Thoughtful Thursday: The Righteous vs. the Unrighteous

Psalm 36:1-4

“For the music director; written by the LORD’s servant, David; an oracle. An evil man is rebellious to the core. He does not fear God, for he is too proud to recognize and give up his sin.  The words he speaks are sinful and deceitful; he does not care about doing what is wise and right.  He plans ways to sin while he lies in bed; he is committed to a sinful lifestyle; he does not reject what is evil.”

Malachi 3:18

“Then once more you will see that I make a distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between the one who serves God and the one who does not.”

1 John 3:7

“Little children, let no one deceive you: The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as Jesus is righteous.

Psalm 38:18

“Yes, I confess my wrongdoing, and I am concerned about my sins.”

Psalm 45:7

“You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows.”

No one is righteous, no not one, and yet God counts us as righteous.  How can this be?  The blood of Jesus Christ covers our sins and makes us as white as snow.  Such a costly sacrifice should ever be before us, so that we remember the expectation that comes with so magnificent of a gift.

In this politically correct society, we dare not say that some are wicked and some are more righteous than another, but God has said it in His Word.  Of course I am not suggesting that we go around judging one another and compare our own righteousness – that is folly.  We, who have nothing good in us are not capable of judging another man’s heart, but these Scriptures above help us to examine our own hearts.

The deeds of the wicked are obvious, but the thoughts of the heart are not.  I love the word, “practices” used in the the book of 1 John, above.  It does not indicate that I am trying to be righteous in my own strength, but rather seeking after God and living in such a way as to follow after Jesus.  We will never arrive to perfection on this earth.  We practice because we are ever in the company of our flesh that we must be constantly putting to death.  How do we recognize our faults? Looking into the mirror of God’s Word.

By recognizing our wickedness and confessing our sins, we find mercy and are filled with joy.  Living the godly life is not a miserable, boring life.  It is living as God intended – having fellowship with Him and loving others.  Living for the flesh is a miserable account; especially if you belong to the Kingdom of God – the Holy Spirit will chase you down.  Thank God that He has left us with a Helper.  We do not have to live in ignorance of our sin anymore.

The biggest difference between the righteous and unrighteous is conviction.  The unrighteous do not care that they are sinning; they consider it folly to be concerned with sin.  The righteous are stricken to the core for their sin and troubled enough with their sin to run to the One Who can heal them.

God reveals our sins to us because He loves us.  A sinful lifestyle harms us and separates us from Himself.  We might recognize sin in others, but God did not ask us to seek out other’s sins.  If we see sin in another person, may we be humble enough to see that we are no better and approach in gentleness with redemption being the goal, not accusation.

The church is God’s agent on this earth to reveal our condition before a Holy God and to share God’s salvation.  All to often we find judgement and shunning – even in the body of Christ – because we see some imperfection in one another.  This is laughable – if we could only accept one another because we were perfect, there would not be one member in the body of Christ.  We were meant to be a light to extinguish sin in the world, not a judge waiting to condemn, when we have received mercy ourselves.  Sin kills – are we going to let another soul die?

By God’s grace, we are no longer numbered as unrighteous; may we never forget that.  But may we also never forget what it was like to be unrighteous and seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus, throwing a lifeline to the lost, so that they may be found.

Lord, I am forever grateful that You opened my eyes to see my sin and saved me.  Please help the church to hate the sin but love the sinner, that Your amazing gift of salvation can reach more people and rescue them from sin and death.