Meaning of avoiding the appearance of evil

What does it mean not to give the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22)?

Question: “What does it mean not to give the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22)?”

Answer: Many Christians assume that to “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22, KJV) is to avoid any behavior anyone might perceive as being evil. Not only do we flee from that which is evil, we flee from that which appears to be evil. For instance, a pastor should not be seen frequenting a bar because someone may think he is getting drunk. However, the actual meaning of this verse is a matter of some debate within Christendom.

Depending on the Bible version you use, 1 Thessalonians 5:22 refers to the “appearance of evil” (KJV), “every kind of evil” (NIV and NLT), or “every form of evil” (NRSV, NKJV, and ESV). Each is a good translation. The Greek word translated “appearance,” “form,” or “kind” can mean any of these things. The same word is used in 2 Corinthians 5:7 and translated as “sight.”

Obviously, the difference in translations can lead to a difference in application. Is it the appearance of evil we should be concerned with, or is it staying away from all forms of evil?

One problem with emphasizing the appearance of evil is that it can make us slaves to the perceptions of others. There will always be someone who thinks that something you are doing is wrong, or that it looks wrong to him. So, rather than spending our time getting to know God and serving Him, we worry about the possibility that someone, somewhere, might misconstrue our actions. In the same letter that he wrote about avoiding evil, Paul wrote, “Just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4). Our goal is to live righteously before God, not to comply with others’ arbitrary standards of conduct.

At the same time, we are instructed not to allow our Christian freedom to become a stumbling block to others (1 Corinthians 8:9). We are also instructed to be salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13-16). Christians have been set apart (2 Corinthians 6:17).

Perhaps looking at the broader context of 1 Thessalonians 5:22 will prove instructive. The verses immediately preceding Paul’s exhortation state, “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-21). This is a quick rundown of how the Thessalonians should be living, “in a manner worthy of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:12).

So, what is our conclusion? To avoid the appearance of evil, or every form of evil, means to stay far away from evil. We need not become legalistic regarding what others may perceive to be evil. But we do need to remain cognizant of our witness to the world and of our duty to support fellow believers. We should also be aware of our own tendencies toward sin. Rather than flirting with what could lead us into sin, we avoid evil altogether. It is important not to judge others without first judging our own hearts and motives (Matthew 7:1-5). For instance, one pastor may be perfectly capable of drinking alcohol in moderation and therefore have no problem frequenting a bar. Another may be prone to alcoholism or drunkenness and should therefore avoid bars.

Avoiding the appearance of evil, or abstaining from every form of evil, means to live in God’s light by the power of the Holy Spirit. We “take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). We worry not about the perceptions of others but about the integrity of our own walk with Christ. When we avoid every kind of evil, we “make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:14, ESV).

Recommended Resource: Balancing the Christian Life by Charles Ryrie

Source: Got Questions

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Earth has nothing I desire besides You

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

Psalm 73:25‭-‬28 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.73.25-28.NIV

I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave

The Need for Self-Discipline

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

1 Corinthians 9:24‭-‬27 NIV

1 Corinthians 6 – Flee sexual immorality

Sexual Immorality

12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”[a] 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.[b]

18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Footnotes:

a. 1 Corinthians 6:16 Gen. 2:24
b. 1 Corinthians 6:17 Or in the
Spirit

Think about Jesus more than ANR

The believer’s priority

If this blog makes you stumble or in any way distracts you from Jesus Christ, stop visiting until you re-focus on the only One that deserves your obsession. Please spend more time reading your Bible than this blog.

The point of my site is Christ, not ANR. Please forgive me if I’ve ever caused you to take your eyes off the Cross. My vision is and has always been to make Christ-centered ANR 100% Christocentric.

More from Steven (and two encouraging responses)

“So, an interesting thing happened.

I’ve been praying to God for a wife that would want an ANR with me for the past few days because I had a feeling He wanted me to ask after I heard a pastor talk about Luke 11:11-13 on Moody radios founders week a few days ago. So I asked, and I was specific about preferences (I know he knows what I need before I do, but I still wanted to put them out there.)

