The glory of those “who overcome evil, in good take delight”

There is an old hymn, “Thanks for the Sabbath School,” the chorus of which ends with these words:

Great be the glory of those who do right,
Who overcome evil, in good take delight.

This morning I was reading in the 4th chapter of Ephesians, in which Paul speaks of the change that occurs when we leave

the vanity of our minds, and
our darkened understanding,
having become “alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in [us],
because of the blindness of [our] heart[s],”
which has caused us to be “past feeling”
because we have “given [ourselves] over” to uncleanness

and, through Christ,

“put off . . . the old man,
which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
and be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
And . . . put on the new man,
which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

Putting on the new man is the description of being born again. It describes a change in our nature. It means we pattern our thinking, conversation and behavior after the holiness that is in Christ and in our Heavenly Father. We awaken to the deceit of the adversary and “abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11).

The 2nd and 3rd verses of “Thanks for the Sabbath School” describe the process of denying ourselves that which is ungodly and embracing that which good, seeking, in the end, eternal salvation through Christ’s mercy and grace:

Now in the morning of life let us try
Each virtue to cherish, all vice to decry;
Strive with the noble in deeds that exalt,
And battle with energy each childish fault.

May we endeavor through life’s devious way
To watch and be earnest, true wisdom display;
Try to o’ercome each temptation and snare,
Thereby full salvation eternally share.

This battle against childish faults, the overcoming of each temptation and snare, is possible, for “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations,” (2 Peter 2:9) and can, through our faith in Him, cause “a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2). What is the result of seeking this change in our lives?

Great be the glory of those who do right,
Who overcome evil, in good take delight.

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