“18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. 20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him.” (2 Corinthians 1:18-20)
Why do people think Christians are so negative? Perhaps it’s because we are always talking about “Thou shalt not…” We not only focus on the things we can’t do and the things we don’t do, in the past we even added extra layers of “no” around activities because they might, possibly lead someone to sin. For example, I remember forty years ago overhearing a class for teenage girls warning them not to wear patent leather shoes (“Boys will be tempted to stare at the reflections and look up your dress.”) or polka dots (“Young men will be tempted to push the dots.”) Imagine my reaction when I saw a girl wearing patent leather shoes with a polka dot dress! No wonder people think Christians don’t know how to live.
Jesus would take exception to that. Do you remember when the Lord explained, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly,” (John 10:10). I think Jesus would spell “life” with a capital L!
“But there is so much evil in the world!” someone might warn and they would be right. Judith Smith pointed out in Ladies’ Bible Class, “The way to overcome evil is to turn it around. ‘Evil’ spelled backwards is ‘Live.’”
Two words for “evil” used in the New Testament are phalos and kakos. The first, phalos can also be translated “base, ordinary.” That sheds an interesting light on Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians:
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil [phalos],” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
What if we translated Paul’s words as “so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in this life, whether good or ordinary”? If you really want to experience life don’t settle for evil, that’s just ordinary. Be extraordinary!
The second word is kakos. The second century Christian, Ignatius, wrote: “These people, while pretending to be trustworthy, mix Jesus Christ with poison [kakos]—like those who administer a deadly drug with honeyed wine, which the unsuspecting victim accepts without fear, and so with fatal pleasure drinks down death,” (Letter to the Traillians, 6:2). Evil is a deadly poison. I want no part of that!
So God is warning us not drink the poison the world is offering; instead live an extraordinary life! This thing we call “sin” has consequences, now and later, so choose life!