The present–tense command in this verse is to “continually or habitually be staying away,” which means to “abstain or refrain from, or to avoid contact with something.”
The previous verse had just commanded us to “test all things; hold fast to what is good” (1 Thes 5:21); thus followers of the Scripture are not to be naïve, uninformed, or easily impressed with new ideas.
We are to avoid “every form,” which means “the shape and structure of something, or the external appearance.” The verb form of this word means “to look upon or to contemplate, to see in order to know, to have personal acquaintance and relationship with something.” This exposure is dangerous.
The “evil” to be avoided is “wicked in a moral or spiritual sense, that which corrupts others, malicious, or malignant.” There is an evil that comes from within every person that must be recognized and controlled.
Jesus said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, and evil eye [jealousy], blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:21–-22).
Human nature is neither innocent nor good; rather, it is self–centered, selfish, and egotistical. Only the simpleminded believe man is good.
We are to “abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good” (Rom 12:9). Believers are never supposed to expose themselves to evil. This is foolishness. Evil is too deceitful and, sadly, too appealing and addictive to our evil nature.
This is a general call for believers to discern truth from error, good from evil, and to separate from false teachings, influences, and behaviors that displease our Savior. We are to “be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil” (Rom 16:19).
These commands are the means for fulfilling our objective: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely” (5:23)—-that is, may He “separate you” from evil. We are all struggling here. Where are you resisting?
“Mighty God, Your way is the best way! I want to learn daily how to stay away from sinful thoughts and practices by focusing on Your word and being obedient to the guidance of Your Holy Spirit.”
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