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Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22, NKJV)

The Bethlehem Steel coke oven plant served as our chemical engineering laboratory. It was a typical cold and snowy winter near Buffalo, New York. When the weather improved, several of us decided to visit Niagara Falls, on the Canadian side.  As we came to customs at the border, the agent asked the driver Bill to open the trunk of the car.  A case of beer which we had forgotten about met the inspector’s eyes. He quickly informed us that bringing alcohol into Canada was illegal.

Our driver Bill explained that MIT had arranged temporary housing for us on the third floor of a nursing home. We did not want to tempt the patients and staff while we were at work, so we kept the beer in the trunk of the car. We were in violation of international law and a biblical command (Romans 13:1); we had committed an evil deed. The agent graciously allowed us to return home, store the beer, and return to view the wonder of the Canadian Falls.

In the New Testament Paul reminded those who read the letter to the Thessalonians to abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22) 

Stopped at the border by concerned police,

Evil behavior that needed to cease.

Corrections were made, we were at peace.

Grace was extended; our love did increase. 

Abstaining from evil requires constant vigilance. 

  • Is it sinful behavior when you don’t know you are violating a law? 
  • What are some of the evils Christians face today? 
  • What steps can you take to exercise vigilance?