Be Wise about What Is Good, Innocent about what is Evil—Romans 16:19-20
"Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you" (Romans 16:19-20)
God never intended for us to know about evil. In the beginning He made the universe, the world, all living things and mankind. Then He called it good. Evil, sin and corruption never entered the picture until Eve was deceived by Satan. He used her curiosity about evil to trick her into thinking she would be better off if she knew what evil was. The result was disastrous for mankind. As Adam and Eve partook in the tree that God commanded them not to eat of, their eyes were open to the knowledge of good and evil. The rest is history, the result was the universe and everything within it had a working knowledge that both good and evil existed, and we were not the better for it.
In today's passage Paul is giving a wonderful key to living the Christian life. We are to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. He is saying the best defense against sin and corruption is a good offense. We are to be wise and knowledgeable about what is good. Meaning we should know good and live that way. In the same way we are to be innocent or guileless to evil. In other words, we should stay away from it, having nothing to do with it.
We live our lives out of the convictions of our heart. Proverbs 23:7 says, "For as he (man) thinketh in his heart, so is he" meaning that what you do and say comes from the true thoughts and philosophies rooted and established in your heart and thought process. When it comes down to it, whatever you value and believe is how you will act. To benefit from this truth, we are to be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil. We cannot be tempted with things we don't think, dwell on or know about. Therefore, don't think about evil things, or go looking for them. Rather be innocent concerning them, and then you will not struggle with those things.
The counter to this is to think about good, plant it in your heart and it will become evident in your lives as your mind renews to those things. The question becomes, what is the good that we should be thinking on? Paul said in Colossians, "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God" ( Colossians 3:1-3 ). This is the key to amazing transformation in Christ. Merely think on the things of God and be consumed with them and they will overflow in the way you live your life.
Paul is giving great instruction for us today. So much evil exists in this world, but we can be confident in this truth that Jesus spoke over two thousand years ago, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." ( John 16:33 ). Knowing the goodness of God brings us peace and crushes Satan and the evil that means to destroy us. Jesus has overcome and through faith in Him, we too have overcome. Being wise to what is good will expedite this victory in your daily live.