aymon de albatrus
“Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals.” (1Co 15:33)
“He that walks with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed (depraved).” (Pro 13:20)
“A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” (Gal 5:9)
“What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?” (2Co 6:15)
The Puritans together with the Apostles and the very early church were the closest to pure Christianity that ever existed on this earth. Yet, history shows that with time and the influence of the world the purity of those who followed them petered off into a compromised Christianity, we can even say into a paganised Christianity.
The same is shown for Israel and the Jews. They started with Joshua from a holy basis that stated: “as for me and my house we will serve the lord” ending up to a nation that within a few generations, by mingling with evil companies, deeply corrupted itself, as Scripture says: “ ….and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which He had done for Israel.” (Jdg 2:10)
And so it is today, truly as the “preacher” said: “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecc 1:9)
The Puritans came out of the 16th century Reformation which took good roots in Switzerland, Holland and Scotland beside few other countries. The puritans were doing well for a while in England but soon they were ousted and escaped to America seeking a land where their pure religion could be professed and experienced in liberty. This was about 400 years ago, but today in these countries their pure Christianity has been corrupted and degenerated into a social religion and now they are deeply secular. Holland is as liberal as it can be, so is Switzerland, and the UK the same, where less than 4% of the population attends church regularly, and the remaining churches are irreparably compromised reduced to a faint poor shadow of pure Christianity. America has some vestige of pure religion left, but alas it is also fast petering out, being greatly aided by democracy as it infiltrates every vestige of our western society, even the church.
How can all this happen? Simple, it is done on an individual basis, every good believer due to work, secular school, market and other reasons socialise with secular (evil) people and with time the secular beliefs begin to make a breach in the good morals and infect the godly principles. This process of secularisation is accelerated when pastors and religious teachers get infiltrated themselves, and this is the end (Mar 14:27). These days the downgrade is greatly aided by television and the media and the democratic tenets that have brought our western society in deep decadence and near the bottom of any religious decency, attracting the just God’s wrath shortly to befall on it.
This is what happened with Israel, time and times again, even after the stern warnings of the Lord: “ …., you shall not learn to do according to the hateful acts of those nations.” (Deu 18:9) “ …. you shall not defile yourselves with them; I am Jehovah your God..” (Lev 18:30)
Be not deceived – We are to be aware of false teachers with smooth and plausible arguments to dissuade us from Scripture teaching or even with corrupt interpretation, and not only by them but by secular companies with their mellifluous tongues. We are not to let ourselves be persuaded by evil and corrupt discourses of those philosophers amongst whom we converse, who argue from innate principles of reason against articles of faith; though we may judge that they talk but for discourse sake. Yet their communication or discourse is vane, and will influence us as to things of practice, and corrupt men in their morals. It is a warning, against letting other impose on us corrupt beliefs and doctrines. “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things comes the wrath of God on the children of disobedience.” (Eph 5:6) “And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Mat 24:4)
Evil companionships corrupt good morals – The word means: “communication, companionship, close intercourse, conversing together”. ‘Evil Companionship’ equates to ‘Evil Influences’. Paul here means having companions and ensuing discourses that would pervert the truth of the gospel, and thus corrupt our lives. It is always true that such intercourse has insidious effect on the mind and the heart. Discourses contrary to faith and hope, naturally tends to destroy all holiness. It is done by:
1. Direct effort to corrupt the opinions, and to lead others into sin.
2. By the secret, silent influence of their words, and conversation, and example. We have less horror at vice by becoming familiar with it; we look with less alarm on error when we hear it often expressed; we become less watchful and cautious when we are constantly with the gay, the worldly, the unprincipled, and the vicious. Hence Christ sought that there should be a pure society, and that His people should principally seek the friendship, and conversation of each other, and withdraw from the world. It is in the way that Paul here refers to, that these evil companies will lead eventually Christians to embrace false doctrines; that they lose their spirituality, love of prayer, fervour of piety, and devotion to God. It is in this way that the simple are beguiled, the young corrupted, and that vice, and crime, and infidelity spread all over the world, as it has ubiquitously done already.
