What Do We Know About The Present
and The Final Destiny of the Wicked?
The state of being wicked is a sad and deplorable spiritual condition. Wickedness involves a disregard for justice, righteousness and truth. Wickedness begins with thoughts of wrong and spreads quickly to evil deeds, an evil character and finally a horrible destiny. People become so engrossed in wickedness that they lose a desire for that which is good in the sight of God. The wicked bring out the worst in society. Sinners bring out the worst in each other and in a community. Righteous people make communities better and can even cause communities to be spared from God's destruction. Ten righteous people could have saved Sodom. (Genesis 18:16-33)
It would be difficult to find a more graphic picture of the wicked than that of Isaiah 57:20-21. "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, When it cannot rest, Whose waters cast up mire and dirt. íThere is no peace,' Says my God, 'for the wicked." The wicked are like the restless, troubled sea. They are not healed by the grace of God and therefore miss His comfort and blessings. Sinners do not find true joy. There is no real peace to those who allow themselves to be controlled by sin. God stated it so powerfully, "there is no peace for the wicked." The pain, misery and disappointment of life have been caused by sin. Sin causes us to lose our joy. "Good understanding gains favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard." (Proverbs 13:15) Sin breaks my connection with real happiness. Sin always brings the worst of all unhappiness to man.
What do we know about the present state and the final destiny of the liar? One who chooses to be a liar brings misery to himself and heartache to those hurt by his lies. "What is desired in a man is kindness, and a poor man is better than a liar." (Proverbs 19:22) One who lies can expect a troubled life because Satan is the father of lies. "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it." (John 8:44)
What do we know about the present state and the final destiny of the drunkard? The drunkard will have many unnecessary thorns in his hands. "Like a thorn that goes into the hand of a drunkard Is a proverb in the mouth of fools." (Proverbs 26:9) The drunkard often loses his job, family, home and self respect. If the drunkard is a brother, he also loses the fellowship of brethren. "I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat." (1 Corinthians 5:11)
What do we know about the present state and the final destiny of those who lust? Lust leads to many sins. "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." (James 1:14-15) Corruption is in the world through lust. "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (2 Peter 1:4) A life filled with lust will be a troubled life. "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew. 5:28)
What do we know about the present state and the final destiny of those that are dishonest? God will not allow one to prosper for long through dishonest gain. "Behold, therefore, I beat My fists at the dishonest profit which you have made, and at the bloodshed which has been in your midst." (Ezekiel 22:13) Terrible things are done for dishonest gain. "Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain." (Ezekiel 22:27) Many lives are filled with misery because of dis≠honest gain.
What do we know about the present state and the final destiny of the wicked? As you look at the present state of the wicked it may pain our hearts because the wicked seem to prosper. The righteous might even sometimes envy the wicked. Asaph wrote, "When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image." (Psalms 73:16-20) Asaph was troubled because he thought he saw that the wicked prospered more than the godly in this life. This did not seem fair to him.
a. Asaph confessed his sin. He said, "For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked." (Psalms 73:3) We learn from Scripture that it is a great mistake to envy the prosperity of the wicked.
b. Asaph said the wicked die peaceably. He said, "For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm." (Psalms 73:4) He was thinking that the wicked never have to suffer, that they stay healthy, and they do not have troubles. He saw that the wicked died peaceably surrounded by family and friends. They die without fear because they are ignorant of what they will face on life's other side. Asaph knew that man has a soul that will live after death either in eternal joy or in the eternal fire of damnation
c. Asaph said the wicked are not troubled. Asaph said the wicked, "are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men." (Psalms 73:5) Godís people are subject to chastisement by the AllMighty and to persecution from the Devil's crowd. Pride and violence become a part of the character of the wicked because God does not chasten them as His children. Not all of the wicked prosper, but many of them do. The Christian might be inclined to ask, "What good did it do me to keep my thoughts pure and refuse to do wrong?" It is not a waste of time to be godly. Remember, God blesses His children in an entirely different way than the physical things the world enjoys.
d. Asaph said the wicked do not guard their thoughts or actions. The Christian must guard every thought and action. (Psalm 73:15-16) The wicked care not what they say and what they do.
e. Asaph's thinking changed when he went to the house of God. Asaph said, "Then I went to your temple, and there I understood what will happen to my enemies." The wicked do not know God's word. They do not know where they came from; they do not know why they are here in this life; and they do not know where they are going when they die. The wicked are living in darkness and they will die without God and without hope. When Asaph though of the eternal end for the wicked his thinking changed. The difference between the wicked and the godly is their end. When the wicked die they go into fire under damnation, under the wrath of Almighty God. On the other hand the Christian is waiting for good things.
f. Asaph said the wicked will be lost forever. Asaph said, "You will make them stumble, never to get up again." In one quick moment the worldly person loses every good thing that he will ever have. "Thou didst set them in slippery places." They leave this world and all is lost. The doctrine of hell is real and you can not wish it away!
The wicked have a troubled life here and misery in hell hereafter. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-11) Many think that wickedness provides happiness. Not so! The key to real joy is for God to rule my life.
Will you accept God's wonderful good news that Jesus died for your sins, was buried and was raised on the third day? Will you be baptized into Christ to put on Christ so that your sins can be forgiven by His blood? "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Galatians 3:26-27) Believers contact Christ's saving blood by being baptized into His death. Those that become children of God have reason to rejoice. (Acts 8:39) Rejoicing follows man's response to God's good news of forgiveness by the death of Jesus.
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O.Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA