The Righteous and the Wicked

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Proverbs 10:2-3  Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death. The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.

“We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked (Malachi 3:18); that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the LORD Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in His es­teem (Acts 16:30,31); while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and under the curse (I John 5:19); and this distinction holds among men both in and after death.”

There has been, from the beginning of human history, two distinct classes of persons (I John 3:12).  One class of persons is known be­fore God as RIGHTEOUS, and the other class of persons is called WICKED (Genesis 13:13; II Peter 2:7-9).

A WICKED person is one who is morally wrong, and under the bond of “that wicked one” (I John 3:12; Ephesians 2:2,3).  Any want of conformity to, or transgression of the law of God is sin, and WICK­EDNESS is the active, destructive conduct of that one who is in op­position to God and His will.  WICKED is contrasted with RIGHTEOUS.

To be RIGHTEOUS simply mans to be morally right, and identifies with a desire to please God in conduct (Genesis 7:1). The New Tes­tament teaches God’s meaning of RIGHTEOUSNESS (Romans 10:3,4).  The LORD shows His displeasure of self-righteousness in His teaching on “the Pharisee and the Publican” (Luke 18:9-14).

RIGHTEOUSNESS is not a humanly inherent virtue (Romans 8:4-9; I Corinthians 2:14).  To become RIGHTEOUS requires a spiritual trans­formation (Titus 3:3-6).  That which makes a person RIGHTEOUS, that is, morally right, and having a true desire to please God in conduct, is to be clothed with the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God by the Holy Spirit.  The RIGHTEOUSNESS of God is always and only Christ Jesus our LORD (Romans 10:4; Acts 13:39).  WICKED persons become RIGHTEOUS before God by the change wrought in the life by the Holy Spirit when, by faith, the LORD Jesus is believed on from the heart (John 1:12; Acts 16:31; I Corinthians 6:9-11; Romans 10:8-11).

The difference between the RIGHTEOUS and the WICKED continues in the hour of death, and beyond death, in eternity (Luke 16:19-31; Rev­elation 20:12-15; 21:8).  If the sinner refuses to obey the Gospel by believing on the Saviour, then the end of that life is eternal death (Romans 6:23).  In death, the RIGHTEOUS go to their own kind, and the WICKED to their own kind (Psalm 9:17; Matthew 25:46).  The destiny is determined in this life (Matthew 6:21-23).  This is why the Gospel is so urgent, why the LORD is so patient (II Peter 3:9), why Christians are concerned (Jude 21-23).  Because today is the day of salvation (II Corinthians 6:2), and now the most WICKED may be made RIGHTEOUS by the saving grace of God our Saviour (Isaiah 55:6; Romans 3:26).

God’s pleasure is that the WICKED turn from his wicked ways and be saved (Ezekiel 18:23,etc.).  The nearness of God, the freeness of His salvation, and His readiness to forgive, remove all excuses (Romans 1:20,21; Acts 17:27-31).

- - - - The Scriptures below are referenced in the doctrinal statement - - - -

Malachi 3:18  Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

Acts 16:30-31  And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? (31) And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

1 John 5:19  And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.


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