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December 16, 2016

Text: “For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.” Romans 16:19

Perhaps the most quoted saying in Philosophy is attributed to Socrates. He opined thusly: “Know thyself.” Easy to say, difficult to do!  In the odyssey of life each of us trudges through to find out who we are. The endeavor both rewards and disadvantages us. Knowing ourselves can produce peace, self-satisfaction, and success. Those who are dishonest with themselves and uninterested in improving are liable to many woes. The German writer  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “Know thyself? If I knew myself, I’d run away.”

“Good” and “evil” are the two most important ideas in our text. (The verse is pregnant with great meaning in every word!) The history of mankind barely hits the road before we find that they are perhaps the apex of the entirety of man!  They were the foundational concepts of this world and man’s life in it. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Genesis 2:9b

Though Paul had never been to Rome, he evidences at several places in his epistle to a knowledge of many of the saints there and the reputation of that church. They bore the presence of evil in the city, but also had a reputation for righteous behavior. The apostle himself daily experienced the tension between good and evil in his own soul, and evidenced it by describing his omnipresent struggle. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” Romans 7:18b-19 Thank God for giving us the Law to assure that we know the difference between good and evil. And thank Paul for urging us to be able to choose to do righteousness.

Thus Paul wishes that all saints practice Wisdom and Innocence in regard to good and evil. Learning and practicing good are the backbone of the Christian’s life, while maintaining innocence is the protection from evil.  Let every saint of God never forget that life is a strenuous endeavor to escape sin and produce righteous fruit to his Lord. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.” John 4:36  Wisdom and innocence are disciplines wherein those who seek the kingdom of God must ponder and apply. For the Lord gives wisdom;  from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;  he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;  he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,  guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.  Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart…” Proverbs 2:6-10b

Frito-Lay had a string of successful TV commercials promoting Doritos snack chips for some time. The scenario each time was someone spotting another person eating chips from a Doritos bag. The spy clandestinely follows the eater until he is at an unsuspecting point, then grabs the bag and runs off to eat them himself. Then they evolved the commercial to a story line of two people sitting, both eating from one bag of Doritos. There is a frenzy and the owner of the Doritos grabs it away and loudly proclaims, Get your own bag!”  My take on this little gem in our text it that Paul is loudly asserting that if you want to be wise and maintain a righteous life YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO “GET THOSE BEHAVIORS YOURSELF!” “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling…”Philippians 2:1 

The thought of dredging through your very self, your memories and your moral weaknesses, could  raise terrors  and guilt from your consciences. Weighing your sins and your integracy should stir you to frame your inner being into growing your  godly self. Practicing righteousness fortifies your soul’s righteousness.

Unerringly aiming one’s abstinence from doing evil and never deviating from the path to heaven will attach one’s soul to its highest estate.

Strive with all your self always to be wise and always to be innocent!

Let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord

and take refuge in him!

Let all the upright in heart exult!       Psalms 64:10
















































  1. Larry permalink

    Wow! That one was so deep I’ll have to read it some more. Thanks for bringing that verse to my attention.– wise to good/innocent to evil. I’ll be sure to use it somewhere. LS

    • Thanks Larry,

      I needed that. I also want to say “thanks” to you for pointing out my improper scripture citation in another recent article. There is a lot of pressure here at this time. It forces wasteful errors and frustrates the bejeebers out of me. Pressure and increasing age and its difficulties I had another fall this past week while engaged in PT. I am getting weaker and I think these accidents are reducing my possibilities of standing and taking just a few steps to get from bed to wheelchair and back later. Pray for me, my old friend, pray for me.


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