Be not Deceived

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
1 Corinthians 15:33

Jehoshaphat was a good king. Once he became king, he eliminated idol worship. He then strengthened the cities of Judah – physically and spiritually. By placing mighty soldiers in the different cities, he strengthened them physically. When he sent princes, priests, and Levites into every city teaching the Word of God to the people, he strengthened them spiritually. We understand that he was able to remain a good king even though he spent time with wicked King Ahab – the worst king of Israel.

Although Jehoshaphat was considered a good king, we will learn what effect his relationship with wicked King Ahab (also Ahaziah and Jehoram) had upon not only his children, but also the whole nation of Judah. Godly people are to be set apart from the wicked things (and even people) of this world. We may not think these things affect us, but at the very least, it has an effect upon the people around us. King Jehoshaphat appeared to have kept his heart pure before the Lord – even with the relationship he had with wicked King Ahab, but we can read the devastating effect it had upon his children and the nation of Judah. 

King Jehoshaphat should have enacted the words King David recorded many years before. “1. Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD; therefore I shall not slide. 2. Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. 3. For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth. 4. I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. 5. I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked” (Psalm 26:1-5). If he had remembered lived by these words, not only would he have been an even better king, but also much heartache would have been spared. His son was a wicked king.

Not only are those words recorded for us today as well, but the following verse must be remembered, too. “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33). This verse has often been translated into a modern proverb: “Bad company ruins good morals.” However, use the following definitions to help you understand this verse:

  • deceived means “to be misled or deceived”
  • evil means “evil works”
  • communications means “lifestyles, conversations”
  • corrupt means “to spoil or violate in a spiritual or moral sense”
  • good means “in a moral sense – good, useful, virtuous”
  • manners means “morals or character – this is the word from which ethics is derived.”

After reading these definitions, we can understand this verse is a warning not to be deceived but to understand something – evil deeds and conversations (lifestyles) will spoil good morals and good character in a person’s life. We can also understand that we are to be very careful about the kind of people with whom we hang out, and especially to be careful of those that we choose as friends. 

Nevertheless, see what we are exhorted to do in the following verse: “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:34). Often it is because of the choices and friends we make that keep us from being a good witness to others. It is a shame when Christians’ lives are contrary in any way to God’s Word. It is worse when that keeps others from the knowledge of God (being able to recognize their need for Jesus).

It is a scary thing to say one knows of God, yet for that one to be ignorant of God. It is a shame for anyone in this day to be ignorant of the things of God – especially those who have “grown up in church” or have Christian parents who taught them the Bible. There are too many resources available to this generation. No one will be able to stand before God in ignorance – unless they so choose. As Christians, we should always tell others about the things of God and encourage other Christians to continue learning throughout their lives by prayer and the reading of God’s Word.

Are you one who is not deceived, living a life that is a witness of Jesus to others?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *