Stir up one another to love and good works

by Mike Ratliff

23 κατέχωμεν τὴν ὁμολογίαν τῆς ἐλπίδος ἀκλινῆ, πιστὸς γὰρ ὁ ἐπαγγειλάμενος, 24 καὶ κατανοῶμεν ἀλλήλους εἰς παροξυσμὸν ἀγάπης καὶ καλῶν ἔργων, 25 μὴ ἐγκαταλείποντες τὴν ἐπισυναγωγὴν ἑαυτῶν, καθὼς ἔθος τισίν, ἀλλὰ παρακαλοῦντες, καὶ τοσούτῳ μᾶλλον ὅσῳ βλέπετε ἐγγίζουσαν τὴν ἡμέραν. Hebrews 10:23-25 (NA28) 

23 Let us hold firmly the confession of the hope without wavering, for trustworthy is the one who made the promise. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not abandoning to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

Proof that these are Laodicean times, that is, lukewarm, man-centered, not fervently God-centered times in the “visible church” is always found in points of contention. The Social Justice/Woke/Critical Race Theory/Intersectionality corruption of our seminaries and leadership in our denominations should clearly show those with discernment that those involved in that have believed “another gospel.” There is that, then there is the always present so-called Christian leaders teaching a false gospel of “Easy-Believism” (just believe, no repentance required). I thought we had that one snuffed out, but I now believe our enemy will always find fake Christian leaders who hope to build large churches on that foundation of dung. However, if we focus too much on the apostasy all around us my brethren we can become very discouraged, therefore, as the writer of Hebrews says in the passage above, “Let us hold firmly the confession of the hope without wavering, for trustworthy is the one who made the promise.

Let us focus in this post on a word from v24 in the passage above that I  translated as “stir up,” which is παροξυσμον; the Accusative, Singular form of παροξυσμός (paroxusmos). We get our English word paroxysm from this word, which means “a fit or outburst.” The Greek word παροξυσμός, in turn, is made up  of a root, ὀξύς (oxus), which means sharpen, irritate, or incite, and the prefix παρά (para), which pictures movement toward a certain point. Therefore, παροξυσμός gives us the idea if impelling, inciting, or rousing someone toward something.

This word can be used in either in a good sense or a bad sense and we see both in the Word of God. It is used in the good sense in the passage above in which believers are encouraged to stir up one another to love and good works… Let us obey this.

On the other hand, the Word of God also uses this word to speak of sharp contention, or even an angry dispute such as Paul breaking away from Barnabas o in Acts 15 over the issue of taking Mark with them on their missionary journey. The παροξυσμός was so sharp between Paul and Barnabas that they split up (Acts 15:36-40).

We find this word again in Acts 17:16 in which Paul’s spirit was παροξυσμός in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. He became incensed with how truly pagan the city was. Now, think again of those so-called Christian leaders working behind the scenes to corrupt the gospel mission of their churches and seminaries, mixing what is not Christian with what is Christian. This is impossible. It is only pagan and God will not tolerate it, especially when it is mixed in and blended with His name and worship. Consider this a παροξυσμός from me to incite each of you to become totally incensed against this sort of thing and not allow it to stand and be called Christian. When we use παροξυσμός this way it is literally “a sharpening,” so figuratively, consider this a spurring, a stimulation, an encouragement to each one reading this to seek ways to be an encouragement to other Christians, to impel others to do right in any circumstance. We should both look for ways to show our love and concern for the well-being and spiritual life of others as we stand firm against all apostasy.

If we will do this then we will be what we are supposed to be in this world as Christians.

Soli Deo Gloria!