In a YouTube posting that I am recording this week (seen at proveallthingsofgod) I will be discussing the subject of exactness with which the Lord judges the doings of mankind. In a past website series I investigated the subject of “touching” relative to God’s attitude toward sin. Adam and Eve were warned that not only were they not to eat of the forbidden tree, they were not to get close enough to touch it, LEST THEY DIE. They were to not even appear to be thinking about the possibility of approaching that tree. Note it: death would result of not only eating its fruit, but also of TOUCHING the tree. Was the Almighty serious about abstaining from even the appearance of evil? The death warning answers the question.
Does God apply the same standard for the behavior of His saints today? Let us go to the Book of Acts to find out. In chapter 16 we find Paul and his companions in Philippi, a chief city in the region called Macedonia. Paul had seen in a vision a man asking him to bring the Lord’s gospel to the people of that area of the Roman Empire. Having arrived there and having made a convert of a lady named Lydia, Paul and his companions were staying in her home while they met with God seekers in the area. Each day they walked from Lydia’s house to the meeting place, a route which took them through the center of Philippi. Each day they would be followed by a young woman who had a spirit of divination (python). Each day she would walk along behind them while shouting: “These men are the servants of the most high God who will show you the way to salvation.” After several days of listening to her Paul cast the spirit out of her. The fact that Paul’s action made her unable to predict the future, etc. pales in importance when compared to the fact that Paul was obeying God’s command to abstain from the appearance of evil.
Fortune telling was and is evil, as are all types of occultic activities. It was for this reason that King Saul had all practitioners of such arts removed from the nation of Israel. The Apostle Paul’s reaction to the young woman highlights not only God’s attitude toward such doings, but also how seductive and righteous-appearing they can be. One might wonder why He found fault with the young woman. After all, EVERY WORD SHE SAID WAS GOSPEL TRUTH. Paul and the others were indeed servants of the most high God, and they could indeed tell the people how to receive salvation. So what was not to like about what she was saying? After all, if God used an ass to tell a money-crazed Balaam the truth, could He not use a maiden to tell the people of Philippi an even more important truth? As we will see, the problem lay not with the substance of what she was saying, but rather the context–SHE WAS A DEMON-POSSESSED SATAN WORSHIPER. Spiritually speaking, the source of the information was contaminating the information.
Paul knew that if he continued to allow the woman to do what she was doing the people would eventually connect her and her Satanic activities to him and the Lord. It would appear that God approved of what the woman was doing. This would result in an “appearance” of evil. In 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 Paul warn God’s saints not to associate with unbelievers, for there can be no union of righteousness and lawlessness, light and darkness, Jesus and Satan, believers and unbelievers, the temple of God (saints) and idolaters, etc. God commands holiness of His people. In order to remain holy, one cannot associate with the unholy. After all, as the parable tells us, a little leaven will eventually leaven the whole loaf.
Satan is the chief seducer. As was the case of the python lady, his ways can look beautiful and sound wonderfully Biblical. This is why God’s people keep their minds on His Word when they rise up, when they lie down, when they go out and when they come in. As Paul says, think on those things that are righteous, holy, good, profitable, etc. while associating on the spiritual level only with those of like mind. It is far too easy to fall into the devil’s trap. The world’s professing Christians have allowed God’s command concerning the appearance of evil to slip out of their consciousness. There is a great deal of “touching” going on between the church and Satan’s religious “isms,” sexual deviance, abortion, etc. For example, Pope Francis was recently photographed kissing the feet of Muslims. We must, as God tells us in 2 Corinthians 6, “come out from among them and be separate, touch not the unclean thing.” The heathen are to come to our light; we are not to join our light with their darkness. Indeed, we must abstain from even the appearance of evil if we are to have any chance of spending eternity with the Lord in His kingdom. L.J.