How Should the Believer in Christ Respond to Evil?  0

Evil exists in the world

Evil is commonplace in the world. There is no group or place spared. There is so much evil occurring every day that it is considered an inevitable but undesirable part of life. There is also much talk about evil in society.

Believers in Christ are not isolated or cocooned from evil as many do encounter the same evils taking place within the larger society.

Many do not need the explanation as to or the definition of what is evil. Everyone seems to as if by instinct know what evil is.

People are confused and perplexed about evil in the world

There are many unanswered questions that people ask about evil.

  • Why is there evil in the world?
  • Why do apparently good people suffer?
  • Why is God allowing evil in the world?
  • Why does a loving and all-powerful God not take evil out of the world?
  • Is God the ruler of this world?

These and many other questions continue to occupy the attention of human beings.

The many reasons proffered as both the causes of, and the solutions of evil reflect the diversity of human opinions as to what evil is.

Some blame the church and that is not limited to unbelievers. Some believers claim that evil is prevalent in society because believers in Christ had not and are not doing their duty to society.

The explanation goes thus “If believers in Christ are doing their duty as Christians society will be converted and evil will thus be ended.”

Such simplistic explanation apart from being erroneous seems to forget that evil is not restricted to the larger society but also occurs within the Christian community.

Another attitude in some sections of the church is that believers in Christ should just know how to “command” evil to go and it will evaporate into thin air.

Some other believers are of the opinion that God will end evil one day and as such people should just persevere until that day. These few out of the myriad of opinions both within the church and the larger society testify to the confusion about evil amongst mankind. It should then not be surprising that there is little or no teaching on how believers should respond to evil in the real world within which they live.

It is the responsibility of the believers in Christ to know and avail themselves of the provisions God has graciously provided for them to respond to evil appropriately and it is to this aspect of evil we shall be looking at.

Yes, Holy Scripture give instructions to the people of God as to their handling of evil. And so, to the Holy Scripture we turn now for guidance.

We are not going to engage in endless debate chasing questions the answers to which are beyond human beings at the level of our current knowledge. Rather, we shall be looking at aspects of evil where human beings have been given guidance.

We want to look at and try to answer the question:

“How Should the Believer in Christ Respond to Evil?”

as they are instructed on the pages of Holy Scripture.

The Word of God speaks clearly about evil

Though human beings may be confused concerning evil in the world, God is clear concerning evil in the world. The Holy Scripture confirms the existence of evil in the world. The Word does not go into some convoluted explanation as to the origin or cause of evil.

Rather, it confirms the existence of evil, how God views it and what the people of God are to expect concerning evil.

Believers should view evil as God views it

Those who love the LORD are to hate evil (Psalm 97:10). They are to abstain from every form of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22). The whole world is in the power of the evil one (1John 5:19).

“Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: He preserveth the souls of his saints; He delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 97:10).

“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

“And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” (1John 5:19).

To hate something and to avoid something means such a thing is identifiable or knowable.

 These and other passages of Holy Scripture tell us that the people of God can know and identify evil.

Do not be surprised by the truth that believers in Christ have the capacity and ability to do or engage in evil.

 Therefore, believers are commanded not to under any circumstance do or engage in evil. So, believers should not do evil because God forbids them from doing it.

All are inclined to and vulnerable to evil

Often when people talk of evil, they think in terms of some devastating event like a tornado, a tsunami, and earthquake and other such natural disasters. However, according to Holy Scripture, evil in the main has to do with the personality referred to by various names as Satan, the devil, the adversary and many more, and mankind whose heart has evil ingrained in it.

As the Lord Himself said:

“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5).

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).  

Evil is the tendency of humans to do that which is contrary to the will of God. Both the tendency and the actions themselves are evil.

 One can never fault God’s damning assessment of humans. But it is not all doom and gloom for the merciful God made the plan for the salvation of mankind.

Check before you absolve yourself

Do not be complacent about evil. While some see evil in what others are doing, they do not see evil in what they themselves are doing. Even when a person engages in similar behaviour as those he condemns for a similar evil behaviour, he still will try to deny or justify his own evil acts. Hence, the admonition of the lord,

“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5).

