June 28, 2013
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Psalm 1 presents a contrast between a sinner and a godly person. The first three verses are describing the obedient believer, the last three, the unbeliever. But the psalm starts the contrast in verse 1 by telling us what the godly one does not do:
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands
in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful….
And this negative description shows us the Sinner’s Progression. We will consider the three steps described, but from the positive prospective:
• First, the sinner “…walks…in the counsel of the ungodly….” It may be he is out
for an evening stroll, but he passes by a group of two or three ungodly people who
are making plans to do some dark deed. He overhears them speaking, and the
This one who is called a sinner may not have started out planning to sin. But he
walks where sinners congregate, and that is his mistake! It is like the alcoholic
who is on the wagon for a few days of sobriety so far. But he just wants to walk
down the street where is located the old haunt of his favorite bar. He has no
intention of going into the place, but he just wants to walk by, for old time’s sake…
• Second, this ungodly one “…stands in the path of sinners….” He was just walk-
ing by, but now he stops – just to hear what these rascals are planning! Oh, he’s
not going to join in their evil plotting, but what’s the harm in just listening to
what they are scheming?
Back to our lately-sober alcoholic – As he walks by his old hang-out, he sees through
the window some of his former drinking buddies bellying up to the bar, enjoying a
drink or two, and he remembers the comradeship that used to be part of his own life
not so long ago. He stops to listen – not to go in and join the party, but just to listen
to their talk, just to call to mind old times and friendships…
• Third, this unbeliever with perhaps good intentions, “…sits in the seat of the
scornful….” The old sinful nature kicks in and soon he finds himself sitting down
with those planning evil. He is now part of their nefarious band, planning dark
deeds with them and ready to join them in carrying out those plans.
Having gone into the bar – just to say hello to his old buddies, you see – this one so
soon sober now takes a seat on his favorite stool at the bar. And what harm would it
be to order just one beer – just one? You know the rest of the story!!!
I think you can easily see the Sinner’s Progression in Psalm 1:1. In short, it is walking, standing, sitting. It is giving into temptation by degrees! Now I call this blog the Sinner’s Progression, but it applies to any Christian because we all retain the sinful nature even though – according to II Corinthians 5:17 – we also have been given a new nature. Paul, Galatians 5:16 and 17, summarizes the cause of the struggle:
I say then, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and
these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you
Walk, stand and sit – the Sinner’s Progression. It is better – much better – to not even walk near where they are gathered who are planning sinful deeds! And if you find yourself in such a place where those kinds of evil deeds are being schemed – Paul has one powerful word of advice in I Corinthians 10:14: “…flee….”!