Psalms 1 is a comprehensive outline of all humanity. According to this text, there are only two kinds of people on this earth. They are the Righteous and the Wicked/ Sinner. We are all either one of these. There is no in-between, no grey areas.
The most significant verse to me is verse 5. “Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” At this point, it is essential to realize that in the Bible, the word “sinner” is used in a very technical way. It is ALWAYS used to describe the unregenerate, never the believer. It is, however, used very loosely today sometimes to refer to someone who sins. For a comprehensive break down refer to John MacArthur’s article: https://www.gty.org/library/bibleqnas-library/QA0190/turning-back-a-sinner)
The believer, who is a saint, cannot be a sinner. A saint can sin. But it does not make him a sinner. A sinner is without God and Christ. If we are unclear of this definition, then verse 5 will confuse us because it links the wicked to the sinner. If we go around calling ourselves as sinners while we believe in Christ, then we will be stuck with the interpretation of this verse.
Verse 5 tells me a few truths:
- There are non-believers of Christ right next to us in our church congregation
- While on the surface they appear to believe, this text tells me that God knows who they are. He “knows our ways.” We cannot fool Him.
- The gospel must be at the center of every conversation at church. Because it is deadly to assume everyone at church is saved. The Gospel must be preached. Even as I speak to friends at church, it is an important reminder for me to keep Christ at the center for the sake of our souls.
- The warning that God knows all our hearts must be preached. Warnings are a gift from God to keep us on track. His sheep will respond to his warnings and return to Him. Non believers in our midst will hear these warnings, and we hope that God will turn their hearts towards Him. This means that it will be utterly irresponsible of me to assume all who comes to church and community group is saved and ignore the warnings in scripture. It is uncomfortable to read and share about warnings, but if we do so, we are risking souls. Warnings must be taught as per scripture as much as comforting truths of God’s love and mercy. Half-truths must be avoided at all costs. (Matt 7:21-23)
- This text tells me what I have to do to be blessed. God’s word is clear on what actions I need to undertake. It is on my onus to obey his commands.
Father, help me love your word and meditate on it day and night. Without your spirit, the flesh is weak.