This is one command many continue to violate as they cover up or ignore their own evil deeds while condemning vociferously what they see as evil in others.

Sin is evil and wicked

However, one looks at it, many things that people consider as enjoyment and seek after in the world are called evil by God: Adultery, fornication, deception, idolatry, occultism, prostitution, slavery, giving false witness to pervert the course of justice, fraud, covetousness and many more.

The evil actions of humans affect fellow humans and the perpetrators of evil themselves. These things have devasting effect upon the lives of the victims and those related to them, and God hates these things and their perpetrators. Hence, if they do not repent, they will end up in ruin in hell.

In the meantime, believers in Christ are to be guided by the word of and the Holy Spirit while the grace of God avails for them all through their journey of faith till their final glorification.

Not of the world but still living in the world

Believers in Christ have been delivered from sin and its consequences. They have been delivered from the power of darkness,

“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:” (Colossians 1:13).

But believers in Christ still live in the presence of sin and evil within an evil and sinful world. They are still exposed to the solicitation to evil by the ach-purveyor of evil himself, that is, Satan. He is ably aided by the inimitable duo of the world with its blinking alure, and the flesh with its never-to-be-satisfied ravenous appetite.

True believers in Christ recognise the existence of evil in the world in which they live. It is within this evil world that believers in Christ are undergoing continuing sanctification as they work out their own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). As they eagerly await the Second Coming of the Lord, God has made provision for how the believers are to respond to evil in the world.

Believers are not to perpetrate evil

The Holy Scripture refer to evil with a diversity of terms and ways. God hates those who do evil and will ultimately destroy them. To have a heart that does not believe in God is sinful. Hence, evil heart of unbelief (Hebrews 3:12).

It is clear from the pages of Holy Scripture that the believer should not be the perpetrator of evil. He is not to engage in, aid or abet evil in any form (cf. Proverbs 4:14, 27; Romans 12:9; Ephesians 4:27). He is not to even bid the evil doer good speed (2 John 9-11).

“Enter not into the path of the wicked, And go not in the way of evil men.” (Proverbs 4:14).

“Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: Remove thy foot from evil.” (Proverbs 4:27).

“Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” (Romans 12:9).

“Neither give place to the devil.” (Ephesians 4:27).

“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (2 John 9-11).

Be that as it may, the believer still lives in a world that “lies in wickedness” (1 John 5:19), that is, in the power of the evil one. Though not a practitioner of evil, the believer in Christ is surrounded by evil and its purveyors. Hence, it may not always be possible to avoid contact with evil. But contact with evil should not become conversion to evil doing. In other words, if a believer in Christ encounters evil, he should not thereby do evil.

God will judge evil and its perpetrators

Some perpetrators of evil you may come across: The false brethren, the false teacher, the false prophet. And they abound within and outside the church fold.

Believers in Christ are left with no doubt that God will punish evil at His chosen time by the means determined by Himself (cf. Ephesians 5:6-7).

“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.” (Ephesians 5:6-7).

Indeed we are informed that “the time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17).

What the believer’s attitude should be

Attitude is an internal thing, the status of the heart in relationship to God. The attitude reflects what is in a person’s heart. The heart that is given to the LORD will have a God-honouring attitude towards evil.

Evil is ubiquitous with the pandemic ongoing in the world. This will continue up to the time God has determined to end it. In the meantime believers in Christ must continue to live in this world.

The question then arises,

“What should be the response of the believer in Christ to prevalent evil in the world?”

The LORD has not left His people without direction.

Every evil should be avoided.

The disciple of Christ is not to engage in or practice any type of evil. He is also not to be a friend of evil doers (Psalm 1:1). Rather, he is to abstain from every form of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

The believer is to hate evil.

To hate is to dislike intensely. To abhor or detest.

It is a command to the believer to hate evil in all its forms (cf. Proverbs 8:13; Romans 12:9). Those who love the LORD are to hate evil (Psalm 97:10). The evil doer hates the light (John 3:20). The people of God are to hate the evil and love the good (Amos 5:15).

“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: Pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, And the froward mouth, do I hate.” (Proverbs 8:13).

“Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” (Romans 12:9).

“Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: He preserveth the souls of his saints; He delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 97:10).