Then “seek and you will find” popped into my head later on. Then as I have been looking but feeling doubts about what I was doing, I asked for a sign that I was in His will.

I looked around aimlessly in my favorites list and clicked on a link, and missed what I intended to click and was brought here. I didn’t see that this was the site I clicked until after it loaded. I remembered that I posted here once before. I looked through the comments and saw, low and behold…

It was 1 year ago this very day that I posted here. Feb 11th 2016… I have to think that’s a sign. Do you think so?”

Anonymous says:
Feb 15, 2017

“Dear Steven:

We believe that it is wonderful that you would ask your heavenly Father for guidance in finding a mate. He wants his children to be happy and fulfilled and wants to be brought in to our lives. He, being our creator, knows what is best for us and who would be our best mate.

Best Wishes,

Lady and Socontented” [Authors of second post in Reviews and testimonials, mostly from female ANR enthusiasts]

Dave says:
May 02, 2017

“Steven, a short encouragement for you … give yourself to God … delight in His love and goodness to you. Commit your way to Him, and let your decisions be guided by Him. He will bring the right woman to you … and you won’t have to worry about who or how or when or where. “Seek ye FIRST the kingdom …. “. He will do the rest. I speak from experience… He is true to His word.”
Dave

Steven’s ANR comment

“If God didn’t intend for it to be for married couples also, then I don’t think he would have designed to two systems to be separate.

Remember he designed the male and female bodies and systems as easily as you and I breath. As easily as we tie our shoes. He could have just as easily made it so a woman can only lactate when she has a child. But he designed it so a woman can be induced.

You could say “Well that’s so a woman could adopt.”

Maybe.

But it can take a long long time to induce (6 dedicated Months) and back in the day a baby would more likely starve to death by the time they activate let alone made enough to keep it alive. Or maybe to be old enough to not need it anymore by that time.

As children of God the side of himself that he shows to us is all about love and intimacy and friendship. Not romantic love/intimacy. But Marriage is designed to be a reflection of His relationship with us. And in a romantic marriage between a man and woman the love and intimate bond comes in large part from sex. And sharing in God together.

And from what I’ve seen an ANR takes it well beyond what sex can offer on it’s own. So I can’t imagine God not only condoning it but also encouraging it. He’s enabled it to be possible for us.

Read Song of Songs in the bible. It’s God allegorically expressing his desire to be close with us, and considering the reflection of how marriage is, it’s one of the blue prints in the bible of how a husband and wife should be.

There are no words to describe how badly I yearn for all of it.”

February 11, 2016

The chief end of man

Q: What is the chief end of man?

A: To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

— The Westminster Shorter Catechism

John Piper suggests this would be more correct as “To glorify God by enjoying him forever.”[1]

So if God says “nipples of her they shall satiate you in every of season,” then let nipples of her satiate you in every of season. If God gives you a beautiful gift and exhorts you to enjoy it, do so without grumbling.

We Christians tend to focus on the glorification but shy away from the enjoyment, especially when it has sexual implications.

We must jettison our legalistic approach to Christianity and actually enjoy God as he commands. Anything less is sin.

Reference

Piper, John (1996). Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist (rev. ed.). Multnomah Books. ISBN 978-1-59052-119-9.

Grateful, nurturing women

“After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.”

– Luke 8:1-3

NIV Study Bible note on verse 3: helping to support them. Jesus and his disciples did not provide for themselves by miracles but were supported by the service and means of such grateful people as these women.

My observations:
Courageous women give of themselves to the men they love. It struck me how these women, despite the limited means to which they must have had access as first century women, were willing to sacrifice for their Lord, a man who already owned everything.

Women who are grateful for the men in their lives naturally draw of themselves to nurture their men.

 

50 Things To Say to Your Husband to Make Him Feel Great

Your words have great power in the life of your husband … they can lift him up and give him confidence, or they can beat him down.

Words to make your husband feel great

Your words can make a difference in the life of your husband. We have compiled a list of fifty things to say to your husband to make him feel great. Why not try one today?

