As I read this verse these final few words seemed to stick out. Paul encourages and entreaty us to hate what is evil and to hold fast to what is good.
It is in the determination of the difference between good and evil that we strike difficulties, especially in this modern day and age. There are so many things today that are evil, but which the world considers to be good, and conversely things that are good that the world claims to be evil, that it is easy to be confused.
How are we to reject and to hate what is evil and hold fast to what is good when there is so much confusion about the difference between these two things? How do we decide between things and to consider in all situations which path we are to take? Even in Christian matters there is division over what is good and evil, right and wrong, for there are many doctrines taught in the name of Jesus Christ and Christianity that have no basis at all in the teac hints of the Lord.
Fortunately there is a way to determine these things and to understand. It is not easy but it is possible.
There is ultimately only one real truth. Many things may have a shade of truth or may have the appearance of truth, but they are not the truth.
If we are to hold fast to what is good then we must understand what is truth and what is error.
Jesus and all the apostles in the bible regularly upbraided and bemoaned the rise of false teachers and false prophets. Why? Because they did not speak the truth. They consistently and continually led the people astray by telling lies and half-truths, and of course a half-truth is just a lie that sounds plausible.
So where will we find the truth? We have only one true source of truth and that is from God the Father and He has given the truth to His son Jesus Christ. It was indeed Jesus who said in John 14:6,
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
So the truth is in Jesus and it is by Him that we find the way to the source of truth who is the Father. The Father has granted the Son that He may have life in Him. All the power that Jesus has for life and all the works He performed was granted to Him by the Father as we are told in John 5:26, 36.
The truth is in Jesus according to the working and the will of the Father.
So in order to “Hold fast to what is good,” that is, to hold fast to the truth we must first seek the truth which is found in the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What Is Good
Indeed all of the words of God contain wisdom. And we can find the words of God written down for us in one place only, the bible. For us to learn what is good we must learn what Jesus had to say and what the bible teaches.
Thus we must study and meditate on the words of the bible to gain understanding and insight. We must learn to worship God as He wants us to worship Him, not as we might want to worship.
Jesus taught that we must worship in “spirit and truth” for God is spirit. Jesus tells us also that God alone is good and that apart from God there is no good at all.
So if we are to “hold fast to what is good,” we must hold fast to God. Seek him out and know that when we seek Him according to how He tells us to seek, we will find Him.
Hate What Is Evil
So let us look for a moment at the other side of this coin. We are to hold fast what is good but are also told to hate what is evil.
I said above that often it is hard to determine good from evil because there are many things in this world that are good which the world says is evil, and many things that are evil which they claim is good.
So what are we to do? We need to find out for ourselves. We are fortunate that God in His wisdom has provided a benchmark by which we can judge all situations and all things. He gave us the bible and it is by the standards of morality contained there that we can know what is good and what is evil, in spite of what the world considers to be right or wrong.
Let's take a few examples where the world says one thing but the bible tells us otherwise.
Smacking children. There are frequent debates over this issue saying how barbaric it is to smack a child for discipline. In fact in some places it is now a criminal offense to smack a child in public. But the bible tells us we must discipline children and even says to smack with a rod for the purpose of driving out the folly or foolishness of children. It does not say to beat them black and blue to submission but to discipline appropriate to the situation. What is right or wrong?
Homosexuality. In the world this is an accepted, even celebrated practice today and progressively there are more and more jurisdictions allowing homosexual marriages to be legitimized. But the bible calls this an abomination and a shameful practice. What is right or wrong?
These are only two examples where the ways of the world are at odds with the written words of God contained in the bible. I have not put the various scriptures regarding these matters here and I urge you to go and look for yourself and find out what is right or wrong. If you want me to give you the relevant scriptures I am more than happy to do so…just send me an email or a comment.
Similarly in the churches there are many things taught as doctrine that have no basis in the bible, or are a twisting of the scriptures to suit the passions and desires of the adherents of those who promote such things.
Here are a few examples of church doctrines that you need to carefully think about, pray about and study to see if they are right or wrong. I am not going to tell you if they are right or wrong but again urge you to seek your own answers from the Lord through prayer and study and find out for yourself.
- Prosperity Ministry
- Worship of saints
- Eating meat on Good Friday
When you look at what the bible has to say, or does not say, about these doctrines, and when you look at them in context you might be surprised at what you or many Christians believe that has no basis in the teachings of the bible.
Again if you want to know my position on some of these things then feel free to send a comment or an email. If you search my blog and website you will get a pretty good idea about what I believe concerning some of these matters.
So finally let me stress this one thing. If you are to hate what is evil and to hold fast to what is good, you must first learn the difference based not upon what you think, but based on what God says is right or wrong, good or evil. And the one place you can find that truth of what is good is in the bible. Seek it out. Ask the Lord to guide you by the Holy Spirit to find the truth for if you do and are diligent in your seeking, God has promised that He WILL open your eyes and show you the way to truth and the way to life that comes through the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
(Photo sourced from freeimages.com. Contributor not named)
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