Discerning Between Good And Evil

W. Terry Varner
March 15, 2015

Christians are to mature in life enough so that they can discern between good and evil. Paul’s instruction to the Hebrew Christians is applicable to each of us. Christians are to “have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 4:14). Let us ask a question a recent movie release. Should a Christian be attending the movie, “Fifty Shades of Grey”? Is it a difficult question? Some have argued that the Christian can attend because of our culture; whereas, other Christians argue that the Christian should not be in attendance at the movie.

Classifying Good and Evil. Sadly, the majority of people (this includes some Christians) are against any effort to classify matters as good and evil per Hebrews 4:14. Some reason that nearly all, if not all, moral practices are good and almost all religious teachings are right. It is argued that the right or wrong of an act or teaching is not in the deed or the precept but rather in the mind of the participant. The conclusion is that what may be right for one may be wrong for another and vice versa. This makes each individual a god to himself. If this were really true, and we know that it is not, then no man could ever choose evil provided he thought he was choosing good. Likewise, no way which seems right could ever be wrong. The Bible cautions us against such thinking. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end is the way of death” (Prov. 14:12).

Some ways are good and some ways are bad. The bad way has its penalty in spite of how inviting it first seems to us. Switching and perverting the road signs will not make a bad road good or a good road bad. The end of a bad road will bring woe upon its traveler. God warns all men so that none are without excuse. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isa. 5:20).

God and Evil Are Not Matters of Personal Thinking. Things that are right are things that are true. Things that are evil and wrong are false. Truth and right are facts rather than abstract thought. Evil and wrong are facts rather than abstract thought. This being so, I must change or alter my mind to fit truth and right and evil and wrong rather than changing truth and right and evil and wrong so as to fit my mind. Man commits many sins. Think about the possibility that the greatest sin of this age in which we live is man’s futile attempt to change that which is good and right to fit himself rather than to change himself to fit good and right. The same is true in respect to evil and wrong. Man can never change evil and wrong into good and truth.

The Bible and Good and Evil. The Bible speaks freely of the good and the evil.

Good man (Ps. 37:23)—Evil man (Ps. 140:1).
Good works (Matt. 5:16)—Evil works (James 3:16).
Good path (Prov. 2:9)—Evil course (Jer. 23:10).
Good advice (Prov. 20:18)—Evil counsel (Isa. 7:15).
Good name (Prov. 22:1)—Evil name (Deut. 22:19).
Good fruit (Matt. 7:17)—Evil fruit (Matt. 7:18).
Good morals (1 Cor. 15:33)—Evil dealings (1 Sam. 2:23).
Good report (Philip. 4:8)—Evil report (2 Cor. 6:8).
Good heart (Phil. 4:8)—Evil heart (Heb. 10:22)