by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
(Chapter 19 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Justice)

"Let no man say when he is tempted, Jam tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." James 1:13-15

There is a space of time between when a person sins and the time a person does evil. During that time we can stop ourselves from the doing of evil. We cannot live above sin, but we can prevent it from becoming evil. Let me give you six statements concerning the process of sin becoming evil.

1. Sinful people can administer justice; evil people cannot administer justice. A sinful man can get forgiveness for his sin and then properly administer justice. A man who is part of a conspiracy, who plans to do evil, who is bent toward doing evil, and plots and prepares to do evil is so torn up by prejudice that he will not be able to administer justice. You cannot be just if you are evil. You can be just if you are sinful.

2. Evil is sin when it is finished. A preacher who once followed me in a pastorate became very bitter at me because the people kept comparing everything he did to the way I had done things. I could understand his feelings of anger and why he would be upset with me. His anger was sin, but I could understand how that could happen. Then the man decided that he was going to try to destroy me. It was sin when he became angry at me, but it was evil when he decided to try to destroy me.

The Bible says that "sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." That pastor did not die physically, but he was soon forced to leave the church which led to the death of a great ministry. It brought forth the death of his marriage as he and his wife divorced. It brought forth the death of his ministry because he was forced to leave the ministry. It all happened because he allowed sin to become evil.

When you lose your temper, that is sin; yet, it will not destroy you. When that anger turns into a plot to hurt someone, that becomes evil and will bring forth death to your joy, your testimony, your effectiveness and your blessings. All of this happens when sin becomes evil.

3. Sin left alone will eventually become evil. The minute you realize that you've sinned, you ought to run to your prayer closet, ask God to forgive you, and then forsake that sin. If you leave that sin unconfessed, it will fester and will eventually lead you to evil. That is what happened to Absalom after 40 years.

4. You have a period of time after you sin before you become evil. There is a time between your initial anger at a person and the time you want to hurt him. If you lose your temper and hit somebody, that is sin, but it is not evil. Evil is plotted or planned. Evil will sooner or later come if you do not get that sin forgiven. God allows you a certain amount of time between the act of sin and the time that sin progresses to becoming evil sin. Let us look at some examples.


I Samuel 18:6-11, "And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick. And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have

ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom? And Saul eyed David from that day and forward. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul's hand. And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice."

The young David fought and killed Goliath. King Saul should have done so because he was the king and was head and shoulders above the people. When the women began to sing greater praises to David than to Saul, he became angry, which was sin. Finally an evil spirit came upon Saul.

Instead of repenting of his sin, Saul became angry, began to eye David carefully, and finally decided to kill him. Saul developed a plan to kill David, and as a result, he lost not only the spirit of God, but also his kingdom, his power and eventually, his life. It did not have to happen. If Saul would have corrected his sin before it became evil, it could have been avoided. Instead, it brought forth death to his power, his kingdom, and his usefulness to God. All of this happened because Saul let sin become evil.

Sin in one's life will fester until it becomes evil. Go to your prayer closet, fall on your face, ask for forgiveness, and forsake it before it becomes evil and brings forth death.


II Samuel 15:4-7, "Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice! And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the Lord, in Hebron."

Absalom began by committing the sin of covetousness. He wanted his father's kingdom; his father's throne; his father's sceptre, and his father's crown. He coveted until he reached a point when he I decided that he would plot to get it. That is when it became evil. Covetousness may seem insignificant, but like every sin, if it is left unconfessed, it will eventually become evil. In the end, it brought forth death to Absalom.


Psalm 51:4, 'Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest."

David stayed home one day and saw Bathsheba bathing. In a moment of passion and lust, David committed adultery. When he found out that Bathsheba was pregnant, he realized he had to do something. To cover his sin, he arranged for Uriah to come home to sleep with his wife, Bathsheba. Uriah refused to enjoy his wife while his fellow soldiers were dying on the battlefield, so David plotted Uriah's death. Suddenly, David's sin had become evil. David realizing this, not only confessed his sin of adultery but also his evil against Uriah. Whatever sin you let lie will eventually lead to evil and then death.

Joseph's Brothers

Joseph's brothers committed the sin of hatred and envy. They did not confess it, and so they began to hate him even more. Sin will always grow if you do not confess it. Their hatred intensified until they envied him and even plotted to kill him. That which started out as sin became evil. There was time to stop it before it happened, but they allowed it go to unconfessed. Tragically, it is almost impossible to stop it once it becomes evil.

