What is truly wise

Understanding is better than listening and imitating. This is what Paul intimated to the Romans. He gave them a piece of advice: be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. The Chief Apostle explained what this means for us today.

On 25 September 2022, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider conducted a divine service in Santa Luzia in Guinea-Bissau. He based his sermon on Romans 16: 19: “ For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.”

Even today the obedience of Christians is visible. “We pray, we sing, we offer, and we behave like Christians,” the Chief Apostle said. Yet, the Holy Spirit tells us, “Maybe it’s not enough, it should be a little bit more. You should also be wise in what is good.”

A step further

Being wise does not mean being obedient only when someone is watching us. “To be wise is to be obedient, to keep the commandments whether someone is watching us or not.” It also means that you do not only do the will of God because you fear punishment: “You do the will of God not because you are forced to but because you are convinced and trust in God.”

Wisdom is closely related to gratitude. “A wise person knows: Jesus Christ has given me everything. He has given His life for me. He grants me forgiveness of my sins. He has elected me to enter His kingdom. He gives me eternal life. He gives me the possibility to share in His glory, and I am thankful for that. And I obey him because I am grateful.”

Wisdom is also related to humbleness. For the wise…

  • …know that they do not always understand what God is doing. “Being humble means that we trust God even if we do not understand Him.”“
  • …do not tempt God. “We can say to God, ‘Dear heavenly Father, I really would like You to do this or that, please.’ But let us always add: Your will be done, not my will.”
  • …know that they are dependent on grace: “The wise are humble enough to know: I will never be able to do all the things that God wants me to do. I need grace.”
  • … do not judge: “To be wise is to be aware that we are all sinners. Even if I am obedient, I am not better than my neighbour. And I have certainly not been sent to punish sinners.”

Setting priorities

The Chief Apostle said that being wise also means knowing what is important. “The wise know that their love for God is measured by their love for their neighbour. To sum up: those who truly love God and their neighbour are wise.”

No compromises

And to be simple concerning evil, as it says in our Bible text, one must not make any compromises with evil. In fact, we must decide, the Chief Apostle said: “I renounce evil and, whatever happens, I will follow the way of obedience and of love.” To be simple concerning evil one must listen to God. “The almighty God, the true God, tells us: this is wrong. I trust Him, and I won’t do it.” Evil can also be found within our own hearts. We need to be aware of this, he said. The Chief Apostle urged the congregation: “Let us keep our thoughts and our words under control to make sure that we do good and not evil.”

In conclusion, the Chief Apostle said: “We want to be obedient, but that is not enough. We also want to be wise. Let us not make any compromises with the evil one. Since we are aware of our weaknesses, we are very careful because we do not want to hurt our neighbour. And when we do this, God will help us and give us His grace.”

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