The world is a wicked place.
- Political corruption.
- Violent hatred between skin colors.
- Persecution of Christians.
- People condemning each other because of different opinions about COVID.
- Trafficking of children and women.
- Vulgarity all around.
- Media and movies promoting immorality as normal and expected.
Why are people so wicked?
Throughout the Bible—since the fall into sin, that is—and in every age of humankind, worldly wickedness has been a problem. Not just in the dark corners, but in neighborhoods, in schools, in government, and yes even in the church and in Christian families.
It hurts. It’s hard. Jesus addressed it during his ministry with clear teaching, warning, and promises. And he ultimately acted in response to wickedness by becoming its victim. Jesus saves us from wickedness.
So why is there still such wickedness in the world? Why are people so wicked?
It is not the power of wickedness that forces anyone to become wicked. Rather, it is personal choice.
“Wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved … all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:10,12).
God’s truth—his essence as God; his characteristics of holiness, justice and love; his threats and promises; his salvation through Jesus Christ; his holy words of Scripture—is for everyone. God loves everyone and wants everyone to be saved and to believe the truth (John 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:4).
Why are people wicked? Why will the perish if they persist in wickedness? Because they have not believed these truths. Their problem isn’t the assault of wickedness all around. “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” Their problem is refusing the goodness of God.
What should we do?
Hold onto God’s truth and goodness, people.
Yes, be aware of wickedness. Yes, call out wickedness. Yes, fight against wickedness. Yes, support causes that keep people safe from wickedness. But none of these by themselves will save you or rescue the wicked. Only God’s truth will do that.
Do you believe in God and his truth? Listen to these encouraging words of promise for you, “loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions” (2 Thessalonians 2:13-15).
What should we do about wickedness?
- Believe the truths of God for yourself, that he loves you, forgives you, and calls you to Jesus Christ and the mission of his kingdom.
- Believe the truth about wickedness, where it comes from, and why it prevails. It rejects God and his truth.
- Believe that God’s truth is more powerful than wickedness, and share the truth with the wicked. Show it to them by your behavior. Talk to them about it. Share blogs and posts and biblical content. Cheer for your church.
- Believe that God truly wants his people to make a difference. Believe that others might make a difference in a different way than you make a difference. You might volunteer. They might fervently post on Facebook. You pray with more passion. They think with more passion. You jump in. They patiently observe. Your preach. They read. You wear the T-shirt. They donate behind the scenes.
Wickedness doesn’t have its way, and doesn’t stand a chance with God. But until Judgment Day when the final condemnation of wickedness will be pronounced forever, God wants the wicked to repent and come to him.
So believe the truth. Stand firm in your faith. And hold on tightly to the Word of God.
Dear God, in the history of this world, you have taken serious action against wickedness. You sent the flood. Then you also sent your Son as the ultimate victim of wickedness to save us all. Teach me how to handle the wicked, by handling your truth. Save me. Strengthen me. And help me make a difference. Amen.
Did you know how federal agents and bankers are taught to recognize counterfeit cash? Instead of a course on all the different kinds of methods and markings of fake money, they are taught to pay attention to how real money feels in their hands, sounds when it’s handled, how it looks in the light and even smells. Then, as they develop a keen sense for what is genuine, they know that everything else is fake.
Meditate on this. What does it mean for how you handle the Word of God, and how you handle wickedness?