“For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” (John 3:20).

“Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: It may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.” (Amos 5:15).

God is light and true believers fellowship with God (1 John 1:3, 5). What a person hates he avoids or distances himself from. What a person hate he fights. So, if the believer truly hates evil, that will make it that much easier to avoid known evils and fight those he encounters in others.

The believer in Christ is to resist evil.

To resist is to exert oneself to counteract or defeat (something). To withstand the force or effect of.

It is an inner attitude that then manifests in external action. A heart completely given to God will be in a strong position to resist any solicitation to evil.

For example, to resist temptation is to withstand temptation refusing to yield to it and to thus defeat it (Joseph against Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39:7-12)). Joseph’s inward attitude was devotion to and focus on Yahweh the God of Israel.

 So, when the temptation came in the person of Potiphar’s wife, he recognised that it was his devotion to Yahweh that was in danger of being disrupted. He therefore looked beyond any temporary gratification as his response demonstrated: “how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9).

Though the believer may hate and even try to avoid evil, he may still encounter evil. Evil has an inherent tendency to seek out its would-be victim. Believers are therefore to exercise discernment as to what is an enticement towards evil and to resist it. The more a believer is submitted to God, the more discerning and the more he will be able to resist evil.


Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7).

 What the response of the believer in Christ to evil should be

First it needs to be said and to be understood, it is God that keeps the believer in Christ and cares for him. Whatever the believer does is to be viewed with that in mind.

The commandments of God within the pages of Holy Scripture are not religious platitudes. They are not meaningless religious jargons thrown at religious nuts. Rather, they are the words of the Almighty God who stands by His word and hastens to perform it:

“Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.” (Jeremiah 1:12).  

A most difficult aspect of the response of the believer is now presented. Many believers in Christ are often perplexed when affected by evil. And some wonder what they should do when evil affects someone else. 

When it comes to practical external actions, believers are to pray against evil, rebuke evil, repay evil with good.

The believer is to rebuke evil.

To rebuke is to denounce or express strong disapproval of.

The believer is to rebuke evil wherever and in whomever he encounters it. There are several examples of instances where evil was rebuked.

Here is a sampling:

Prophet Samuel rebuked king Saul after he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD (1 Samuel 13:13; 15:22).

Prophet Nathan rebuked king David for his evil actions after he committed adultery with Bathsheba, killed Uriah her husband, and then took her to be his wife (2 Samuel 12:9).

John the Baptist rebuked king Herod (Matthew 14:4).

Peter rebuked Ananias (Acts 5:3-4), and his wife, Sapphira (Acts 5:9).

Are you discerning enough to decern the presence of evil around you?

A common question ask by some in such bad situation is, “Oh God why me?” It is sometimes like “It is alright for these bad things to happen to others, but it should not have been allowed to happen to me!”

Or “Oh God, why does this good person have this misfortune?”

However, what informs the counsel of the LORD to act in specific situations and in individual lives is hidden from us. We should therefore have the humility to admit our ignorance as to why and trust in the sovereign rule of our loving Father over the lives of all His creation, especially those who love Him.

Rather than questions that lead to nowhere and potentially away from the LORD, the believer should ask for the grace to be open to and discern whatever lesson the LORD was instructing even through such a difficult situation.

And so, this relevant question:

What is the believer (you) to do when directly affected by evil?

 The believer is to repay evil with good.

One who does evil will be an enemy of God and that of the believer too. The natural response to evil is often to respond in kind. A type of tit for tat.

Do not be impulsive. Do not let your emotions control you. When you are going through an emotional upheaval (pleasant or unpleasant) is not the time to make decisions that could potentially have far reaching consequences.

However, the believer is commanded severally to not avenge himself. He is commanded to repay evil with good.

The Lord Jesus Commanded,

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44).

Further, the believer is to overcome evil with good:

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.(Romans 12:19-21).

Difficult as it may be the believer in Christ is to endeavour to repay evil with good.

The believer is to pray

Believers are commanded

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16).

Prayer is the believer’s hot line. Only unconfessed sin on the part of the believer may jam this ALWAYS-OPEN hotline to God. Prayer was and continues to be the response of the people of God to evil.

