Christian Challenges

Abstain From All Appearance Of Evil

1 Thessalonians 5:22.

After presenting the Beatitudes to the crowd, one of the things Jesus expounded on was the keeping of the law (Matt. 5:21-22). In his letter to the Thessalonians Paul is doing the same thing. These people knew that it is wrong to sin, but sometimes their actions appeared so similar to sin that others watching them thought that they were sinning. Paul was telling them that this too was wrong.

This text in no wise condemns acts that are good, kind, honourable, and in accordance with God's holy law, which in the eyes of some people are evil because of their prejudices and beliefs. For example Jesus dined with publicans and sinners, and healed on the Sabbath day - two things that the Pharisees considered sins (Luke 5:30; 13:14). Yet Scripture clearly tells us that Jesus did not sin in any way (Heb. 4:15).

What this text is talking about is that as Christians we are members of the royal family, children of God. As such we are not to say anything or do anything that would bring dishonour upon our family name or upon ourselves.

We need to earnestly study the life of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible, and ask ourselves, "What would Jesus do?" in every situation that we find ourselves in. To live a life like the life of Christ is standard for all Christian. For this is what the name "Christian" really means – to be Christ like.

"Do not place yourselves needlessly in the society of those who by their arts would weaken your purpose to do right, or bring a stain upon your conscience. Do nothing among strangers, in the street, on the cars, in the home, that would have the least appearance of evil. Do something every day to improve, beautify, and ennoble the life that Christ has purchased with His own blood." Ministry of Healing by E. G. White, p. 491.

"We need to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit every hour of the day, lest we be ensnared by the enemy and our souls be imperiled. There is constant temptation to exalt self, and we must watch much against this evil. We need to be on guard continually lest we manifest the spirit of overbearing, criticism, and condemnation. We should seek to avoid the very appearance of evil, and not reveal anything like the attributes of Satan that will dishearten and discourage those with whom we come in contact. We are to work as did Christ--to draw, to build up, not to tear down." Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers by E. G. White, p. 223.

"We must guard against the sins of this degenerate age. We must stand aloof from everything that savors of undue familiarity. God condemns it. It is forbidden ground, upon which it is unsafe to set the feet. Every word and action should tend to elevate, refine, and ennoble the character. There is sin in thoughtlessness about such matters. The apostle Paul exhorted Timothy to diligence and thoroughness in his ministry, and urged him to meditate upon those things that were pure and excellent, that his profiting might appear unto all." Testimonies to the Church Vol. 5 by E. G. White, p. 593.

"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31. If we sincerely follow this admonition from Paul we will abstain from all appearance of evil.

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© S. D. Goeldner, February, 2013. Last updated July, 2020.

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