|Volume 20 Number 2 February 2018||
This injunction is a safety measure. When approaching the enemy, good soldiers are on the alert. Evil is out there. Always. In our own lives, the best way to overcome evil is to foresee it and flee it. Keeping away from the mire is wiser than wading through it. Years ago, a bedraggled drunkard decided to straighten up. And he did. But he continued to tie his horse to the hitching post outside the saloon. You guessed it! In time, he was back on the inside, drinking and reeling. He failed to foresee the danger of where he was tying his horse. It is useless to pray “deliver us from evil” while we park our car just outside the door of it. Let us pray for the insight to recognize evil and the foresight to see it before we get there and the will to turn back. “A prudent man foresees the evil and hides himself; but the simple pass on and are punished” (Proverbs 22:3). “Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that does keep his soul shall be far from them” (Proverbs 22:5).
The above article was published in Thoughts of Gold by Leroy Brownlow. How true these words ring out! This made me think of a song that we often sing that goes this way: “Tempted and tried we’re oft made to wonder, why it should be thus all the day long, while there are others living about us, never molested, though in the wrong.” We see others “getting away” with doing things that are evil, and they have no qualms about their evil activities. Rather, they seem to be faring quite well regardless of their actions and activities. Their lives seem to go on in a very normal way, and they seem to prosper.
However, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap, for he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Galatians 6:7-8). Just prior to this Scripture, Paul had specifically told the Galatian brethren what was of the flesh and what was godly. He said, “the works of the flesh are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, strife, jealousies, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revellings and such like” (Galatians 5:19-21). He went on to make the point that “they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (v. 21). Just reading this list of sins almost makes one feel “dirty.” In truth, all of these sins or any one of them does make one “dirty” in the eyes of God because they are evil.
Since God is a just God, He also named the fruits of the Spirit, which are “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and temperance” (v. 22-23). He reminded them that “they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts” (v. 24).
God has made this concept easy to understand. When children are small, they learn that what they are doing is wrong because they are reprimanded, scolded or get “burned” when they pursue bad actions. God has given the reprimand, and it’s up to each individual to decide where he wants to spend eternity. He can go to the place into “the fire that shall never be quenched” (Mark 9:43). Or, one can “foresee evil and flee it,” thereby choosing to live in such a way that he can spend eternity with God, Christ, [the Holy Spirit, the angels] and the saints of all ages, because to the faithful “is the promise that he has promised us, even eternal life” (1 John 2:25).
Donald R. Fox
Hatred is evil, because it continually abideth with lying, speaking against the truth; and it maketh small things to be great, and giveth heed to darkness as to light, and calleth the sweet bitter, and teacheth slander, and war, and violence, and every excess of evil; and it filleth the heart with devilish poison. And these things I say to you from experience, my children, that ye may flee hatred, and cleave to the love of the Lord. Righteousness casteth out hatred, humility destroyeth hatred. For he that is just and humble is ashamed to do wrong, being reproved not of another, but of his own heart, because the Lord vieweth his intent: he speaketh not against any man, because the fear of the Most High overcometh hatred… (Ante-Nicene Fathers. Vol. 8, page 29)
Scholars believe the author of above was a Jew who was converted to Christianity. This unknown writer sought to convince his fellow Jewish countrymen to become Christians. This writing is placed about A.D. 192 or earlier.
“The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Psalms 5:5). “These six things doth the Lord hate; yea, seven are an abomination unto him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discard among brethren” (Proverbs 6:16-19). “That there is nothing evil in ‘hate’ per se should be evident from the fact that even God is represented as ‘hating’ in a certain way” (Wayne Jackson. Is It Always Wrong to “Hate”?). “O you who love Jehovah, hate evil!” (Psalms 97:10).
I am thankful that we can change our character by following our Lord. “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Understand also, we should have “a right feeling of aversion from what is evil” (Vine’s).