1. Thanks for doing that. It means a lot to me when you serve me in little ways like that.

2. I am such a different woman because of the way you _____ (love me, gently lead me, make me feel secure, etc.).

3. I know you and I haven’t been seeing eye-to-eye lately. But I want to let you know that I accept you whether I agree with you or not, and I’m committed to working on our relationship so we both feel understood and secure.

4. I don’t have a bit of a headache tonight. Interested?

5. I can’t believe how _____ you are. You are so clearly gifted in that area.

6. I’m seeing lately that you may not feel very _____, but I hope you know I still respect you deeply.

7. The way you        is such a good complement to me. God knew what I needed when He gave me you.

8. I love it when you wear that.

9. You are my best friend.

10. I am more in love with you than ever.

11. I want to go out with you. Are you free on _____ night?

12. No matter how royally you mess up, I’ll always be glad you’re mine, I’ll forgive you, and I’ll love your socks off.

13. I got the car washed and serviced today, hoping it would just take a little of the load off of you.

14. I’m sorry. Will you please forgive me for _____?

15. It is so cool to watch the man you’ve become since we’ve been married.

16. I’m proud of you.

17. What would sound great for dinner tonight?

18 I forgive you. And I won’t bring this up again, okay?

19. Got a minute? There’s something I want to show you in the bedroom.

20. You handled that incredibly well.

21. You’re right.

22. Got your favorite snack at the grocery store!

23. Just wanted to let you know I’m praying for you.

24. I trust you.

25. Let’s put the kids to bed early.

26. Go ahead and sleep in tomorrow.

27. I had no idea you could do that! You continue to impress me.

28. What do you think?

29. Can I give you a massage?

30. I love being around you.

31. To the kids: I love your dad so much. He is so _____.

32. I got a babysitter tonight!

33. I think you have so much to offer, and I can see it in the ways you _____.

34. I’m so glad you’re home.

35. Do you feel like I’m understanding you?

36. I saw this at the store, and it made me think of you.

37. I love doing _____ with you.

38. You are one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten. I am so humbled God gave me you.

39. I stayed within the budget this month!

40. You and me this evening: Game on.

41. I got tickets!

42. Mind if I hold your hand?

43. I made your favorite _____.

44. Why don’t you take the night off? I’ve got the kids.

45. You are so well-disciplined in _____.

46. You still take my breath away.

47. I miss you. Have a great time!

48. Our kids are so blessed to have a dad like you. I love the way you _____ them.

49. You make me so happy just by being you.

50. I love you so much.

 

Source: familylife.com

Jesus Comforts His Disciples

Jesus Comforts His Disciples

1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God a ; believe also in me.2My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Jesus the Way to the Father

5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

6Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really know me, you will know b my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

8Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

9Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.12Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

15“If you love me, keep my commands. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be c in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

22Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

23Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

25“All this I have spoken while still with you. 26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

28“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

“Come now; let us leave.


Footnotes:
a 1 Or Believe in God
b 7 Some manuscripts If you really knew me, you would know
c 17 Some early manuscripts and is

Adam knew Eve his wife

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.”

– Genesis 4:1

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren.

– Romans 8:29 (NASB)

 

Similar to “satisfy” in Proverbs 5:19, the Hebrew word translated “know” in our English Bibles carries a much deeper meaning in both the Hebrew and Greek. “Yada” means to know someone very intimately. A systematic theology of “knowing” a person reveals it almost always means to be sexually or relationally intimate, “possessing a personal intimacy and affection,” (Monergism) or have an intimate foreknowledge of the person, as in predestination. Consider these verses:

“Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.”

– Genesis 4:17

 
“And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him”

– Genesis 4:25

 

“For I have chosen [known] him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”

– Genesis 18:19

 

“And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.”

– Genesis 19:5

 

“Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man.”

– Genesis 19:8

 

“The young woman was very attractive in appearance, a maiden whom no man had known. She went down to the spring and filled her jar and came up.”

– Genesis 24:16

 

“He said to them, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?” They said, “We know him.”

– Genesis 29:5

 

“As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “By the man to whom these belong, I am pregnant.” And she said, “Please identify whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff.” Then Judah identified them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her again.”

– Genesis 38:25-26

 

“Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, “Make everyone go out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers.”

– Genesis 45:1

 

“Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.”

