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“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[1] Those who sin in ignorance do not know what they are doing, and so the forgiveness of sins begins with them. But what of the wicked and the rebellious; wherein lies their forgiveness?

About the wicked, God said, “Among My people are wicked men who lie in wait like men who snare birds and like those who set traps to catch men. Like cages full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; they have become rich and powerful and have grown fat and sleek. Their evil deeds have no limit; they do not plead the case of the fatherless to win it, they do not defend the rights of the poor. Should I not punish them for this?”[2] They are men who know what they are doing, and as God had said earlier, “I will pronounce My judgements on My people because of their wickedness in forsaking Me.”[3]

Since, we who are Christians are, in truth, all sinners drawn to Jesus by the Father that we may be saved, then it is time for us to see and understand what wickedness and rebellion are amongst the people of God. That is, who is a wicked ‘Christian’ and who is a rebellious ‘Christian,’ for God said, “Among My people are wicked men…” A wicked person isn’t just one who craves evil, for there are non-Christians who are wicked who crave for evil, but at least they have the honesty to deny Christ openly, and be they pornographers, pimps, murderers or tyrants like Attila the Hun, they are wicked, but they do not hide their wickedness behind the Name of Christ. Judgement will come for them eventually, but judgement begins in the house of God. As such, as much as we repent of our sins and forgive the sins of each other, we must understand more clearly what wickedness and rebellion are, so that we can identify it within us and beg for mercy, not forgiveness. For forgiveness wipes out the sin, but for the wicked, the Lord asked, “Should I not punish them for this?” And He also asked, “Should I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?”[4]

So the wicked are subject to the punishment and vengeance of God. Since wickedness is not covered by the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins,[5] all who are wicked are subject to punishment and God’s vengeance, just as the rebellious are subject to condemnation, for the ultimate rebel, the false prophet, will be cast alive into the lake of Burning Sulphur.[6] He does not even qualify for what Paul wrote for us: Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement… for there is no judgement for the rebel, just condemnation. He is not permitted to die even once, less Scripture be broken and the writer of Hebrews be found false. As such, our concern is not so much about the rebellious yet, but about the wicked in our midst. For wickedness, which is the forsaking of God, must reach its highest zenith before rebellion can begin.

So, how then do we know who are the wicked – what do they look like; how do they speak and act; how do they preach and pray; how do they conduct their ministries; and what are they really like? The psalmist Asaph gave us a description of the wicked, for he said, no, he confessed, For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.[7] They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity[8]; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to Heaven, and their tongues take possession of the Earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. This is what the wicked are like—always carefree, they increase in wealth.[9]

Now, there are two groups of wicked people for you and me to contend with—those who are not God’s people who crave evil[10] and those who are of God’s people. We are not concerned about the wicked of the world; to them we need only to offer the Gospel, and if they believe, they are saved, and if they do not believe, they stand condemned.[11] That is why Jesus said, “I tell you, do not resist an evil person.”

An evil person is a wicked person who practises the evil he craves. Thus, with those who are of the world who crave evil, it is not our job to resist them, and I am speaking in the context of the church being at full power. For a saint at full power cannot be harmed by evil persons unless it is expressly permitted by God, no more than Jesus could have been crucified if He did not permit them to. So, it is not for us to rally and protest against those who are evil, but we are to rescue their victims as they cry out to the Lord. Thus, we need to look at how we are praying about those who are evil by Jesus’ definition.

An evil man is one whose heart is filled with the evils that Jesus Christ listed in Mark 7:23. And the evil of the world can be easily identified by their speech, for it is full of “evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.”[12]

However, the wicked amongst us, and even within each of us, are not so easily identified unless you apply the plumb line of the words of Jesus and its practice. Using the psalmist’s words first as our general guideline, those who are wicked amongst us have certain characteristics, which are:

1. prosperity

2. health and strength

3. ease from burdens and plagues

4. pride

5. violence

6. iniquity

7. no limit to their imaginations

8. speech that is scoffing and malicious

9. oppressive

10. claims on Heaven

11. possession of the Earth

12. their people turn to them

The key to understanding the characteristics of the wicked amongst us is to see these twelve characteristics of their life, and then see what Jesus defined by His word, which should be the characteristics of His called, chosen and faithful. For the wicked amongst us are really counterfeits. Just like a counterfeit dollar bill, which looks just like the real dollar bill, but the counterfeit dollar is designed to destroy the economy and the real dollar bill is designed to facilitate the economy. The counterfeit is designed to con people and to cause them to fear and lose trust in the real. So, likewise the behaviour of the wicked amongst us, those who forsake Christ yet use His Name, will generate fear and loss of trust amongst the people.

