The invincible power of good

Overcoming evil with good, is that possible? In a recent divine service, the Chief Apostle showed how.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12: 21). This was the Bible text that Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider used in Kolda in Senegal on 23 September.

Celebrating victories

“In every divine service we celebrate something,” the Chief Apostle began his sermon. “We celebrate the victory of Jesus Christ.” The reason, he said, is that Jesus was stronger than evil and no one could stop Him from loving God and human beings to the end. He conquered evil and death because He rose from the dead.

We also benefit from this victory: “When we come to Jesus, He will give us the strength to gain the victory,” the Chief Apostle said. “There is evil in the world, but don’t let it defeat you. Overcome evil with good. Evil is very powerful, but with Jesus you are stronger than evil and you too can become an overcomer.”

To begin with, evil is everything that is contrary to the will of God. It is God’s will that human beings have fellowship with Him and with one another. The Chief Apostle said that evil consists of all those powers that want to destroy the fellowship that human beings have with God and the fellowship that human beings have with one another. And, he said, “Evil is everything that makes us suffer.” Illnesses, death, injustice—the consequences of the fall into sin. “And finally,” he continued, “evil consists of all the powers that oppose Jesus Christ.”

Resisting temptation

To resist temptation means to not allow ourselves to be defeated by evil. Adam and Eve listened to the evil one and were separated from God as a result. Jesus too was subjected to temptation, but He resisted it. “Dear brothers and sisters, the devil also comes to us to tempt us. We must recognise him. His only aim is to separate us from God,” Chief Apostle Schneider warned. But when we trust in God we can resist temptation. “Tell Him about your doubts and questions, and with the help of Jesus you will be able to overcome these doubts and resist temptation.”

Overcoming evil with good

Those who suffer tend to get angry with God and then distance themselves from Him. “Even if we do not understand what God is doing, let us trust in Him,” the Chief Apostle recommended. “Don’t answer evil with evil, overcome it with good.” More specifically this means that we

  • become aware of our responsibility: “Overcoming evil with good means first asking ourselves about our own responsibility for what happens to us.”
  • recognise that we ourselves are sinners: “We cannot afford to condemn others, otherwise we would have to condemn ourselves, because we are all sinners.”
  • must be patient: “Respond to evil with good and continue to do God’s will, even when we suffer.”

No matter how hard we try, we will not be able to eliminate evil entirely, the Chief Apostle admitted. “But we will one day be able to escape from evil and enter the kingdom of God, just as Jesus was able to ascend and enter the kingdom of God.”

Inner battles

“I spoke about the kind of evil that comes from outside and makes us suffer. But evil does not only come from outside,” said the Chief Apostle. It also dwells within us. “Here too, let us not be overcome by evil, but let us overcome evil with good through Jesus Christ.” He went on to explain what doing good means in this regard:

  • if we are humble and come to Christ with faith and repentance, He can erase our sins.
  • through Jesus Christ and His power, we can become like Him and eliminate the old Adam—the evil that dwells within us—and truly become and be a new creation in Christ that corresponds to the will of God.

Overcoming evil together

“We live together in Christ,” the Chief Apostle reminded the congregation. We are not alone. We have our brothers and sisters who also suffer on account of evil. Some were not able to resist temptation and strayed from God. Others suffer greatly because of evil. We can help them to overcome evil by

  • sharing their pain.
  • showing them that we love them by forgiving them even if they have wronged us
  • helping them to defeat the evil that they are currently experiencing and the evil that dwells within them.

“When we endeavour to overcome evil with good, we are no longer an instrument in the hand of the devil that continues to do evil and increase it in the world, but we become witnesses for Jesus Christ and prove to the world that no one is obliged to do evil—and that thanks to Jesus Christ everyone can say no to evil and yes to good.”

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Katrin Löwen
Senegal, Chief Apostle, Divine service