“But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets.”
The word “heresy’ literally means: ‘to take, to choose’; and then can be understood as to refer to the belief which was chosen. The Dictionary gives it to mean “religious opinion opposed to the authorized doctrinal standard of any particular church”. Thus, an opinion held in opposition to the commonly received doctrine.
While in a negative sense it refers to one who has chosen a cultist doctrine, methinks there is also a positive sense for those who use the right and privilege of choosing to pursue truth regardless of the commonly accepted traditions of men – though those traditionists will brand them as heretics.
Of the way of the Pharisees Paul was well familiar, and well he knew that “in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men,” (Matt. 15:9). He had an encounter with God, and the Light had shone deep into his being, now he desired to WORSHIP THE GOD OF HIS FATHERS, and it was esteemed a way of heresy, because he was ready to BELIEVE ALL THINGS which are in the law and in the prophets. It was this realm of ‘believing’, this faith in the truth which set him apart from all other ways. He was now a part of the very WAY, which earlier he had persecuted so violently.
All the Jews know about this ‘sect’ that was everywhere spoken against. Of our Lord also it was said that He was “set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against,” (Luke 2:32). He, who came forth, visible expression of the invisible God, was spoken against by all those who refused to receive and believe Him. Therefore it follows that all who would FOLLOW HIM would likewise be spoken against, branded as heretics. Organized religion has always been against those who would believe the truth, choosing beyond what their traditions offered. But truly we have found it to be a way of joy, life, and victory.