Friday, October 03, 2008

Prepare yourself: Eight Things to do with Evil

This it H/T Justin Taylor:

From Piper's new book, Spectacular Sins, pp. 50-51:

Eight Things to Do with Evil

On the one hand:
  1. Expect evil. “Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Pet. 4:12).
  2. Endure evil. “Love bears all thing, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7; cf. Mark 13:13).
  3. Give thanks for the refining effect of evil that comes against you. “Give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:20; cf. 1 Thess. 5:18). “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance . . .” (Rom. 5:3–5).
  4. Hate evil. “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Rom. 12:9).
  5. Pray for escape from evil. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt. 6:13).
  6. Expose evil. “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Eph. 5:11).
  7. Overcome evil with good. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).
  8. Resist evil. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (Jas. 4:7).
Four Things Never to Do with Evil

But on the other hand:
  1. Never despair that this evil world is out of God’s control. “[He] works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11).
  2. Never give in to the sense that because of seemingly random evil, life is absurd and meaningless. “How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! . . . For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever” (Rom. 11:33, 36).
  3. Never yield to the thought that God sins or is ever unjust or unrighteous in the way he governs the universe. “The Lord is righteous in all his ways” (Ps. 145:17).
  4. Never doubt that God is totally for you in Christ. If you trust him with your life, you are in Christ. Never doubt that all the evil that befalls you—even if it takes your life—is God’s loving, purifying, saving, fatherly discipline. It is not an expression of his punishment in wrath. That wrath fell on Jesus Christ our substitute (Gal. 3:13; Rom. 8:3). Only mercy comes to us from God, not wrath, if we are his children through faith in Jesus. “The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Heb. 12:6).
Great thoughts, huh?
  • Has he missed anything?
  • Is any of this practical in your life?
  • Is there a good way to memorize this, in order to prepare for times of evil? Suggestions welcome.
Pic on Flickr by Claudecf.


byron smith said...

Repent of evil?

Justin said...

Yes! Piper assumes that the responder is the victim of innocent suffering. I haven't read the book. I assume that this is his context.

Welcome to my general time Zone, Byron. While our friends sleep, we can post comments.:)

Chris Swann said...

What about another thing not to do with evil?

Never allow evil to have a "home" (practically or in your intellectual system).

I suppose this is sort of an expansion of pt 3. But it stands in some tension with pt 2:

Life may not be ultimately absurd or meaningless, but some evils at least resist neat integration -- even in the New Creation, where the former things will not only have passed away but will not be remembered.

byron smith said...

Chris - Yes, I agree.