Evil Company :: By Nathele Graham


“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians15:33).

The congregation in Corinth is an example of how we are not to live. It’s also an example of a congregation that was rebuked and took the rebuke to heart. The second letter which Paul wrote to them found a lot less fault in their practice of their Christian faith. One of the main problems in Corinth was the fact that they accepted all manner of evil into their midst. Instead of standing strong upon God’s word, they let the secular ways corrupt their congregation. Paul was very concerned for them and urged them to live for Jesus, not for the world. The above verse speaks mountains of truth. Let’s take a closer look.

The word “communications” is a word that has changed meaning over the years since the King James translation of Scripture first happened. In the original language, the word “homilia” is used, and it means “companionship.” The word “manners” is translated from the word “ethos” and means “custom, usage, morals, character.” The verse, as translated in the New King James Version, reads as “Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

When we accept Christ’s finished work on the cross, we are a new creation in Christ. Our life should reflect that change. The ways of the world should no longer appeal to us. It may not be easy to leave old friends and old ways of thinking, but our faith in Christ means we need to walk close to Him and we need to walk in His footsteps. It most likely won’t be easy, but He never said it would be easy. He did say it would be a sacrifice.

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

Taking up one’s cross means death. The old man, which is our selfish sin nature, is nailed to the cross, and the new creation in Christ no longer takes pleasure in sin. If we say we accept Christ but continue associating with evil company, the old ways will draw us far away from Christ. If the old ways of walking in darkness hold more appeal than walking in the Light with Jesus, then you need to examine your faith. Have you truly accepted His sacrifice?

How do we reconcile this with the fact that Jesus spent time with sinners and was accused of being a winebibber? Jesus was God incarnate and entered His creation to bring salvation to lost sinners. When He spent time with sinners (which was everyone but Himself), it wasn’t to be one of the crowd. He never compromised. We need to be careful when we judge others by their behavior. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were extremely judgmental, and Jesus brought this to their attention.

“For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!” (Luke 7:33-34).

John the Baptist was chosen by God to prepare the way for Jesus. Because of a Nazarite vow, John didn’t cut his hair or drink wine. He must have looked pretty wild. There is no prohibition in Scripture against drinking wine; the only prohibition is against drunkenness. Neither John nor Jesus did anything wrong. The Pharisees compared Jesus to John when they should have been comparing themselves to Jesus. He is the standard to strive for. Today, we need to be around sinners in order to witness to them, but we aren’t to be buddy buddies.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).

This means marriage as well as business partnerships and friendships. Evil company may not always look evil, but there’s a good chance that if you become yoked with a non-believer, you’ll eventually walk a path in which you stumble rather than walking the path Jesus walked.

We do have freedom in Christ, but that freedom isn’t a license to sin. We need to become more Christ-like. We need to control our actions and our words.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

God’s love for you knows no boundaries. He gave His life. Jesus left the glory of His home in Heaven and entered His creation to save sinners. He came knowing that He would be slandered, mocked, beaten, and crucified. He loved us so much that He willingly came into this world as a baby, grew and ministered to everyone around Him. Is there anything in your life that is worse than what Jesus faced because of His love for you? Shouldn’t you present your life to Him as a living sacrifice? Yes, you should, even if that means walking away from evil company.

Don’t be deceived. Truth is only found in Scripture. We can find evil company in television shows, movies, songs, and books. Christians need to be careful of what we choose to set our minds to. Do you watch movies that promote sin and violence? Is your hero Dirty Harry or Thor? Don’t choose the evil company found in books and movies which are accepted by the world. Evil company can even be found among so-called Christians. There are many seemingly Christian fellowships with sweet and wonderful people who attend, but there is deception in the pulpit.

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15).

Many popular books are written by an author who claims to be Christian, but if you read them, use caution. Unless the book holds strongly to Scripture, it is promoting false doctrine. Discernment is a gift from God, and only studying Scripture will give you the knowledge to discern false teachers from Godly men who speak God’s truth. Paul gives a list of some of the gifts given by God to those who seek His truth.

“For to one is given by the Spirt the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will” (1 Corinthians 12:8-11).

It’s not easy to receive gifts from God when you’re spending time with evil company.

Old friends will probably ridicule you and accuse you of being “holier than thou” and a “goody-two-shoes,” but the way you conduct yourself will be a witness to former friends.

The Apostle Paul was never ashamed of his faith, even when among heathens. When he was chatting with a group of non-believers in Athens, he was discussing the gods they worshipped as contrasted by God Almighty. The people of Athens had a god for just about everything and made altars for these false gods. As Paul walked by these altars, he saw one dedicated “To the unknown God” (Acts 17:23). He used that “unknown God” to tell them about Jesus. Paul never used gimmicks in his witnessing, no shoeboxes, or bribery of “good works.” He always came right to the point no matter what danger there might be for him. As he spoke to these men who worshipped the false gods, Paul spoke clearly:

“And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. So Paul departed from among them” (Acts 17:32-33).

Witnessing is a very important part of Christianity. We have to be bold but know when the seeds have been planted and when to walk away. Paul didn’t become best friends with these people but knew when to let the Holy Spirit work in their hearts. Notice that some of the group mocked. Usually, if someone mocks your faith, you’ve hit a chord, and they will think about what you’ve said. Trust the Holy Spirit to lead them into salvation. Because Paul spoke words inspired by the Holy Spirit, some of the group wanted to hear more, and some came to faith.

Seek the company of others who seek to serve the Lord.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

God will provide for all you need. Seek Him instead of seeking evil company.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham


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All original scripture is “theopneustos,” God-breathed.

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