5. Justice and evil are alike in one respect. They are both deliberate. True justice is deliberate because it requires careful study and contemplation of what is right. True evil is the same way because it also requires the contemplation of a plot to carry it out.

6. You can live above evil. Someone has said that you cannot stop a bird from landing on your head, but you can stop it from building a nest there. You are going to stumble into sin, but you do not have to wallow in evil. You can be delivered from evil if you want to. Psalm 121:7, "The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul." The Bible does not say that the Lord will preserve you from all sin. You do not have the power never to do wrong, but you do have the ability within God's power to be delivered from evil.

John 17:15, "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. He asked the Father to keep His people from evil. He knew that in our passion and impulsiveness we were going to sin, so He did not pray that we would not sin. He prayed that we would be kept from evil. We do not have to allow sin to lie dormant in our lives and become evil. You can be delivered out of evil, but by that time you will have already done harm to people and hurt them.

II Thessalonians 3:3, "But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil." The Bible does not say that God will keep us from sin, but it does promise that He will keep us from evil. Gossip comes from an evil heart because it is planned. It comes about because of an unconfessed sin.

How to Stop Sin from Becoming Evil

1. Ask God to give you His love. I Corinthians 13:5, "Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil." Love does not think evil. Love does not plot. You can love someone and get angry at him. That is sin. You cannot love someone and plot against him. Sin usually is not thought out when it is started. It is usually passionate. When it is finished, it is plotted and planned. To keep away from evil, we must ask God to give us His love because love thinketh no evil.

I have become angry at people, yet wanted no evil to come to them, because I have asked God to give me His love. If the love of Christ indwells my heart, I will not do evil, although I will sin.

2. Pray. In the Lord's Prayer it says, "...deliver us from evil...." The lesson is that as soon as you know you have sinned, you should pray and ask God to keep it from becoming evil.

I realize that there are many people in this world who hate me and who would like to destroy me, but I have no desire in my hear to hurt any of them because I beg God not to allow my sin to germinate into evil. I beg Him to protect my heart from evil.

3. Do not be around evil people. Psalm 140:1, "Deliver me, 0 LORD, from the evil man...." You cannot associate with somebody who is plotting to hurt someone else and not be affected. You are not to fellowship with evil people. You are not to allow them to preach for you nor are you to preach with or for them. Proverbs 2:12 "To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things."

The men who come to our Rescue Mission are not evil men. They are sinful men. Those who sold them the liquor are evil men, because they willfully conspired to hurt someone else and to do them evil. You are to avoid that evil person totally. To be in fellowship with evil people is to be disobedient to God!

There are men who claim to love me; yet they refuse to disassociate themselves from others who are trying to do me evil, although I never ask them to do so. I know that eventually they are going to be affected because God specifically warned them to stay away from evil men.

Proverbs 4:14-16, "Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except that they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall." God is crystal clear here that we are to avoid evil men. They are trying to do mischief to someone, and we are to avoid them totally. Do not travel with evil men. Run from them. If you do not want to become evil, do not get around evil men. The Bible does not say to avoid sinful men. It tells us to lift them up, but no place in the Bible does it tell us to lift up an evil man. Even if you think you can help evil men, you are to avoid them. Evil men will affect you long before you could ever change them!

4. Run with the crowd that is not evil. Hebrews 3:12 13, "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." God is telling us to take heed to our own hearts, lest we become evil. To do that we must be with those who are not evil. As soon as an evil person tries to spread his evil to you, find someone who is not evil to exhort you. Do not spread the evil to this one, but seek his good.

5. Ask a friend to help you when he sees sin lingering. Choose a good Christian friend and ask him to come to you and lovingly exhort you if he sees a sin lingering in your life. Be careful that you do not volunteer to do that for everybody else!

I have seen it happen over and over again in my ministry. There is a look in the face of a person that is not a sinful look but an evil one. Sin has festered, and an evil spirit has come upon him. He ought to go ahead and leave the church at that moment because he has gone too far! Sin is finished! Evil is come! Death is near!

Check the end of evil people, and you will see how tragic their end was. You will never hurt anyone as much by trying to hurt him as you will hurt yourself!


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I am an old-fashioned preacher of the old-time religion, that has warmed this cold world's heart for two thousand years. Billy Sunday