Wicked in contrast to Sinner
I think just about everyone in the United States has seen a church on a corner or the cross so prominently displayed on the apex of many such buildings. To each of us, the notion to know and understand is human, and I believe it comes into play with these symbols of faith, Christian faith. I can’t see how anyone is exempt from not at one time asking, “What does that mean?” or “What does that stand for?” Dread be to those who corrupt the seeker with a misguided answer!
If someone set out to destroy Christianity, one of the first things they would do is seek to abolish Christian gatherings; no more Sunday services, no Wednesday night prayer sessions, put a clamp on Chaplains in the hospitals and the military, outlaw home meetings and the like. That would be the first thing, divide and conquer through fear and causation.
Seems like the Covid-19 thing got such a ball rolling. As I drive around Fort Worth, I don’t see any Summer Bible School offerings, and not every church has resumed corporate worship, either. That leaves folks still to themselves with TV-angelists or sequestered at home with their Bible. My parents, if still living, would definitely say “These are the end times for sure!” Thank God we haven’t started book-burning yet!
In an earlier wideastexas blog, Don’t Pray for the Lost,I lay the foundation for understanding these times we are in. The message of Christ’s cross is NOT for everyone! Here I want to approach the subject from a different angle that of wicked in contrast to sinner.
The message of the Cross is that all true human beings are under law, especially in the case of original sin, because we all trace our lineage back through the lineage of man to Adam. Adam disobeyed a direct command from God, and the consequences fell upon him and all who descend from him. This is called ‘original sin.’ There is no way a true human being can escape this. However, Christ’s cross, his unwarranted death in our behalf, satisfied the righteous judgment of God. The Cross was the game changer for mankind because Jesus’ death in our stead repaired the separation caused by original sin, freeing us, and paving the way for us to freely respond to God! Those who believe Jesus died for them, are exonerated, and in faith believing they have favor with God through Jesus, and are saved from the judgment to come upon the whole world. This message changes lives, but is not for everyone.
Those affected by the Cross of Christ are referred to as sinners. Yet there is another grouping the bible terms, wicked. A sinner can be touched by the message, repent of their sinful ways and be forgiven. Someone who is wicked, or evil through and through cannot change. The apostle Paul speaks of individuals who have their consciences seared, having made evil their way of life[i]. Why do we sear meat before cooking it? Searing seals the essence of flavor inside the meat, thus it is not lost during the cooking process. Searing steak meat keeps the good elements of taste inside. Likewise, but conversely, a conscience seared is one that has sinful elements of evil locked inside!
Now, just as there is no way to un-sear a piece of meat that has already undergone the process, so too with the heart/ soul of man that has been seared, locking in only evil continually. This is Paul’s lament.[ii]A seared human conscience is beyond repentance. Well, you might say, what about a death-bed confession and acceptance of Christ? To which I say, it doesn’t happen! The wicked soul is so far removed from the grace that could have been, from the opportunity for contriteness of heart, of true repentance, and a saving faith in Jesus! Can’t happen. That’s what searing does. It is not a blinking of the eye occurrence, but a radical change over time. Searing takes time. In the end, a wicked person might demonstrate some measure of remorse, but I think that’s just lip service of the moment. Their lot is with the wicked.[iii]
These then may very well be those who once had their names written in God’s book of life, but have since had it scratched out![iv]Wicked versus sinner, there is a difference. This message is not for average folk who might think they are “wicked” but are not. Examples of wicked are Hitler, Musolini, Pol Pot, and the like…
[i]Another reference to conscience in the New Testamentis to a conscience that is “seared” or rendered insensitive as though it had been cauterized with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:1-2). Such a conscience is hardened and calloused, no longer feeling anything. A person with a seared conscience no longer listens to its promptings, and he can sin with abandon, delude himself into thinking all is well with his soul, and treat others insensitively and without compassion. (gotquestions.com)
[ii]Hebrews 10:29. KJ21. Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath accounted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath despised the Spirit of grace?
[iii]Revelation 9:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and lewd men, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Weymouth)
also in 11 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that everyone may receive (for) the things done in hisbody, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (KJV)
[iv]Revelation 17:8b And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world. (KJV)