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Evil

I need to know about evil. I need to know how to recognize it. Jesus challenges me to recognize it in my own life. Really? Me? Evil?

Well … one day Jesus addressed the apostle Peter by saying “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

Jesus said of disciples, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”

When I do wrong to others or God, I am committing evil. Jesus said that simple things like “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.

Evil is usually thought of as that which is morally wrong, sinful, or wicked; however, the word evil can also refer to anything that causes harm, with or without the moral dimension. The word is used both ways in the Bible.

Anything that contradicts the holy nature of God is evil (see Psalm 51:4). On the flip side, any disaster, tragedy, or calamity can also be called an “evil” (see 1 Kings 17:20, KJV).

But wait … there is good news!

From Paul we hear: “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.” | Colossians 3:5

Jesus has paid the price to redeem us. I can change my mind (aka repent) and live a life of grace and peace.

Again from Paul: “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” | 2 Timothy 4:18

Of course the apostle John says “We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him.” | 1 John 5:18

Evil — What is it? Why does God oppose it?

Evil behavior includes sin committed against other people (murder, theft, adultery) and evil committed against God (unbelief, idolatry, blasphemy). From the disobedience in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9) to the wickedness of Babylon the Great (Revelation 18:2), the Bible speaks of the fact of evil, and man is held responsible for the evil he commits: “The one who sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:20).

Consider the apostle John. “The one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8

  • Matthew 21:12–13  — And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a robbers’ den.”
  • Exodus 4:24  — Now it came about at the lodging place on the way that the Master met him and sought to put him to death.
  • Leviticus 20:3  — ‘I will also set My face against that man and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given some of his offspring to Molech, so as to defile My sanctuary and to profane My holy name.
  • Leviticus 26:14–17  — ‘But if you do not obey Me and do not carry out all these commandments, if, instead, you reject My statutes, and if your soul abhors My ordinances so as not to carry out all My commandments, and so break My covenant, I, in turn, will do this to you: I will appoint over you a sudden terror, consumption and fever that will waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away; also, you will sow your seed uselessly, for your enemies will eat it up. ‘I will set My face against you so that you will be struck down before your enemies; and those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee when no one is pursuing you.
  • Numbers 22:22  — But God was angry because he was going, and the angel of the Master took his stand in the way as an adversary against him. Now he was riding on his donkey and his two servants were with him.
  • Malachi 3:2–5  — “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. “He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Master offerings in righteousness. “Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Master as in the days of old and as in former years. “Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,” says the Master of hosts.
  • James 4:6  — But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
  • 1 Peter 5:5  — You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
  • Revelation 2:16  — ‘Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.