177 – EVIL
What does evil mean? According to the dictionary, evil never helps or reforms. Evil does not regenerate evil, but distorts it, and always damages. Evil is that which is contrary to good, to order, to virtue. The evils of war are the consequences of war: famine, pestilences, deaths, slavery, bereavement, destructions, violence, hatred, vengeances, assaults, plunders, rapes, etc.
The media has published alarming statistics about the onset of marginality, crime, prostitution, corruption of children, drug traffic.
There are two types of evils: the physical evil and the moral evil. The physical evil can be mended, but the moral evil is irreparable. Before this dark picture in which evil in all its forms alarmingly grows, we pose the following question: In this world where we live, does evil prevail against good, or good against evil? Statistics prove that evil prevails against good. There are so many churches, temples and religions—Brahmanism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Spiritism, Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism, and others—so many religions, and evil prevails against good?
Let us look from the Christian point of view, since we are Christians. The Christian theology confesses that evil prevails against good in this world, declaring that it is impossible for Christians not to sin. The texts they use are: Eccl. 7:20, where we read, “Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.” “When they sin against Thee (for there is no man who does not sin)” (1 Kings 8:46). These two statements belong to Solomon, who sinned disgracefully, having received his wisdom from Jehovah (1 Kings 3:12). We have two passages in the New Testament: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12). “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
Holiness, therefore, is unattainable, for holiness is the state of immaculate purity, and so God is holy.“But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior” (1 Pet. 1:15). It is contradictory for God to ask for holiness when it is impossible not to sin. How can we explain the following texts? “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” (Jude 24). “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23). And Peter said, “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless” (2 Pet. 3:114). If God sanctifies, to deny holiness is to deny God’s operation. If evil prevails over good, flesh prevails against the Spirit. Paul wrote, “For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom. 8:13). But if men cannot stop sinning, all are carnal and condemned to hell.
All Christians sin after Christ saves them, according to the theological tradition, and so Paul digressed when he said, “If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:11-3).Now, if a Christian sins after he is saved, he is not resurrected with Christ, and he seeks the things on earth, and not those that are from above. And Paul continues to digress when he says, “That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and you put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph. 4:22-24). The old man is not from Christ, for the man of sin has to go away at baptism, according to the words of Paul, “Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our old body of sin might be done away” (Rom. 6:6).
Sin is a bad habit of a low kind invented by the devil since the creation of man. For this reason John affirms that whoever commits sin is from the devil, because the devil sins from the beginning (1 John 3:8). If a Christian keeps on sinning after he is saved, he is not a new creation, as Paul says. “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17). If a Christian keeps on sinning, all is still old. If anybody leaves sin, this is such a new thing that it seems impossible.
If evil prevails over good in this world, the devil prevails over Christ. Now, Jesus Christ said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18). Now, those who are of the devil are all great sinners. If the ones who belong to Christ sin, they are in the corral of Satan, and Christ is impotent to deliver them.
If all Christians sin after they are saved, they are not different from the unbelievers and atheists, and then salvation is a fraud, and what is worse, Christians are scandalizing the world. What aggravates the offense of the Christians is the fact that the non-Christians sin because they are spiritually blind, but Christians sin with their spiritual eyes wide open. Paul declares: “That the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Eph. 1:18-19).
Lost men sin because they have not been born again, and the Christians sin having been born again(John 3:3-6). Lost men sin because they are slaves of Satan, and Christians, sinning, make themselves children of Satan; therefore Jesus said: “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father” (John 8:44).
The apostle closes the subject by saying, “And you know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him” (1 John 3:5-6). When a person has a real encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, the impact is so great, so glorious, and so powerful, that the Christian, surrounded by this heavenly light, cannot stand darkness anymore, and therefore Paul tells us, “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8). And the very Lord Jesus says:“YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD” (Matt. 5:14).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira