We read in 1 Corinthians 5 a list of examples of sins we are not to associate with. One of those on the list is reviling.
But what is reviling? When I asked pastors they told me that it means cussing/cursing. Another told me it means to blaspheme God. And that was the extent of their explanation.
Well those are true but there is much more to the meaning of the word. A quick look at the Greek manuscript and where else the word is used is quite revealing.
John 9:28 Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples.
The Greek word is loidoros. The above is the New King James version. If we look at how other versions have translated the word it is telling:
cursed him NLT
ridiculed him HCSB
turned on him in fury ISV
hurled insults NIV
heaped insults BSB
railed at him CJB
jumped all over him MSG
Are you getting the idea?
Now if we then look at the Koine Greek synonyms we see mock, reproached, ridiculed, etc.
One of the more significant synonyms is the word blasphemy. As the pastors thought that it was direct blasphemy – no it is indirect blasphemy that counts. What do I mean? Well in John 9:28 they reviled the blind man that was healed insulting him as if he were foolish or inferior to them. But in doing so they blasphemed God as they insulted him.
When we read 1 Peter 4:14 (NKJ) If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
So as the healed blind man was being reproached they were blaspheming God. This is serious for in Israel at the time this was an offense that warrants execution. (It was for blasphemy that they put Jesus to death.)
So when you insult your fellow man, your brother, OR the Devil you simultaneously blaspheme God. We read in the book of Jude: 9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
Now the most astonishing exhortation to me from this verse is that the English word here revile is not the same as 1 Cor. 5 loidoros in the Greek but is in fact the Greek word blasphemias it’s synonym.
So when we gossip, slander, insult, mock or speak evil in any way against ANYONE! (even the devil) We are blaspheming God!
So when it says that Mike did not revile the devil it is saying he didn’t say anything like “You’re an idiot!” Or “How blind can you be?” Or “Dad approves of me more than you!”, Etc.
This is not unlike when Merriam spoke evil of Moses. She commented that since Moses has a foreign wife that either she or Aaron should have been the leader or chosen one. In her simple thinking, yes she spoke down on Moses, but does not realize she was insulting God. Who chose Moses? It was God. So she does not realize that she basically said “God made a bad choice because Moses has a foreign wife, he could have done better in having chosen me or Aaron, God is foolish.”
In that event God gave Merriam leprosy. This allows us to see physically what reviling does to our souls (that which God sees but we do not see). God did not give her leprosy because he was offended. Though he said that her own father would have spit in her face. No, but so that she and others could see how she is hurting her own soul. In like manor to the NT says to rebuke an elder publicly so that all may fear – he rebuked her publicly.
I have often wondered why this does not happen more often. That is like Ananias and Sapphira falling dead, or Merriam getting leprosy- why doesn’t God do more undeniable wonders like these? The answer I come across is in the verses where Jesus says he does not speak plainly lest they repent. God knows that we need to see not with our eyes but with faith (trust). So if he did those things daily he would be damaging and going against our own needs. Thus Jesus also said “blessed is he who believes and has not seen”.
Reviling is an epidemic in the body of Christ. They have no idea what it is nor are they interested in knowing. I heard one sermon where a pastor said “well, we are not the purpose driven church you know” and the audience roars in laughter. This was a way to say they were superior to Rick Warren’s church. (I neither endorse either church)
This is serious for a reviler will not inherit the kingdom of God. Now some will say “so you are saying we can lose our salvation?”. No. But Paul by inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote to “saved” “believing” churches/Christians that they were in danger that God is not mocked. Being saved and inheriting are not quite the same. They then say “are you saying he will not be faithful to complete that which he began?” No, but he will let you walk away and you will not know you walked away until the day he says “I never knew you” thus it is written to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For when we are delusional God enhances that delusion per Isaiah 66:4. he sends a strong delusion to the religious so that they WILL believe the lie.
When we revile we are killing our souls! When we do not exhort our brother who may have reviled in our presence we are their accomplice.
Remember to count the cost. That for every idle word a man will be judged. That the disciples then asked “who then can be saved”. It is not for sin that God will judge us. It is for our excuses and denial that he must judge us.