He Flatters Himself in His Own Eyes

Psalms 36:1-4 ESV

“Transgression speaks to the wicked
deep in his heart;
there is no fear of God
before his eyes.
For he flatters himself in his own eyes
that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit;
he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
He plots trouble while on his bed;
he sets himself in a way that is not good;
he does not reject evil.”

The Wicked Defined

Let’s first off define “the wicked,” for the wicked are not just those who have made no profession of faith in Jesus Christ. According to the Scriptures, the wicked are those who behave wickedly, who practice evil deeds, for whom sin is their practice, not righteousness and holiness. So, “the wicked” can be both those who profess faith in Jesus and those who don’t, for it is not about lip service but it is about their mindset and how they live and what they do.

Transgressions are breaches of trust, rebellion, and rebellious acts. They are sinful acts and attitudes and mindsets. For we can sin and rebel in our minds and in our hearts without any visible evidence of sin, as well as we can sin and rebel outwardly as is evidenced by the things that we do. Now this is talking about sin/rebellion speaking deep into the hearts of the wicked, and the implication is that the wicked are listening to the voice of rebellion/sin.

And the result of the wicked listening to transgression (sin/rebellion) is that there is no fear of God before their eyes. They have no conscience at all about wrongdoing. They feel no pity nor compassion for those they sin against. They have no remorse, no guilt, nor shame. They do not honor or value God nor respect or reverence Him. And they don’t really believe God is going to send them to hell or else they don’t care if he does.

The wicked are full of pride and self-assuredness. They are very brazen in their wickedness in assuming that their sins, which they do in secret, will not be discovered. And the longer they are able to sin without being found out the more confident and bold and daring they become in the sins that they choose to carry out. And especially if they are able to convince others that they are intrinsically good, then they lack any fear of being discovered.

The wicked are very deceptive people who hide what they do in secret and often then put on an act of goodness or righteousness in order to fool others into believing they are good when they are evil to the core. Lying is what they practice and when they do tell the truth, often it is a mixture of lies and truth skillfully blended together so that the lies are not recognizable to the undiscerning. Their words cannot be trusted, but many do trust them.

The wicked are those who sin habitually, deliberately, and premeditatedly. They don’t accidentally sin. They plot out the sin they plan to commit in advance, and they plot out how they are going to carry it out, and how they are going to lie to cover it up, too. And then they carry out their evil as they had preconceived it while totally convinced in their pride that they will never be caught. And they do not care who gets hurt in the process.

The Enablers

So, then we have the enablers who coddle the wicked in their sin or who even create a path for them to follow which allows them to keep on in their sin without guilt and without shame. These enablers can be spouses or other family members or other professing Christians in the church. But a lot of them are pastors of churches who are teaching them a false gospel and who are giving them permission to continue in their sin guilt free.

For these pastors want people to be drawn to and attracted to their “churches,” and so they don’t want to offend anyone with the truth. And so they soft pedal the gospel or they agree to dilute it and to alter it to make it more appealing and acceptable to human flesh and to the people of the world. So, even though the wicked are drowning in their sin they do not throw them a lifeline but they cheer them on as they continue to drown.

For it is all about making people feel good even while they are drowning. And so they entertain them, and they tell them jokes, and they play music that stirs their emotions, and they give them pep talks, and they give them false hopes and false promises based on lies. And they tell them that everything will be alright and that one day they will go to heaven even though they are still living like hell on the earth.

Or they may place them in support groups where they can commiserate with other addicts but where they are not permitted to counsel one another with the Scriptures to help one another to be free from their addictions. And so week after week they give reports of whether or not they failed the previous week, and they have discussions about various topics, but no one is being shown how to live and walk in freedom and to no longer be addicts.

And then the pastors are teaching them the “cheap grace gospel,” which is a cheapened form of God’s true grace. And they are telling them that they can “believe” (undefined) in Jesus, have their sins forgiven, escape hell, and be guaranteed heaven when they die regardless of how they live their lives while they are still on the earth. So, they give them carte blanche to continue living in sin while promising them salvation from sin.

And so the people are convinced that they can believe in Jesus and keep on in their deliberate and habitual sins and that it is all covered by God’s grace, and so their continued sins will not impact their eternal security. But they are believing a lie. For the truth is that if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin, and if we do not walk in obedience to our Lord, and if we do not do what he says to do that we do not have salvation from sin nor the hope of eternal life with God.

[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:16; Rom 8:3-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Matt 7:21-23]

The Truth of the Gospel

The gospel of Jesus Christ is not just about forgiveness of sins and the promise of heaven when we die. The gospel teaches us that Jesus Christ put our sin to death with him on that cross so that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. By faith in Jesus Christ we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness.

Our old self is crucified with Christ in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we will no longer be enslaved to sin but to God and to his righteousness. That then leads to sanctification and its end is eternal life with God. Thus, we are to no longer let sin reign in our mortal bodies to make us obey its passions, for sin is to no longer have dominion over us, and Jesus is to be our only Lord (Owner-Master).

For Jesus said that if anyone would come after him that he must deny self and take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self we will lose them for eternity. But if we die with Christ to sin then we have eternal life with God provided that we also walk in obedience to his commands and that we continue in those walks of faith until the very end.

[Jn 8:31-32,51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 11:17-24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 5:9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:1-5; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Jas 1:21-25; Eph 4:17-24]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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