– Exodus 1:8

 

“But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.”

– Exodus 5:2

“I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty,a but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them. … I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”

– Exodus 6:3, 7

 

“Moses said to the LORD, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.”

– Exodus 33:12-13

 

“the oracle of him who hears the words of God, and knows the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the vision of the Almighty, falling down with his eyes uncovered:”

– Numbers 24:16

 

“Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him keep alive for yourselves … and 32,000 persons in all, women who had not known man by lying with him.”

– Numbers 31:17-18, 35

 

“a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you have heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the sons of Anak?’ … You have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.”

– Deuteronomy 9:2, 24

 

“and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.”

– Deuteronomy 11:28

 

“And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face”

– Deuteronomy 34:10

 

“And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel.”

– Judges 2:10

 

“And at the end of two months, she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow that he had made. She had never known a man, and it became a custom in Israel that the daughters of Israel went year by year to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year.”

– Judges 11:39-40

 

“As they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, worthless fellows, surrounded the house, beating on the door. And they said to the old man, the master of the house, “Bring out the man who came into your house, that we may know him.” And the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brothers, do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not do this vile thing. Behold, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine. Let me bring them out now. Violate them and do with them what seems good to you, but against this man do not do this outrageous thing.” But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and made her go out to them. And they knew her and abused her all night until the morning. And as the dawn began to break, they let her go.”

– Judges 19:22-25

 

“This is what you shall do: every male and every woman that has lain with [known] a male you shall devote to destruction.” And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead 400 young virgins who had not known a man by lying with him, and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.”

– Judges 21:11-12

 

“They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the LORD.”

– 1 Samuel 1:19-20

 

“Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the LORD.”

– 1 Samuel 2:12

 

“Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.”

– 1 Samuel 3:7

 

“And when all who knew him previously saw how he prophesied with the prophets, the people said to one another, “What has come over the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?”

– 1 Samuel 10:11

 

“And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord GOD! Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it.”

– 2 Samuel 7:20-21

According to Bible Hub, the five meanings or explanations of “know” in the Old Testament are:

1. a. know, learn to know, good and evil

b. perceive.

c. perceive and see.

d. discriminate, distinguish.

e. know by experience

f. recognise, admit, acknowledge, confess

g. consider

h. not know

2. know a person, be acquainted with

3. know a person carnally, of sexual intercourse, followed by accusative: man subject Genesis 4:1,17,25; Genesis 24:16; Genesis 38:26 (all J), 1 Samuel 1:19; Judges 19:25; 1 Kings 1:4; woman subject Genesis 19:8 (J), Numbers 31:17,18,35 (all P), Judges 11:39; יֹדַעַת מִשְׁכַּב זָכָר Judges 21:11; לֹא יָ˜דְעָה אִישׁ לְמִשְׁכַּב זָכָר Judges 21:12; man subject and object (of sodomy) Genesis 19:5 (J), Judges 19:22.

4. a. know how to do a thing, be able to do it

b. be skilful

5. absolute have knowledge, be wise

As we have just seen, “knowing” a person in the Bible often carries much richer meaning than mere intellectual awareness. When we’re told Adam “knew” his wife, the Bible isn’t simply being sexually reticent. It’s precisely because sex involves knowing someone on an extremely intimate level that the word “yada” was used, and it’s the same word used to describe God’s foreknowledge of those whom he would save (Romans 8:29). Just knowing that God’s foreknowledge, forelove and election of a sinner like me somehow parallels my future intimate knowledge of my future wife absolutely blows my mind.

By drinking my wife’s breast milk, I’d be knowing her on a much deeper level. Her nutrition, state of health and wellbeing would speak volumes and sing their song through her milk.

I even imagine being so in tune to her that should anything go wrong, I’d probably be able to tell before she could. She’d have an early warning system built into her marriage.

It’s worth repeating that sexual intimacy with your spouse and drinking/feeding breast milk mirrors the foreknowledge, forelove and choosing, and deep intimate knowledge God has with the believer, because the same word is used to describe these affections.

References/Further Reading:

Two views on foreknowledge|Monergism

Dr. Daniel Akin – A Theology for the Church (Google books preview)