ďEvil corrupts good if we allow it to happenĒ is more than the title of
todayís message; it is also the way the whole world operates, and
unfortunately the vast majority of people allow it to happen.
And with this being the second Sunday in Lent, it is an added reminder for us to be cautious about letting this worldly evil corrupt our lives and the good that God has given us.
In Genesis 12:1-7, we are told the story about Abramís (Abrahamís) call from Haran, where he went to live after he left the pagan land of Ur of the Chaldeans, to be the father of a new nation of God-believing people.
But even as this was happening, we can see how worldly evil corrupts good in righteous Abram, because he didnít fully follow Godís direction and instead allowed his former evil ways to continue to corrupt the good in his life that God wanted to use.
1. Now the LORD said to Abram,
"Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father's house,
To the land which I will show you;
2. And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
3. And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
As we all know today, all the families of the earth are not being blessed.
We believe itís because most people in the world have not listened to or followed the heavenly will of God; therefore evil corrupts good in their lives.
With this thought in mind, letís return to our story.
4. So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him.
Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
5. And Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan.
ďThe persons which they had acquiredĒ? To us, this sure sounds like owning
slaves, which is an ungodly thing to do.
And we should question ďall their possessions,Ē too, because they include many animals who they have been exploiting, which is not in the heavenly will of God.
There doesnít seem to be any real change in their hearts and souls, so that they would have empathy for the whole of Godís creation.
Evil corrupts good, because people allow it.
6. And Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the
oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land.
7. And the LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him.
Even though Abram appears to be obeying God, he is still clinging to his
former way of life, which is self-centered.
He took all of his possessions, including his slaves, and Lot his relative, whom the Lord told him to leave.
Evil corrupts good in his life, because he allows it to happen.
Before going on, let me relate a story from years ago about our cats and sun spots.
We have five circular skylights above our plants and brown slate floor, and except for the winter months, the sun shines through the skylights and makes sun spots on the brown slate floor which becomes warm.
Our cats used to love to curl up in the warm spots and fall asleep, but when they woke up, the sun spot had moved because of the passing of time and the sunís position above the skylights, and another cat was curled up asleep in the moved sun spot, which caused the first cat to get upset, because he or she believed the second cat had taken their warm place.
The passing of time that caused the sun spot to move on the floor is an example of the evil that abounds around us, and over time, we fall into the trap of wanting something that came along with the worldly evil, and we forget that evil corrupts good.
As a result, we find ourselves moving out of Godís love and grace, which is like the sun spot on the warm floor, and we even may find ourselves blaming God for not fulfilling His promise to us, when in fact His promise is still there; itís just that we moved away from it.
So, we need to recognize these pit falls before we fall into them, and over time we should find this easier and easier to do.
Psalm 121 is a psalm of ascent which was generally used as a song of praise to God on the way to the Temple.
1. I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From whence shall my help come?
2. My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
3. He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
This is all true, but evil corrupts good, and we need to keep alert not only to what we may be doing, but also for that still small voice of the Lord inside us warning us that our foot is slipping into an evil trap, so that we can avoid it.
4. Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
5. The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade on your right hand.
6. The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7. The LORD will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
As we all know, evil abounds in the world around us, and relatively few
people seem to be protected from it.
Isnít God doing what verse 7 says?
Yes He is; but the vast majority of people seem to love the evil more than God and His lovingkindness and good.
8. The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.
In Romans 4:1-17 Paul, as a lawyer, writes using examples of physical acts versus spiritual change to show that we are saved by grace through faith and not by works.
1. What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the
flesh, has found?
2. For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God.
3. For what does the Scripture say? "And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness."
This quotation is from Genesis 15:6.
As we talked about above, Abraham was not perfect; heís an example that evil corrupts good because he allowed his former worldly ways to become a part of his journey with God.
This is proof that Abraham could never be justified by works, just as we cannot.
Like Abraham, we can only rely on Godís grace, as when He reckoned Abrahamís faith as righteousness.
4. Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as
what is due.
5. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,
6. just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works:
7. "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven,
And whose sins have been covered.
8. "Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account."
This quote is from Psalm 32:1-2, which we discussed last week, and this is
exactly what happened to Abraham.
As we discussed last week in connection with Adamís and Eveís disobedience to God, the Lordís forgiveness and grace are always present; it is we who move away from Godís lovingkindness, because of the evil we allow into our lives.
Evil corrupts good.
9. Is this blessing then upon the circumcised, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say, "Faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness."
Circumcision is an outward physical sign of our covenant with God, but
without a truly spiritual change in our mind, heart, and soul, we remain in
the corruption of the world.
Thus, Paul uses this example by emphasizing the fact that Abrahamís faith, without circumcision, was reckoned to him as righteousness, because his faith was part of his spiritual inner change.
10. How then was it reckoned? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised?
Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised;
11. and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be reckoned to them,
12. and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised.
13. For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.
This is because Abrahamís righteousness and faith was a spiritual change within him.
14. For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the
promise is nullified;
15. for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation.
16. For this reason it is by faith, that it might be in accordance with grace, in order that the promise may be certain to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,
17. (as it is written, "A father of many nations have I made you") in the sight of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.
Our spiritual change causes us to recognize the corruption in the world
around us through the promptings of the Holy Spirit, so that we can avoid
and not be a part of the evil.
Evil corrupts good in the world, but it doesnít have to corrupt us.
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