“Doesn’t ‘evil’ in the Bible refer to the unbelievers and ‘good’ to believers?”

Posted: June 14, 2008 in Main passages on readiness for Christ's return
Tags: , , ,

“Don’t the passages in the OT mentioning evil, proud, fools, and wicked persons refer to the unsaved, and good, wise, and righteous persons refer to the saved?”

I used to interpret my Bible that way. When I trusted Christ, God imputed His righteousness to me. Therefore I thought the verses referring to the good, wise, and righteous I applied to myself. Everything evil I applied to the unregenerate.

Until I found those same negative verses in the NT being applied to the believer.

1. Wicked

“Therefore ‘put away from yourselves that wicked person’ ” (1 Cor. 5:13).

Paul applied an OT verse (Deut. 13:5) to a man in the Church who had immoral relations and was corrupting the others. He was pronounced “wicked” and ordered removed from the Church until proofs of repentance were seen. He was still a Christian, though, and was allowed back into the Church meeting when he repented.

2. Evil

“For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Rom. 13:4).

Many verses warn us about stopping certain bad behaviors. Be assured that if we willfully continue in the way God has forbidden us, He will not call us righteous.

“Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous” (1 John 3:7).

3. Good and Evil

“Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:11-12).

In this verse, Peter does not only quote the OT (Ps. 34:15-16), but applies the positive and negative consequences to the believer. The Lord makes a difference between believers who are good and bad.

4. Proud and Humble

“Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’ ” (1 Peter 5:5).

Peter encourages us to be humble–using an OT teaching (Prov. 3:34). He hopes the negative consequences will carry enough force to alter our behavior so that we may receive grace.

God will see these distinctions when we appear before Him, and treat us accordingly. “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5-10).


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