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GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF CONFUSION
February 22, 2015
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Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 14:33, "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." Confusion is from a Greek word meaning, "Instability, a state of disorder, disturbance, confusion" (Thayer). The apostle gives the antithesis of confusion, peace. He gives as an example of that peace, "as in all churches of the saints."
In the immediate context, the Apostle is speaking of the confusion that results from disorganized speaking in tongues and prophesying (1 Corinthians 14:26-33). However, confusion is not appropriate whatever the reason, for "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints."
The peace that the inspired writer calls for is that peace that he calls for in the opening chapter of this epistle. In 1 Corinthians 1:10 he writes, "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." In 1 Corinthians 1:11 he explains the reason for the admonition of the previous verse: "For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you." The word translated, confusion, in 1 Corinthians 14:33, is the same word translated, "confusion," in James 3:16: "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." Here, in 1 Corinthians 1:11, Paul says strife (contention) results in, and is the result of, division. He calls upon the brethren to "speak the same thing" and "be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Corinthians 1:10), to avoid strife and division. James says such contention results in "confusion and every evil work" (James 3:16).
Jesus voices His desire for His followers to avoid division in His prayer in John 17. He prayed, "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us..." (John 17:21). He continues by stating the reason for this unity: "that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." Our Lord and Savior calls on us to be united so that the world may believe that the Father had sent Him! The converse would also be true: If there is confusion and division among His followers, the world would not believe on Him!
Today there are many in the world who do not believe in Jesus as God's Son. According to Adherents.com, those who profess Christianity make up only 33% of the world's population, followed by Islam at 21%. According to a 2011 Gallop poll, 78% of adult Americans identify themselves as Christians. Of those polled, 15% of Americans had no religious identity. Why are there so few who profess Christianity in comparison to those who do not? Obviously there are many reasons for this. However, it is certain that a major reason is the fact that there is such division between those who consider themselves Christian (John 17:21).
What is God's attitude toward this division? He is not pleased, "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace!" (1 Corinthians 14:33). If God is not content with this confusion, should those who profess to be children of the Son be content?
First century Christianity in a twenty-first century world.
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