Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.Romans 16:19
The phrase of good and evil takes us back to the Garden of Eden and the fall of mankind. Both Eve and Adam did the opposite of what Paul prescribes in the verse above. They were not wise about what is good. They were not innocent about what is evil. Instead of active obedience, they chose to go their own way where they thought they would find themselves to “be like God, knowing good and evil”(Genesis 3: 5).
It didn’t quite work out the way they anticipated, did it?
So Paul encouraged the Romans to seek out the good and avoid the evil at all costs. Notice that both phrases include positive actions.
Be wise about what is good suggests that we are to be proactive in our pursuit of the kind of life that is good. Good decisions. Good for us. Good for the people around us.
Be innocent about what is evil speaks to a level of purity in our pursuits – the way we live and interact with others would give no hint of the pursuit of evil.
J.B. Phillips paraphrased the verse above this way –
“I want to see you experts in good, and not even beginners in evil.”
Sums it up nicely, don’t you think? Have a great Monday!