2:20)
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. (James 3:16-18)
You will notice in the passages that I have underlined three words. These words are translated from the same Greek word, akatastasia. The TDNT defines the word as “a disruption of the peace.” This makes sense as we apply that definition to each passage. To the Corinthian church, Paul writes that God does not author “disruptions of the peace,” but He authors peace itself. Peace is harmony and concord. Later, Paul wrote to the Corinthians again, saying he feared that when he came to them, he would discover many bad things, not the least of which was akatastasia (confusion/disruptions of their peace). In other words, there would be conflict.
James takes up the same subject in James 3:16. He then adds; where envying and strife are, there is confusion and every evil work. Where there is bitter jealousy and a party spirit (rivalry), there is both akatastasia (confusion/disruptions of their peace) and every evil practice. Rivalry and party spirit destroy the love and, therefore, the cohesive love holding the community of Saints together. Once the “glue” (love) is gone, all kinds of evils flood into the church.
What Spirit Are We Moving In?
By implication, Paul is clearly pointing to Satan as the author of confusion. He is behind the events that bring conflict into the churches. Once conflict begins, confusion and evil soon follow. I once heard of a congregation that was fighting among each other to the point that one of them tore the cross off the wall and threw it out the back door. Imagine that. I’m not superstitious. I know there is no power in a stick of wood made in the form of a cross. However, the conflict had become so sharp that nothing was sacred anymore, and everything was fair game. Once they started attacking one another as the true Church, it was a light thing to harm the church building.
James answers the question when he stated, This wisdom does not descend from above but is earthly, sensual, demonic. (James 3:15) This is shocking. Does this verse mean that people in the churches can move in demonic wisdom and unleash it on one another? That’s right. God didn’t author it. That leaves only one suspect. The church at Corinth was dealing with so much madness that it’s hard to imagine Paul referring to them as Saints. They were fornicating secretly and suing one another with the law in public! Paul was embarrassed on God’s behalf. Carnality overtook them. Should we be surprised? We know that where envying and strife are, there is confusion and every evil work.
The Devil’s Normandy Invasion
We do not know what kind of punishment Paul has in mind. He had already written to turn one man over to Satan and of others who were sick and had died for not discerning the Lord’s body. He smote a man with blindness in Acts 13:11. Why did it happen? Because it’s dangerous to be a threat or an encumbrance to the churches. Don’t allow yourself to be used by the devil to destroy the love and unity of the Saints. Think twice before you unleash destruction upon God’s people.