Tonight we come in our study to what we believe concerning the righteous and the wicked. It is important to note that there are only two divisions of people on the earth, the righteous and the wicked. This designation comes about not by what they do...because we all know that some wicked people can do some good things and we know that some righteous people can also do some very wicked things. But this designation is based upon their relationship to God. There is also another factor to consider about the difference between the righteous and the wicked, and that is their eternal destiny. Once again this is based not upon what they do, but rather what they are in relationship to God.
I. The Righteous.
A. Who are they?
1. These are they who have exercised faith in Jesus Christ.
2. As a result of that faith, they have been justified by His grace.
3. Justification brings:
a. PEACE : "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:" cf. Romans 5:1
b. RIGHTEOUSNESS: "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." cf. Romans 4:5
c. ETERNAL LIFE: "That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." cf. Titus 3:7
4. These are they who have been sanctified by the Spirit of God.
a. Sanctification = holiness or separation.
b. Believers are separated for a purpose...to bring glory to God.
c. There are three aspects concern- ing the believer's sanctification.
1) Past: The moment a person believes on Christ, he is sanctified. cf. 1 Co. 1:2
2) Present: We grow daily in grace and become more and more set apart for God. cf. Jn. 17:17
3) Future: When we meet Jesus, whether in death or at the rapture, then we shall be like Him; we shall be totally separated from sin and will be perfectly holy and blameless. cf 1 Jn. 3:2
B. They will spend eternity in Heaven.
1. Heaven is real.
a. It is a prepared place for a prepared people.
b. Jesus spoke of it in John 14. "I go to prepare a place for you"
c. Some would say that heaven is simply a state of mind, but Jesus never gave us that impression in Mt. 6:19-20.
d. The Word of God speaks of a place with foundations, walls, gates, streets, trees, and a river.
2. Heaven is the future home of the redeemed.
a. As a home it is a place of beauty. cf. 1 Co. 2:9
b. As a home it is a place of rest and security. cf. Re. 14:13
c. As a home it is a place where the family will come together.
1) The Father will be there. "Our Father which art in heaven." cf Mt. 6:9
2) Jesus will be there. "That where I am, there ye may be also." cf Jn. 14:3
3) Every person who has trusted Christ for their salvation will be there as well!
II. The Wicked.
A Who are they?
1. These are they who fail to accept Christ as Savior.
2. They are folks who neglect their spiritual need.
3. Remember, the wicked are not lost because of what they do, but because they have not been born again.
B. They will spend eternity in Hell.
1. Hell is a real place!
a. It is a place of separation.
1) Jesus said, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire." cf Mt. 25:41
2) There will be a total separ- ation from God and His blessing.
3) A separation from everything that is good.
b. It is a place of fire.
1) Time and time again Jesus used this phrase in reference to Hell: "the fire that never shall be quenched."
2) The rich man cried out "I am tormented in this flame."
c. It is a place of pain and torment.
d. It is a place of rememberance.
1) Abraham told the rich man in hell to remember...
2) Remember every sermon they ever heard.
3) Remember every time someone witnessed to them.
4) Remember all the opportun- ities they had to be saved.
2. Hell is forever.
a. There are only two eternal places.
b. Heaven and Hell.
c. Every other place is temporary, but Hell will last forevermore.
d. Note: Revelation 20:13-15
Conclusion: We believe that the Word of God clearly teaches that there will be an eternal existence for the righteous and the wicked. The righteous will live eternally in the presence of God, while the wicked will spend eternity in hell separated from God and all that is good.
The distinction between the wicked and the righteous is in their relationship to Jesus Christ. Those who know Jesus as Savior will live in eternal happiness with Christ. Those who fail to trust Christ for salvation will spend an eternity suffering in the flames of the lake of fire which burneth forever and ever. There is no middle ground!