<<wickedness, sin>>

Evil can also be termed corruption, and is the opposite of righteousness and goodness.  If an activity is evil it does not reflect God’s nature or characteristics and fails to benefit others, because it lacks integrity and is contrary to wholesome, pure behavior (Mk 7:21-23; Rom 3:10-18; Gal 5:19-21). 

Before the fall humanity lived in a state of innocence and close fellowship with God, then Adam and Eve surrendered their allegiance to Satan choosing to be independent of their loving creator. As a consequence of this bad choice evil gained entrance into the whole world (Gen 3:1-8). God allows evil to remain because human freewill is more valuable than the absence of evil. Freewill is an essential quality in the relationship that God wants us to have with Him and other human beings. The freedom of choice to (or not to) return love which is often outworked through obedience is at the core of relationships.

However, just as evil was the result of misdirected free will, God has chosen to use this same vehicle of free choice to deal with wickedness. His objective is, through trials and temptations, to develop a people who will rise above and combat all such sin through the work of Christ on their behalf. God allows us to be tempted to make us mature, purify our desires and make us more like Him, for victory is not the exclusion from testing but enduring and winning in spite of such times (Rom 8:29; 1 Pet 4:12,13).

Although all powers and authorities, including Satan’s evil forces are under Jesus’ authority they are not all presently subject to Him but ultimately they will be and judged accordingly (Job 1:12, 2:3,6; Rom 13:1; 1 Cor 15:27; Eph 1:19-23; Heb 2:8,14; 1 Pet 3:22; Rev 12:9-11).

From our earliest days we are biased towards and automatically practice evil, with our thoughts, speech, actions and lustful eyes all dominated by the darkness of evil, so when we become Christians we must turn from evil and walk in the light of Jesus that exposes what is ungodly (Gen 6:5, 8:21; Ps 51:5; Mt 6:23, 12:35; Jn 3:19-21, 8:12; 1 Cor 15:33;

What can I do to halt evil advancing in our world?

Eph 5:12; 2 Tim 2:19; 1 Jn 1:7). Until we get to heaven, the sinful nature within will try to dominate, corrupt our conscience and break our intimate relationship with God, as does the vileness in the world around us (Jer 17:9; Eph 5:16, 6:13).

When as believers we want to do right, we often do what is wrong because of our corrupted nature (Rom 7:14-25; Jas 1:13-15). This causes constant internal conflict and requires ongoing effort to purify ourselves from everything that defiles, ‘putting to death’ the old nature with its desires and tendency to do evil (2 Cor 5:17, 7:1; Gal 5:17; Eph 4:22; Col 3:5). The indwelling of the Holy Spirit provides us with the supernatural power to do this.

Unless we deal decisively and drastically with evil and wrongdoing, it will infiltrate our lives and caused us problems in the future (Num 33:50-56).  Evil often starts in a small way, through compromise, and increases in both its scope and control, until we harvest the inescapable consequences – if not in this life then certainly in the next (Ps 54:5, 73:17-28; Prov 26:27; Gal 6:7,8). It is possible for evil to gain such a hold that it perverts people’s thinking into claiming that ‘evil is good and good evil’ (Isa 5:20). The Bible contrasts good people who are obedient to Him with those who are evil and disobedient to His directives – their lives culminate in vastly different endings (Ps 1:1-6; Mt 7:21-27, 25:14-30; Eph 5:6).

The Bible counsels, “Don’t do evil that good may result” or even when a lesser evil solution presents itself. Don’t repay wrong for wrong, but overcome evil with good by actively doing the opposite (Rom 3:8, 12:17,20,21; 1 Thes 5:15; 1 Pet 3:9).  Even though others may purpose to do us evil, God is able to turn it into good. Regardless of others’ behaviour our responsibility is to have a right attitude, respond lovingly and maintain our trust in God (Gen 50:20). In such situations be a catalyst by proactively looking for ways to show love and bring about good, through the power of Christ in us rather than just meekly accepting what evil people deal out to you, for God and love are greater than Satan and hatred which are self-destructive (1 Jn 4:4).

To overcome evil we must give God first place in our life by turning from any sinful ways, resisting the devil and putting on the spiritual armour (Ex 20:3; Prov 8:13; Jnh 3:8; Mt 22:37; Rom 12:9; Eph 6:10-18; Jas 4:7,8). We are to be sensitive and obedient to the Holy Spirit’s voice, praying “Search me, Oh God, and point out any evil ways in me” (Ps 139:23,24). Because we easily take on the values of those we

Be alert, evil spreads like yeast – 1 Corinthians 5:5

relate with endeavour to avoid every kind of evil, instead associate with honest, upright people (Prov 13:20; 1 Cor 15:33; 1 Thes 5:22; Heb 3:12,13).

If we fail to choose God’s route we have ‘chosen’ by default to go Satan’s way. When we pray “Deliver us from the evil one” God’s help and shield comes into effect, if we make a genuine request and an unwavering stand, but He doesn’t promise to stop us taking a direct hit from the enemy if we defiantly walk into the line of fire (Mt 6:13). We must proactively keep a tight watch on our desires and areas of weakness where we know Satan is likely to attack and guard against sinful, worldly values penetrating our minds. Unrestrained non-beneficial desires are a trap that can lead to destruction e.g. “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (Prov 4:23; Mt 15:19; Lk 6:45; 2 Cor 10:5; 1 Tim 6:9,10).

It is an insult for us to participate in what Christ gave His life to deliver us from. Nor should we ignore the evils in society for it is when good people do nothing that evil triumphs. God, who is totally holy, abhors sin but in mercy will restore the sinner if they do not reject the truth He has revealed to them (1 Pet 1:16,17). In the course of life non-Christians will be made aware of their immoral ways of living, and either turn to Him in repentance or suppress the truth, giving the devotion that should be directed to God to something else and slipping further into darkness (Mt 5:16; Jn 3:19-21; Rom 1:18-32). 

God does not create evil, but He does control it. God does not participate in sin, but, in His power and wisdom, God can and sometimes does use the sin already existing in our world to fulfil His purpose. Judas was chosen with the foreknowledge of God that he would betray Jesus, but his betrayal, rather than stop God’s plan for salvation, actually advanced it (Jn 6:64,70,71). Jesus did not turn Judas into a traitor; He selected him because He already had a traitorous or disloyal character. Judas choose to allow Satan to use his desire of his love for money (Mt 26:15; Jn 12:4-6). It is imperative we do allow ourselves to be propagators of evil and ruthlessly remove it from our lives, be it thoughts, words or actions (Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:5-10).

See also: behaviour, choice, entry points, evil spirits, freewill, holy/holiness, put off/put on, Satan, sin/sinners, thinking/thoughts, wicked/wickedness.