|Volume 20 Number 8 August 2018||
Webster defines “evil” as “morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked; harmful; injurious.” Vines defines “evil” as “destructive, grievous; in the moral or ethical sense, wicked; depravity; maliciousness.”
The lesser of two evils. What does that mean? In the eyes of the masses, it generally means an acknowledgment that two choices are as wrong as two left shoes, but one is less offensive to our integrity than the other. This compromise opposes our core values and beliefs. Evil has been sanitized, accepted, tolerated, ignored and legitimized.
The late Mack Lyon delivered a lesson, “Deliver Us from Evil,” on the longtime Sunday, weekly TV series, “In Search of the Lord’s Way.” Publishing Designs, Inc. made this broadcast available in booklet form in February 2002. On page 11 Mack Lyon said:
My friend, for too long we have denied the reality of evil in our world. For too long we have labored in vain to make right that which is evil in the sight of God. For too long we have been silent about what God has said is evil. Evil does exist. If we didn’t know it before, we should have learned it on September 11. Still the accommodative mind tries to rationalize the events of that day as a possible good—we shouldn’t hold anyone accountable for it, because it’s debatable. But how big or disastrous or destructive must evil be before it fits our definition of evil? Is the reckless, brutal murder of one person evil? Or must the number be three thousand? Or five thousand? Or at what number between one and five thousand?
The creation account in Genesis 2:9 records, “And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” God’s command to Adam was stated forthrightly in Genesis 2:16-17. “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’” Satan deceived Eve with his lying tongue in Genesis 3:4b-5 by telling her, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
God condemns all evil and all evildoers. Proverbs 28:5, 10 respectively declares, “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand all.” “Whoever causes the upright to go astray in an evil way, he himself will fall into his own pit; but the blameless shall inherit good.” First John 3:11-12 declares, “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous
In His Sermon on the Mount in the model prayer of Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus prayed in verse 13, “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Jesus also said in John 3:19-20, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”
Romans 12:17, 21 respectively records, “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.” “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” In Romans 13, God’s instructions are marked, traced out and fixed regarding submission to governing authorities. Romans 13:1 reads, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” Verses 2-3 state those who resist authority will bring judgment on themselves. Rulers are not a terror to good works but to evil. Be unafraid of authority if you are doing good, and you will have praise from them. Verse 4 gives the reason for this. “For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.”
Isaiah 5:20 exclaims, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” In his article, “The True Meaning of Grace—The Wrath of God,” Wayne Jackson wrote, God has an “intense and sustained disposition towards evil and those who abandon themselves to it.”
Things I Can Do in
the Name of the Lord
Children (and adults) need to consider more ways to serve the Lord. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1 NKJV).