1 Thessalonians 5:22
“Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
When it comes to sin, nobody is able to handle it. One of the mistakes that many people make is that they believe they are strong enough to handle sin only to find themselves succumbing to the sin they thought they could handle. God knew the power of sin’s temptation when He dealt with the restoration of the fallen believer. God tells those who help to restore a fallen believer in Galatians 6:1 to consider “thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” I find in the Scriptures that there are three ways that you are to handle sin that I would like to point out to you.
First, you are to abstain from sin. The verse above says to “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” The word “abstain” means to restrain yourself from doing sin. In other words, God is telling you that you are going to have to tell yourself, “No.” God goes even further than just telling you to abstain from it, but He tells you to abstain from where evil appears. In other words, God is telling you that you have to tell yourself not to go to where you know sin happens.
Second, you are to flee from sin. 1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee fornication.” God says in 2 Timothy 2:22, “Flee also youthful lusts…” God says again in 1 Corinthians 10:14, “…flee from idolatry.” One would think from these verses that God wants you to get away from sin as quickly as you can. When God says to “flee,” He is saying that you need to run from sin. He is saying that you don’t need to wait to see if you can handle it, but you need to immediately get away from it when it appears.
Third, you are not to touch sin. Colossians 2:21 says, “Touch not; taste not; handle not;” God knows that if you never touch sin that you will never pick it up, and He knows that if you never pick it up that you will never partake of it. God’s love for the believer is evident in that He tries to keep you as far away from sin as He can.
There are a few thoughts that we must keep in mind with God’s advice concerning the handling of sin. First, the safest distance from sin is to stay as far away from it as you can. You can’t be around sin without it eventually luring you in to do it. I hate snakes with a passion, and because of that, I stay as far away from them as I can. I stay away from them because I don’t want to get comfortable with them. I’m afraid too many believers want to get comfortable with sin to their own detriment. You can’t spend time around sin without becoming cozy with it, and you will eventually commit the sin with which you become comfortable being around.
Second, the line has always been crossed by those who play and walk by the line of sin. My friend, you can play with sin, but eventually sin will bite you. Playing with sin is like playing with a hand grenade that the pin has been pulled; it will explode on you and hurt you deeply. Why would you want to play with something that you know will hurt you? The safest way to deal with sin is to treat it like a ticking time bomb.
Third, the one who loves you the most is the one who tries to get you to live as far away from sin as you can. The preacher or person who lets you play around sin is not the one who loves you; the person who loves you will try to keep you as far away from it as you can. Let me encourage you to stay close to the people who try to keep you away from sin.