TEXT: Malachi 3:18
SUBJ: The Righteous and the Wicked
INTRODUCTION: We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of God, are truly righteous in His esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and under the curse and this distinction holds among men both in and after death, in the everlasting felicity of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost. When God looks upon the human race, He sees two main classes of people. They are mentioned in different ways: (1) The children of God and the children of the devil (1 John 3:10). (2) Those who are saved and those who perish (1 Corinthians 1:18). (3) Those who believe and those who believe not (John 3:18). (4) Those who are on the narrow way and those who are on the broad way (Matthew 7:13, 14). (5) The just and the unjust (Acts 24:15). In our text, we have a classification that is often seen in the Bible: "The righteous and the wicked." (1) Abraham (Genesis 18:23). (2) David (Psalm 11:5). (3) Solomon (Ecclesiastes 3:17). (4) Isaiah 3:10, 11. (5) Ezekiel 33:13, 14.
I. WHO IS IT THAT GOD CLASSIFIES AS "THE WICKED?"
A. The wicked are that way by nature - Jeremiah 17:9.
1. The wicked inherited the bias to sin - Psalm 58:3.
2. The wicked possess the potential to sink to the lowest depths of depravity - Jeremiah 17:9.
3. The wicked have no true righteous inclinations - Psalm 10:4.
B. The wicked are corrupt in their conduct - Mark 7:21, 22. NOTE: When it comes to the matter of regeneration and salvation, the Lord doesn't deal in degrees to classify the wicked. (One sin makes a man a sinner.)
C. The wicked are charged with all the guilt of their sins - Nahum 1:3.
D. The wicked cannot please God in anything - Proverbs 15:8, 9, 26.
E. The wicked will experience an awful fate - Psalm 9:17
II. WHO IS IT THAT GOD CLASSIFIES AS "THE RIGHTEOUS?"
A. The righteous is not inherently righteous - Romans 3:10. NOTE: At one time, the righteous was in the same condition as those who are called "wicked."
B. The righteous did not become righteous by any merit or effort of their own - Isaiah 64:6; Philippians 3:9.
C. The righteous possess a superior righteousness than their own.
1. A kind of righteousness that is superior to any natural goodness
is demanded - Matthew 5:20.
2. The righteousness that God requires is a perfect, Divine righteousness - Romans 10:3.
D. The righteous has received the righteousness of Christ that was transferred to their account by a Divine plan - Romans 4:5, 6; 5:19.
E. The righteous is not merely reckoned righteous, but the work of the Holy Spirit has imparted a righteous nature unto them - Ephesians 4:24; 2 Peter 1:4.
F. The righteous is influenced to righteous conduct by the righteous nature within - Romans 7:22, 25.
G. The righteous ultimately will be made thoroughly righteous in every sense of the word - Jude 24.
III. HOW DOES THE SCRIPTURE PORTRAY THE VIVID CONTRAST BETWEEN THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED?
A. The righteous and the wicked are contrasted in early history - 1 John 3:12.
B. The righteous and the wicked are contrasted at the very gate of death - Luke 23:39-42.
C. The righteous and the wicked are contrasted immediately after death - Luke 16:22, 23.
D. The righteous and the wicked are contrasted at the Rapture - Matthew 24:40, 41.
E. The righteous and the wicked are contrasted in eternity - Matthew 25:34, 41.
CONCLUSION: The Bible is clear concerning the difference between the righteous and the wicked. To be righteous is to be right with God. Although, it may be hard to distinguish the difference to the human eye, God knows those that are His (Matthew 13:30; John 10:14, 27).