Paul's use of the expression here was to warn the Corinthians against any toleration of the evil teachers who were denying the resurrection; for the toleration of them was certain to corrupt the church. The truth spoken is timeless and applicable not only to the argument of resurrection, but to the whole of life and to all who ever lived, and will live, in any generation.
Paul here is showing how dangerous is the conversation of evil men (on any subject), and what an influence bad principles communicated and imbibed, have on the lives and practices of men. This the apostle cites not out of ostentation of his great learning but to demonstrate that this was a truth obvious by the light of nature, and because such a testimony might be more regarded by the gullible Corinthians, who were fond of such fancy notions.
It is common and true notion that he who frequents the company of bad and corrupt men will soon be as they are. He may be sound in the faith, and have the life and power of godliness, and at first frequent their company only for the sake of their pleasing conversation, or their literary accomplishments and he may even think his faith proof against their infidelity. But he will soon find out, by means of their cajoling speeches, his faith begins to vane and weakening and when once he gets under the empire of doubt, unbelief will soon prevail; his bad company will finally corrupt his previously good morals. “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things comes the wrath of God on the children of disobedience.” (Eph 5:6)
Know this: “Thou must not keep company with the wicked, but converse always with good men. With such eat, drink, and associate. Please those who have the greatest virtue. From good men thou may learn good things; but if thou keep company with the wicked, thou wilt lose even the intelligence which thou now possess”.
We may mix with heathen, but only for the purpose of witnessing Christ and Him crucified, and not for any other reason. We have to mix with the world, for otherwise how can we witness the marvellous Gospel of Jesus, but we are not to receive any teaching whatsoever from those of the world for their teaching is definitely evil, corrupt and anti God.
The world has nothing to teach us, but we can teach the world for we have the mind of Christ: “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1Co 2:13,16)
but a companion of fools shall be destroyed (destroyed); - That is "shall become like them"; be a fool as they are and grow still more and more foolish. He shall be known by the company he keeps, to be a fool also, or rather such man will be broken, ruined and destroyed. Evil companionships corrupt good morals and so bringing ruin and destruction. There is a proverb: “tell me the company you keep, and I will tell you what type of person you are”. Let me know the company you keep, and I shall easily guess your moral character.
There is also a similar English proverb that says: "Birds of a feather flock together", which means that people of the same kind naturally mingle intimately together. The question then is: “Why do you come together with evil people?” It must be because you are like them, or at least enjoy their company and their discourses. A truly Born Again believer must mix intimately only with his own kind, i.e. other believers and have a desire to do so to reinforce his belief in Christ and His Gospel. If one regularly mixes with heathens, obviously his heart is not set on Godly things but his love is for the things of the world and the love of God is not in him and his salvation is in serious doubt: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1Jo 2:15)
Be also aware of false teachers that claim to be of the people of God, but are instead wolves in sheep clothing as our Lord clearly told us: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Mat 24:24) We must not be fooled by them for we have the mind of Christ enabling us to discern these evil spirits. These evil people are more common in the church that one may think. They are emissary of Satan send to confuse and weaken the people of God. Thus we have two deadly enemies of our souls: The people of the world with their alluring worldly attractions and false teachers amongst ourselves capable, if it were possible, to even deceive the elect.
On this earth we are living in enemy’s territory, in danger from within and from without and we shall be well aware of that, but we must not fear for the Spirit in us is far stronger than Satan and his hordes. Nevertheless Scripture commands us to be on the alert and to test every spirit: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1Jo 4:1)
We are to be present in the world in order to witness the marvellous Gospel of Jesus Christ so that those that have been ordained to eternal salvation (Act 13:48) will be aided in coming to Christ, but we are not to be of the world and be subjected to evil company. Also we are to avoid false teachers mingled with the people of God and in the church.
Remember that we did not receive a spirit of fear but the spirit of the Almighty God: “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2Ti 1:7) and that our Lord has set us free and thus we are free indeed: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” (Joh 8:36)