So, before we embark on a crusade of weeding out the wicked, for that is not our task; it is the work of the angels to weed the sons of the devil out of the Kingdom, not ours. And from the last teach, I hope you realise the sons of the devil amongst us are those who do not hold to the truth about themselves like the Jews of John 8 did not hold to the truth about themselves. So, the purpose of this teach and the subsequent lessons is to ensure we have removed the plank from ourselves and we have judged ourselves. As such, understanding who are the wicked and who are the rebellious is not so that we can point fingers at others, but to point the finger at ourselves.

For we all desire and should desire prosperity, health, strength, ease from burdens and plagues. We all should have pride in the Lord, be violent against the Lord’s enemies, and do not limit what we imagine the Lord can do. We can also speak in a way that sounds as if it is scoffing and malicious to others, even oppressive, and lay claim to Heaven and Earth, and have people turn to us. Indeed, the traits of the wicked can be the traits of those who are not wicked. So, how do we set them apart?

To simplify things, here is a comparative list for you to begin to think about the difference between those who forsake the Lord and those who do not forsake the Lord:

The Wicked

The Not-Wicked

1. Prosperity

They are focused on their own prosperity, even the prosperity of their own soul, spirit and flesh. For them, it is “God bless me…”

They are focused on the prosperity of the Soul of God, the Spirit of God and the flesh of God, Jesus, the Word who became flesh. For them, it is always, “Bless You God.”

2. Health

and

Strength

It is always their own healing they are concerned about. Their strength is displayed as a strength that sets them apart and higher than the rest of the body. A strength that divides and is good for a short burst. It stands only with success.

They have an attitude focussed on the health of the body of Christ, rather than their own personal health. Their strength is measured in endurance, patience and inseparability from the body. Their strength stands even in failures.

3. Ease

from burdens and plagues common to men

It is an ease where they lord it over those they serve, and while they devote themselves to the word of God, others sweat for their bread.

The ease of burden and freedom of plagues common to men is to drop their burden to shoulder the burden of Christ and others, to serve as Christ served, and to take His yolk and say, “It is easy.” They are plagued with things not common to men, like men who pray for others with fervent jealousy, and like men condemned to an arena.

4. Pride

Their pride is in their achievement in the Lord. “Their phylacteries are wide.” Matthew 23:5

Their pride is the Lord’s achievement in them. They seek to ensure the Lord’s phylactery is wide against the spiritual ream.

5. Violence

Against flesh and blood.

Against the spiritual realm.

6. Iniquity

For them, it is their will be done in Heaven as it is done on Earth.

No iniquity, for their heart always seeks His will on Earth. The “Amen” is the heart cry of their mouths.

7. No limit to their imagination

Except their imagination is always on how God would glorify and reward them. For them, “With man, nothing is impossible for God.”

Their imagination is always on how they can glorify and thank God. For them, “With God, nothing is impossible.”

8. Scoffing and malicious speech

Condemning those who do not agree with them.

Condemning those who do not agree with God.

9. Oppressive

To their people so that the people are fearful to leave them.

To their people so that the people are fearful to leave God.

10. Claims on Heaven

The present Heaven where Jesus is waiting to greet them.

The New Heavens where only the Holy Spirit can take them.

11. Possession of the Earth

To possess the Earth until they die.

To possess the Earth until Jesus arrives.

12. Their people turn to them

The wicked glories in the people turning to them.

People who turn to them are turned to the Lord for the true glory of the Lord.

 

These are but seed ideas for you to consider about wickedness, the God-forsaking propensity within us, that we may not repent of them, for there is no forgiveness for wickedness. But that we may ask and even beg God for mercy.

So, we see that our enemies are members of our own household, those who forsake Christ’s welfare within our midst, and we apply the second teaching of the Law of Jesus, the ‘Love of Enemies.’ “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”[13] “You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.”[14] And “I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven. He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous… Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”[15]

Our mercy to those who are ungrateful and wicked in the household is to warn them clearly of the coming sword,[16] and that sword is the one that comes out of Jesus’ mouth. Our mercy to ourselves is to be strict in our listening to Jesus, and to warn them to listen to Jesus fervently without compromise, and if they will not, then our mercy is to permit them to be harvested so as to escape the days of distress that are coming.

For the wicked know what they are doing—and for them, there is no forgiveness.


 

[1] Luke 23:34

[2] Jeremiah 5:26-29a

[3] Jeremiah 1:16

[4] Jeremiah 5:29b

[5] http://www.holyspiritsworkshop.com/word2007/19.05.2007_HardestTeachingsXVI.pdf

[6] Revelation 19:20

[7] Footnote: With a different word division of the Hebrew; Masoretic Text struggles at their death; / their bodies are healthy

[8] Footnote: Syriac (see also Septuagint); Hebrew Their eyes bulge with fat

[9] Psalm 73:3-10,12

[10] Proverbs 21:12

[11] John 3:18

[12] Mark 7:23

[13] Luke 6:35-36

[14] Luke 6:36 NLT

[15] Matthew 5:44-45,48

[16] Ezekiel 33:6

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