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SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS

"The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican." LUK 18:11.

Spiritual wickedness grows from the seeds of the law of sin and the corruption in the heart. The fall of Adam left man dependent upon restraining grace to be kept from the same potential for wickedness as the Devil himself. This is something that we must understand. When we speak of spiritual wickedness, we have to understand that our heart in the fallen condition, outside of restraining grace, has the same potential of devilism as Satan himself!

We may have a tendency to look down on somebody who the Lord has allowed to fall, but we have to understand that it is only God's restraining grace that has preserved us. Otherwise we too would fall to that level or worse. This is why we can never say, "Raca." We can never look down on a fellow man that the Lord has given less grace and allowed to stoop lower into the fall of sin. We can't say, "Raca." We can't demean his character, because if we stand, it is only by grace that we stand.

Spiritual wickedness in the heart is evident from self-righteousness. Let's identify what some of these spiritual wickednesses in the hearts of men are. It is evident with self-righteousness. What is the first thing that we see with self-righteousness? We compare ourselves with others, calling our brother "Raca." We exalt ourselves above the other man. We esteem ourselves above him. We look at the one below us as Raca, as though he is empty and we aren't. That is the first evidence of self-righteousness.

Thinking of that, read LUK 18:11. "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are...." In the beginning of his prayer, he is comparing himself with other men. He isn't comparing himself with the authority of the Word of God. He seemingly thought that he was better than his fellow man. That is the first sign of self-righteousness. If we are in our right place, we will compare ourselves with the Word of God. We can see how far we have fallen short. All that we can say is, "Unclean! Unclean!" When we start comparing ourselves with our fellow man, there is the seed of spiritual wickedness. What did the Pharisee say? "God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican."

The Pharisee thought that he was just. He thought that he was better than who he thought to be an extortionist. The Pharisee exalted himself by comparing himself to his fellow man. In each instance, the Pharisee is calling, "Raca." The Pharisee is putting himself above his fellow man. The Pharisee thought he was better than that publican who, "...smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner." The Pharisee could even say, "Raca" to that publican. However, the publican went home justified rather than the Pharisee!

Spiritual wickedness of the heart is that self-righteousness of comparing oneself with another man. Anytime that we compare ourselves with another man in our heart, it is a seed of self-righteousness. It doesn't matter who the person is. If we think we are better than he is, that is the seed of self-righteousness. That is spiritual wickedness.

To humble a self-righteous sinner, he must come to see the spiritual nature of his sin, not the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law. That spiritual wickedness is transgressing the spiritual nature of the law. MAT 5:27-28 says, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." The Lord Jesus Christ is setting forth the spiritual nature of the law. He is pointing out that we are committing murder in our heart when we look down at a fellow man and call, "Raca." That is spiritual wickedness in the heart.

Spiritual wickedness of the heart is that self-righteousness of comparing oneself with another man. Anytime that we compare ourselves with another man in our heart, it is a seed of self-righteousness. It doesn't matter who the person is. If we think we are better than he is, that is the seed of self-righteousness. That is spiritual wickedness.

The first work of the Holy Spirit is to convince of sin. If we have grace in our heart by the work of the Holy Spirit, the first thing He does is convince us of our sin. Then we can stand as the publican who, "...smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner." Then we cannot exalt ourselves above any other man.

JOH 16:8 says, "And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." JOH 16:11 says, "Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged." This means his throne in our heart has been overthrown, and we can no longer serve him as our prince. We are now serving the Prince of Peace.

How do we identify spiritual wickedness in our heart? Spiritual wickedness in the heart is evident from secret sins. Moses cries out unto the Lord over secret sins in PSA 90:7-8. "For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled. Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance." Secret sin is a horrible, grievous sin because we don't keep anything secret from the Lord. Our secret sin is to the Lord most grievous. It is spiritual wickedness to pretend before the world that we are something that we are not.

We must search God's Word to find out our secret sins. "For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart," HEB 4:12. We need the Holy Word of God to sort out our secret sins. It is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. We must use the Word of God to identify the spiritual wickedness in our soul. We must see the spiritual wickedness that is still there. V:13, "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." Every thought of the heart is naked and open before His eyes. Amen.

O Lord, thou Judge of all the earth,
To whom al vengeance doth belong,
Arise and show thy glory forth,
Requite the proud, condemn the wrong.
How long, O Lord, in boastful pride
Shall wicked men triumphant stand?
How long shall they afflict thy saints
And scorn thy wrath, thy dreadful hand?
The Lord will judge in righteousness,
From him all truth and knowledge flow;
The foolish thoughts of wicked men,
How vain they are the Lord doth know.
That man is blest whom thou, O Lord,
With chastening hand dost teach thy will,
For in the day when sinners fall
That man in peace abideth still.
Unless the Lord had been my Help,
My life had quickly passed away;
But when my foot had almost slipped,
O Lord, thy mercy was my stay.


Our sermons and devotions are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a  daily devotion and sermon notes on-line. We pray this devotion has been a blessing to those who read it. Thank you.

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