by Mike Ratliff
1 Ὁ δὲ Σαῦλος ἔτι ἐμπνέων ἀπειλῆς καὶ φόνου εἰς τοὺς μαθητὰς τοῦ κυρίου, προσελθὼν τῷ ἀρχιερεῖ 2 ᾐτήσατο παρʼ αὐτοῦ ἐπιστολὰς εἰς Δαμασκὸν πρὸς τὰς συναγωγάς, ὅπως ἐάν τινας εὕρῃ τῆς ὁδοῦ ὄντας, ἄνδρας τε καὶ γυναῖκας, δεδεμένους ἀγάγῃ εἰς Ἰερουσαλήμ. Acts 9:1-2 (NA28)
1 Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, having approached the High Priest, 2 he requested from him letters to Damascus to the synagogues that if someone he should find being of the Way, both men and women, he may bring them bound to Jerusalem. Acts 9:1-2 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)
I listened to a sermon today by John MacArthur named “We will not bow.” The link to it is at the bottom of this post. I hope you follow that link and listen to it yourself. In it you will hear the truth that I have been attempting to lay out here for the last several weeks, that is, there are those who are genuine believers who will never bow the knee to Caesar or any other false leader, and then there is the majority of the visible church which already has. Yes, I know that is not the politically correct thing to say and many in the visible church think people like me are divisive for saying that Jesus told us what The Way was made up of and that He and His Apostles then told us that there would be false prophets, false teachers, wolves in sheep’s clothing attacking God’s truth and His Doctrines from every angle possible. However, He also said that He would always be building His Church and there is no power on earth that can stop Him from doing it. Therefore, from this we know that if we are obedient to following Him and not straying from The Way then we are His and He will keep us regardless of the evil that this dark world will bring upon us.
What is The Way? In the passage above are the words τῆς ὁδοῦ, which I translated as “of the Way.” The noun ὁδοῦ or hodou is the genitive, singular, feminine case of ὁδός or hodos, which means road, journey, or way. However, in the New Testament, forms of ὁδός are used figuratively 46 times focusing on the course one takes in life. For instance, Jesus speaks of the “road” to life; the gate that leads to it is small, and the “road” itself is small, the “way” to destruction is through a wide gate the “way” itself is broad. Many go to destruction; few travel to life (Matthew 7:13-14). There are, therefore, in life, only two possible roads to travel; there is no third option. Ultimately Jesus is “the Way” (John 14:6; Acts 18:25-26; Hebrews 10:20) to life as God intends it to be lived. He is also the one who will “guide our feet into the path of peace” (Luke 1:79; cf. Romans 3:17).
Christianity itself came to be described as “the Way” (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 24:3; 22:4; 24:14). Sometimes modifiers are added, such as “the way of truth” (2 Peter 2:2), “of righteousness” (Matthew 21:32; 2 Peter 2:21), and “of salvation” (Acts 16:17), The “most excellent way” is the way of love (1 Corinthians 12:31). When we fall short of living according to this way, repentance is required (James 5:19-20).
The metaphor of walking in the newness of life (Romans 6:4), walking by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25), walking in love (Ephesians 5:2), and walking in him (Colossians 2:6) is consistent with and builds on the idea of Christianity as “the Way.”
Now with all that “understanding” of what makes up “the Way” and also how narrow the road is that we are on who are walking according to “the Way” in obedience to our Lord let us focus ourselves even more on rejoicing in Him who saved us and is keeping us. Let us also continue to warn those who are only pretending to be of “the Way,” but are not. Yes, this is costly, but Jesus told us that it would be and to expect it. Will the world love us or hate us for being fixed upon “the Way” as it tries to force us to bow to Caesar? You know the answer to that…
Soli Deo Gloria!