Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
The time is unquestionably good as long as the gospel is faithfully
preached and received. At the same time, even today the
world is filled with evils, factions, false theories and bad examples
of every sort; much of this wickedness is inherent in ourselves.
With these things the Christian must always contend;
the devil pursues, and our own flesh discourages and allures us
from recognition and observance of the divine will. If we strive
not against it, we shall soon lose sight of God's will, to our own
injury, even while listening to the gospel. For the devil's
strongest fury is exerted to befoul the world with fanaticism,
and to draw from the pure doctrine of faith into that evil even
those who possess the gospel. Being flesh and blood we are
always self-secure, unwilling to be led by the Spirit, indolent
and unresponsive in relation to the Word of God and to prayer.
In the outward walks of life, obstacles and evils meet us everywhere,
impeding our spiritual progress and impelling us to suppress
the gospel and to rend the Church.
Let no one, then, expect to enjoy an era of peace and pleasure
here on earth. Although the present time is in itself good, and
God bestows upon us the golden year of his Word and his grace,
yet the devil is here with his factions and followers, and our
own flesh supports him. He corrupts the blessed days of grace
at every possible opportunity, and so oppresses Christians that
they must contend against him with their utmost strength and
vigilance if they would not, through the influence of evils and
obstacles, be wrested from the gospel they have received and
would persevere therein to the end.
Wherefore we have the best reasons to adapt ourselves to the
present time in the best possible way; to walk wisely and circumspectly,
showing all faithfulness to the will of God ; obeying
it while we have opportunity— while still in possession of God's
Word, his grace and his Spirit. Being opposed and obstructed
by the devil and our own flesh, we must be wise and careful
and guard against following them. So, then, we are to understand
by "evil days" the allurements that lead us away from
God's Word and his will.