First Way to be Holy: Stop Doing Evil

By: Carol McClain @carol_mcclain

The early chapters of Isaiah have me seeing our precious church and the miracle of grace portrayed poorly.

In a quick review, last week we looked at Isaiah 1:16-17.


Isaiah 1:16b-17 reads:

  1. Cease to do evil.
  2. Learn to do good.
  3. Seek justice.
  4. Rebuke the oppressor
  5. Defend the fatherless
  6. Plead for the widow.

In last week’s blog, I discussed why the media hates the church. Sometimes it’s with good reason. Isaiah 1:15-16 commands us:  15When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; even though you multiply your prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood. 16 Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong.

Sadly, the church can take our grace–the fact that our deeds (thank you, Lord)–don’t earn us salvation, and turns it into a license to do whatever pleases us.

The easiest way to see this, and the way the bulk of America sees the church, is through its big-name leaders.

Recently, Jerry Falwell, Jr. was asked to resign as president of Liberty University because of sexual misconduct. Enough said.

We couple Falwell’s sin with those who’ve fallen before him: Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker.

Aside from sin, we have self-aggrandizing ministers like Benny Hinn and most recently, Kenneth Copeland claimed he had to have private jets because he couldn’t stand flying with demons.

These people are diametrically opposed to Jesus’s examples.

They are not the only ones.

Let me rephrase that:

These people represent the extremes of what we, ourselves, do:

  1. Falwell, et al, indulged in sexual sins. How many ordinary Christians live with their fiances or view porn? How many watch explicit movies (marginally not porn)? How many lust after women or men?
  2. Hinn and Copeland are greedy. How many of us do not tithe (or even give an offering) because we need the money ourselves? How many envy luxurious beach homes and are not grateful for our own? Who cheats on taxes or doesn’t return an item the cashier forgot to scan and you got for free?
  3. Copeland, specifically, despised others less fortunate. Do we turn our backs on the migrant or addict? Do we judge the homeless or welfare recipient as being slothful and getting what he/she deserves?

Romans 2:1 says: “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

As Falwell falls, so do we.

If we, as a people, refuse to do evil, our social profile will improve. Joshua says if God’s people humble themselves, the land would heal.

It’s time to start.


  1. Cleo Lampos says:

    This is saying it as it is.

    • Carol McClain says:

      We have to monitor ourselves. We are saved by grace, but God directs our steps to act according to his will. Sin still separates the saved from God.

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