Time and again we are told from the word of the Lord concerning evil and the drastic effects it has on those who perform it. There are many aspects that can be classified under the term evil. The inherent nature of evil is to never do good, the good that God commends. When a person did not do good by the things he has done to himself, to others or to God, he is regarded as possessing the nature of evil. To understand the definition of good, man has to understand the only good one present, which is God the Father. It is always easy for man to practice evil, since he obtained the ability to understand it with ease. For this he received help without restraint (to overcome the good with which God earlier created him). When Adam and Eve were thrown out of the Garden of Eden, it was because they acquired evil in the form of disobedience. It was the first of evil. This is what Satan was waiting for and when he accomplished it in the father of human race, he was able to overcome every person born. Evil has become an inherent nature of man. Therefore, all men became sinners before God.
What Satan accomplished in the Garden of Eden with man was very dreadful. He cut the pure and righteous relationship of man with God and made an impure and evil relationship with him. He cut it in such a way that he would not have the need to time and again accomplish his work in every person born to separate him from God. Though children are born without sin and their mind is as pure as God, there comes a time when they become evil, because of the work that Satan has already accomplished in man in the Garden of Eden. This time is termed as the age of accountability and it is difficult to ascertain. It is difficult, because the evil i.e. the disobedience that has been inherently present in man through the sin of Adam is acted upon or made to blossom according the time and desire of Satan. Over this God does not exercise control, since the father of human race has already sold his spirit to Satan. The signs of disobedience appear in people at a very young age, even at the age when they do not know the difference between the right and the wrong. For example, children when told to not do certain things or approach certain things still do or approach them, because they are beginning to disobey or question authority. This means the work that Satan accomplished in Adam i.e. disobedience has begun working in them. For this reason, disobedience, an evil, has become an inherent nature of man. This is true, because every person born of man and woman become sinners. If this is not so, man would not need salvation from sin, and the calling of Abraham and the Law of Moses were needless; most of all, Christ died needlessly. It is for this reason that Paul elsewhere says, ‘we were by nature children of wrath.’
Evil calls for the wrath of God. In order to separate man from His wrath God began to call people to Him through His word, promise or covenant. Those who believed in His call were separated from evil and escaped wrath. Whether it was Abraham, those before Him or after Him, all are called by God by the word of His mouth that they may be separated from evil. God gave the Law through Moses that He may restrain evil among men. He also sent the prophets to His people for the same reason, but they killed some and persecuted the others by acting in disobedience. Finally, the Lord God sent His only begotten Son and Him too they persecuted and killed. What God is always eager to accomplish is that man be separated from evil so that He could reclaim him. Therefore, by “saying, ‘turn now everyone from his evil way and from the evil of your deeds, and dwell on the land which the LORD has given to you and your forefathers forever and ever’” (Jer. 25:5) he began calling His people.
Disobedience is the most overlooked trait of evil. We often speak or hear of people living in various sins, such as adultery, lying, hatred, greed, murder, false teachings, coarse jesting, silly talk, filthiness, etc. These must be openly condemned and must never be touched. However, it must first be understood that the reason for the presence of these sins that amount to evil is the act of disobedience. When man begins to question the word of God and his belief in Him, he begins to perform evil. Now, Satan has accomplished his work in him. All he needed to do was to help the disobedience of Adam blossom in him. Disobedience is not limited to a nation, tribe or gender. It is an act performed by all men born of Adam and they are all in need of redemption. For this reason, God gave man His living word. No other word effects man like this word, since the life it contains is that of God. If it is not living, its worth will be like a man reading any other word and is still found wanting. It helps man to differentiate between good and evil, the right and the wrong. It gives man the definition of good that evil might be loathed. “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!” (Ps. 1:1).
It is truly a blessing of God and an avenue for the blessings of God to stay away from the evil that is wicked, sinful and scoffing. Where do these come from and why? They come from the men amidst us through the act of disobeying the authority, which is the word of God. It is not only those who deny God that are wicked, sinful and scoffers, but also every Christian that does not believe in every word of God. In these the inherent nature of evil i.e. disobedience still exists. In other words, the evil that calls for the wrath of God still exists in them. When God and His son are divided among Christians by Christians, it is due the counsel of some who are wicked; and it is a blessing to not walk in their counsel! All the acts of Christians, whether good or evil, shall be made known (revealed) in their respective generations that those who come after may learn of the works of God, the judgments of God and difference between good and evil. “Now the rest of the acts of Solomon and whatever he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon?” (1 Kings 11:41).
