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IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

Personal Responsibility August 8


Abstain from all appearance of evil. 1 Thess. 5:22.

The Christian must avoid everything that looks evil. He must abstain from every form that evil may assume. It is not enough to abstain from what we know to be evil. The emphasis in the text is on what appears evil.

We can argue that some particular thing is wrong only in appearance, and that is all; therefore to engage in it cannot be wrong. But the text affirms that if there is a doubt about it, we would be wise to avoid it. Some feel that this denies Christian liberty.

Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth, "If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth" (1 Cor. 8:13). To eat it did not appear to him to be evil. However, if his eating. of that which had been offered to pagan idols might cause someone to stumble, then Paul would not eat it. It was perfectly lawful for him but it was not expedient.

People can very well misunderstand what we eat and drink at certain times. They might get the wrong impression should we attend to our secular responsibilities during the week but neglect worship in the house of God on Sabbath. Such a course has, in the estimation of many, the appearance of evil. The principle applies to the amusements in which we engage. To seek relaxation is good. But we have no right to do what may seem evil to others. We must have a conscience void of offense toward God and man. Christ said that it were better to die than to give needless offense to one of our children (see Matt. 18:6).

Many times in the home, parents are not as careful as they should be in their practice and their stand taken before the children. We may argue that looking at certain television programs does no hurt us. But what about the children? As to the books and magazines we read, we may be able to discern between that which is good and that which is evil. But can the children do that? Both the church and the home are troubled at times with what appears like carelessness in relation to Biblical standards. We are commanded to keep the faith. People should have no doubt as to where we stand on moral issues.

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