 Acknowledge your pain

Do not be afraid to acknowledge your pain, loss, or suffering. Acknowledging that your circumstances are bad and even unbearable is not negative confession. God already knows what happened, why, and what you are going through.

So, telling Him from the depth of heart how you feel is not a denial of your faith in the LORD. Do not grieve or lament like someone without hope. You must recognise the majesty of God and never ascribe error or wrongdoing to Him. You only know little about God and His ways so do not act like you know or have all the answers now.

Ask Him for what you need and submit to the LORD’s sovereign reign over your life.

A sample:

Moses cried unto the LORD when the people were almost about to stone him (Exodus 17:4).

When king Hezekiah of Judah was faced with the powerful army of Assyria he prayed (2 Kings 19:19).

When the apostles were faced with the threatenings of the council of rulers they prayed (Acts 4:29).

When Peter was kept in prison the church prayed (Acts 12:5).

Believe and trust in God always

Above all else and in all circumstances, believers are never to waver in their belief in God. It is not difficult to claim to believe in God when things seem to be what a person wants or desires. It is when things are difficult or challenging that one ought to stand firmly in faith.

The believer should be mindful of what he claims when it comes to his relationship with God. Such faith is put to the test in difficult and often, unexpected circumstances.

Be aware that Impulsive denial of faith in God or acting in unbelief is a possibility especially in the face of perceived danger. Watch out and avoid falling victim.


The case of Abraham and Sarah: Abraham instructed his wife, Sarah to claim to be his sister and not his wife (Genesis 12:13, 19; 20:2). A woman’s husband could be killed by a would-be wife snatcher who then takes over the wife of the dead husband. It was to pre-empt such tragic situation that Abraham instructed his wife to lie about their true relationship.

This took place even though he knew God had promised to protect and preserve his life (cf. Genesis 12:1-3).

Apostle Peter: Peter repeatedly affirmed to the Lord that if others denied Him, he would never deny the Lord. He even affirmed his readiness to die for the Lord. Yet, in the face of potential danger to his life he denied the Lord (cf. Matthew 26:31-35, 69-75).

Be like the psalmist

The Psalmist affirmed his implicit faith in God in the face of danger:

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4). Also see Psalm 20:7; Daniel 3:17-18; Habakkuk 3:17-18).

Again, our Lord is the believer’s ultimate example to follow. In the face of His impending suffering and death on the cross for our sins He continued to believer and to trust His Father:

“And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39).

Remember the weapons of our warfare

So, when the question comes up, “How Should the Believer in Christ Respond to Evil?”

 The Word of God is the sure guide for the people of God, the believers in Christ.

 When it comes to practical external actions, the believer is to maintain his faith and trust in the LORD and not waver in the face of evil. You the believer are to pray against evil, rebuke evil, repay evil with good.

 Prayer, fasting, righteous living that is, a lifestyle that conforms to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the word of God, engaging in the good works as commanded by God are the age-old repertoire of weapons in the arsenal of the believer while still on this earth.

These are to come from a heart completely given to the Lord. A heart that trusts unreservedly in the living God.

They have always been effective and sufficient for the people of God to live a life of victory over whatever the evil tripartite of the devil, the world and the flesh could throw at them. This is because they are backed by the powers of heaven, and such are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

These are the ways believers in Christ are to respond to evil in their world and in their own lives.

You the believer in Christ have been saved by grace through faith. You may not always have all the answers you want but the Lord is always with you and His grace will always be sufficient for you. You are to live in the reality of the presence and faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God.

The believer in Christ is not to live in fear of some impending evil taking place.

Rather, he should live in the reality of God’s sovereign reign over all His creation. God in His wisdom has allowed the continuing existence of evil for His own reasons.

In addition to His presence in the life of His people, God has also made provision for His people to cope with and overcome the vicissitudes of life. He supplies all His people need for living a life that brings honour and glory to God and blessings to humanity.

In the meantime, the believer should live a lifestyle that puts God first in all that he does.

May the LORD show up in your present situation to succour you. May His Spirit raise up the standard against any onslaught of evil facing you and make you the stronger for it. May you receive the grace to overwhelmingly conquer in Jesus’ Name, Amen. 


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