by David Brenneman
I was reading Isaiah 1:16-17 NASB "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow."
Which brought the question of what DOES God call "Evil"? Certainly selfish behaviors come to mind. Thinking of what most pleases me instead of what pleases Him. Consider it well that Jesus said that His return would be like it was in the days of Noah. People marrying and being given in marriage. Life would look like life always had been looking like. There would be no signs to be observed when Jesus returns. The only sign will be the vast amount of people missing globally.
The accident reports will be off the charts. The world will be in chaos from it all, not just certain corners of it. There will be a global earthquake unlike any experienced to date. If we thought the phrase "normal isn't coming back" was the new catch phrase from the most recent of years, when this event happens no semblance of normal will ever be seen again.
What were people doing in Noah's time? Just going about life with no regard for the relationship with the Creator God who was right there, accessable to them. Not even Noah's family really was worthy of being saved but it saved time after the flood for repopulating the world.
I was thinking about that question of what does God call evil when the next portion of my Bible reading today was Jesus teaching the people in what we call the beattudes.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil (there's that word again-my annotation) against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in Heaven." Matthew 5:3-16 NASB.
If your behaviors and activities that you willingly engage in are the opposite of what Jesus taught the people...you may be beginning to understand what it is that God calls evil. That verse where Jesus refers to salt....consider the entire world's population in Noah's day...they were thrown out to be trampled.
Consider as well the words Jesus said next...in verses 17-20 He speaks of of how His Word has come and has been given that would NOT pass away unfulfilled.
Verse 20 NASB "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." Ouch.
Understand that they both ignored the prophecies concerning the coming of Jesus, but were forbidding others from acknowledging them. They were blocking people from coming to Jesus...and we see post-crucifixion that Saul was one of probably several incensed enough to try to kill any who lived as Jesus taught, who were part of what was called "The Way".
Evil can be really anything that might look 'normal' to the world. Evil can and will be subtle in it's creation and in it's acceptance. Evil can be whatever is necessary to break the fellowship and relationship with Jesus. It will disguise itself as what's good, honorable, and just at times...by the world's definitions of those words..not God's definition of those words. It will be looking so normal that nothing will be apparent in just how wrong it is.
Christian's will be tempted to cozy up to the world. Essentialy they will be tempted to use their forgiveness in Christ Jesus as a free pass to engage in the evil that the world 'enjoys'. Whole religions inspired by Satan revolve around this very idea. We're not to stay in the sinful state we were in when we came to Christ to be saved. We're to PUT OFF the old self and PUT ON the new in Christ Jesus. To intentionally leave evil and it's practices behind us and engage in an intimate relationship with Jesus, the Savior of our souls.
In the New Testament we're warned of being aware of false teachers within the professing Church.
We're warned in the Bible to beware of those who call evil good and good evil.
The temptation is to stick our heads in the sand and try to 'stay off the radar' in life until we die. Hoping not to attract the attention of Satan or his minions.
The problem with that is we have our own sin nature that WILL ALWAYS rear it's ugly head and cause us to sin anyway. We're born in sin and we come to Christ to be saved, to be washed of all unrighteousness, to have our sins cast as far as the east is from the west.
We are at war. War with our sin nature. War with the sin that's in the world. Satan was indeed defeated when Jesus came out of that grave, but we who are alive are still at war with him until either Jesus returns or calls us home. We WILL face evil and it's temptation to join in it every day.
We will face the temptation to focus only on ourselves rather than those whom the Spirit puts in our way that need to hear about Jesus.
We will face the temptation to focus only on ourselves rather than being the hands and feet of Jesus to this world.
We will face everything that Satan's allowed, permitted, to throw at us. He IS allowed and permitted in order to further the workmanship of Jesus in our lives. To make us more like Christ and less like ourselves. He doesn't have a blank check on anyone who is in Christ. I do believe that he's also restricted in the lives of some of those who have not yet come to Christ for salvation because of the work of the Spirit in the lives of those people towards salvation. Many times lives are 'cut short' as the world likes to call it, because the Spirit knows already that those people will never acknowledge their need for salvation in Christ Jesus.
Remember THIS is why we who Believe are still here...as Jesus said in Matthew 5 about the light. Read in the first chapter of the book of John. John testified about Jesus...that the world loved the darkness rather than the light for their deeds were evil. People would lie, cheat, steal, in order to keep that forbidden fruit that provides the most pleasure to their lives than to turn from such things to a living hope in Christ Jesus.
How close to the world are you? How much of what you 'enjoy' would Jesus honestly say fits His defintion of evil? It matters not how the world keeps redefining good and evil, God already defined it and refuses to change His stand on it. Are you fitting the descriptions of how people would be like when Jesus returns?
Are you a lover of self? Lover of money, boastful, arrogant, slanderer, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreeconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-controll, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness although denying it's power; AVOID SUCH PEOPLE AS THESE. (words capitiolized for emphasis). 2 Timothy 3: 2-5 NASB. He's referring to people IN THE Church.
It's extremely sad to say that when Christ DOES come, church buildings the world over will be filled AFTER the Rapture of the true Church.
When people read your posts...when they read your blogs...read your comments to things anywhere online. When they hear you speak, see you live your life...do they see Jesus or do they see someone so 'in-step' with the world that they see no reason to come to Christ?
Such an interesting post today. Self examination is healthy to find out where we're not cutting it in Christ. Self examination is healthy to make sure we are indeed saved in Christ. We find both of these in the New Testament. Nobody wants to be dying and finding out too little too late that they were not saved as they thought they were. Do not let it be said of you by Jesus....depart from Me for I never knew you.
Be sure of your salvation in Christ today. Be sure that you're living life in the way that the Spirit teaches us to live it in Christ Jesus. The Great Commission is to for us to GO and make disciples, teaching them to observe all that He commanded. To abstain from evil in any and all forms.
What is evil? Anything...ANYTHING...that flies in the face of the plan and purpose of God in the lives of people in Christ Jesus. Everything from relationships to possessions to entertainment of every type and kind can be considered evil if it's not going to grow us in Christ or further the cause of Christ.
Remember if the world can't see Jesus in you and you claim to be a Christian...what did you do to that light that's supposed to be in you?
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