That which was necessary for the generation of those days was given to them by God that they may know Him, His servant, the works He accomplished through him and even the nature of His servant. The book, ‘acts of Solomon’ is not with us and its contents are unknown to us, though we do know of Solomon and his life. However, the point is that God always makes known (reveals) our life toward him to those present around us. The sins we commit in disobedience, our apostasy, our obedience, penitent life or works of righteousness are all being revealed by God to those around us and they shall be spoken of in the present days and the generation to come that the God of heaven and earth be understood. You might be living in a far away country unknown to much of the world, but those that live around you will know you. God will make this happen for His namesake! As far as Solomon is concerned, there is nothing else to be revealed. His seeking of God, his blessings of God, his wisdom and judgments, his sin, the result of his sin and his repentance are all known to us. In all this, God was glorified and will also be glorified as he reveals the acts of every believer and unbeliever, the obedient and the disobedient, the repentant and the unrepentant. One thing must be doubly grasped from the life of Solomon. When he stood in the path of sinners, he was consumed by the inherent nature of evil. This was the only evil he committed and it led to God breaking the kingdom of Israel, though not in his days. Some sins we commit in disobedience will have a larger effect wherein our home or work will be brought down. If it is a church professing a doctrine not of Christ, it will be torn apart. For this reason, listen to God and how He admonished His people. “Thus says the LORD, ‘Take heed for yourselves, and do not carry any load on the Sabbath day or bring anything in through the gates of Jerusalem’” (Jer. 17:21).
Disobedience of Israel caused God to repeat His commandment. This command was earlier given to them by God through Moses on Mount Sinai. This was a mountain that could not be touched, with blazing fire, darkness, gloom, whirlwind and the sound of the words spoken by God was unbearable to the people; for which reason also the judgments were severe. Still, Israel neglected and disobeyed the Law of God. If the Law that was imperfect toward the conscience of man caused such fear and trembling, imagine the effect of the law of Christ on those who have turned the grace of God to licentiousness by dividing the church, the truth of Jesus and by proclaiming a difference between the Christ of first century and the Christ of these days using the word of God. When Israel yet again denied the admonishing of God through Jeremiah and other prophets, it led to the coming of Christ. What do you think would happen if the churches of Christ and of God continue to deny God’s admonishing from the law of Christ? It will lead to the wrath of God. The Jews unwilling to reject their worthless Law time and again tested Jesus and could not believe in Him. They were rejected both by God and Christ. Dear brethren, do not test God even after having the living, powerful and accomplishing word in our hand. And the Jews said, “Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (Luke 20:22).
If to believe means to reject empty doctrines, why do you still test God? If to reject empty doctrines mean becoming obedient to Christ, why do you still test Him? Testing the word of God to possess Christ is good, but to test it with intent to satisfy your beliefs is licentiousness. If the belief that enables you to possess Christ has become tasteless, it can never be made tasteful again. Your waiting for the final day is not for glory, but for being torn apart. The Jews that posed the question to Christ, do they not know the answer? They certainly knew, since they knew Jesus to be a righteous teacher. Now, do you not truly know Him as a righteous teacher? You certainly know and yet, you could not testify even as Paul and the rest testified, since you are unwilling to reject the worthless doctrines. But, if you are willing, you would testify, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5). When this is your confession to preach the gospel and gather together to worship God, why would you speak so as to restrain the adequacy that comes from God? If our adequacy must indeed come from God and you acknowledge it, you indeed acknowledge that the adequacy coming from God cannot be restrained or measured. Nonetheless, if one has spoken of His adequacy by as much as prying with His power, works and truth, then he has turned the grace of God into licentiousness; the inbuilt evil inherited from Adam still exists in him!
Or what shall I say the churches of Christ and of God have no law? Indeed, they have a law, but it is of their own. If wisdom, power, the Spirit and the truth are not the adequacy from God to them, they do not possess the law of Christ. In everything a believer must have adequacy or sufficiency from God. In loses, weaknesses, strength, sickness, wisdom, righteousness, works and preaching our adequacy must be from God. It is only then can we understand the only person that is good, which is God the Father. Therefore, in order that we do not sit in the seat of scoffers, but possess the adequacies that come from God by keeping the commandment, which is the truth of Christ, Paul in the Spirit said, “I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate” (1 Tim. 6:13). Had not Christ made that good confession before Pilate, believers would not have the opportunity to receive the adequacy from God. Blessed are those whose adequacy for all things is from God.