The Righteous and The Wicked
In Scripture, Our Father informs us of many observable actions which reveal who the righteous and the unrighteous are. A common theme we witness in scripture is the difference between how the righteous vs the unrighteous treat the poor.
Proverbs 29:7 says “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.”
The righteous are naturally eager to lift the poor from their suffering and actively participate in doing so. The unrighteous may claim to care, even know it is right to help, but ultimately do nothing for them.
What are some other differences?
“The wicked borrow and do not repay,
but the righteous give generously;” – Psalm 37:21
“The righteous care for the needs of their animals,
but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.” – Proverbs 12:10
“Better the little that the righteous have
than the wealth of many wicked;” – Psalm 37:16
“The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry,
but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.” – Proverbs 10:3
“The wages of the righteous is life,
but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death.” – Proverbs 10:16
“The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.” – Proverbs 3:33
“Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished,
but those who are righteous will go free.” – Proverbs 11:21
One major sign that someone is still wicked though they claim to be righteous, is that when Grace is shown to them, they continue living in disobedience!
“But when grace is shown to the wicked,
they do not learn righteousness;
even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil
and do not regard the majesty of the Lord.” – Isaiah 26:10
Are the righteous of the OT different from the righteous of the NT?
Yes and No, Jesus has come so that man might believe in Him and be completely forgiven of all sin and welcomed to Heaven instead of Abraham’s Bosom, however what has not changed is the way the righteous live!! That never changed! Grace did not show up to release the righteous from living righteously!
“Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.” – 1 John 3:7
“On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. 18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” – Malachi 3:17-18
What lead to God making this statement? (In context)
“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned awayfrom my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.
“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’
“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.” – Malachi 3:6-12
What was and is the tithe for?
“When you have finished setting aside a tenth of all your produce in the third year, the year of the tithe, you shall give it to the Levite, the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.” – Deuteronomy 26:12
“At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.” – Deuteronomy 14:28-29
After the Prophet Malachi, God was silent for 400 years. Then He showed up again, in Jesus the Messiah, and started saying it again.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” – Matthew 23:25-28
The writer of Matthew makes a distinction between the righteous and wicked, the writer of Luke then takes it a step further and records a powerful record of what Christ said to the Pharisees during this confrontation.
“Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.
42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.” – Luke 11:39-42
The truth has never changed. Whether we see it in many passages or we read only one proverb, the truth is the truth.
“The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” – Proverbs 29:7