The Lord Will Not At All Acquit the Wicked

The prophet Nahum writes about the Lord's judgment against the Assyrian city of Nineveh (Nahum 1:1-2). In the context of Nahum's inspired writing he penned the following statement: "The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet" (Nahum 1:3). The Lord is most certainly a God of patience and He is very longsuffering not willing that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance (II Peter 3:9). However, God will not acquit the wicked who fail to repent of their sins. The fairness of God as a judge is shown in His willingness to award the righteous and punish the wicked (II Corinthians 5:10).

Many have lives that are just full of sin. They feel as though the Lord is going to forgive them regardless of their lack of obedience to Him. As Nahum said, God will not at all acquit the wicked. God sent His only begotten Son to die on Calvary's cross so that we could have the remission of sins through the shedding of the blood of Christ (Matthew 26:28 and Romans 5:6-9). God has provided man with the opportunity of salvation. It is our job to take the Lord up on His offer and change our lives that we may live according to His will.

Many suffer from the problem that Judah had. According to the pen of Jeremiah Judah chose not to change, but to walk according to their ways instead of the Lord's way (Jeremiah 8:5-6). So many refuse to change because they like their lives the way they are. Sometimes people are not even ashamed of their sins. Again, Judah suffered with this problem also. Jeremiah said this of Judah: "Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the Lord" (Jeremiah 8:12). For us to change we must learn to have sorrow over our sins, but we must also realize that being sorry and repenting are two different things. Paul wrote this of sorrow and repentance: "Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death" (II Corinthians 7:9-10). When we sin we must be sorry and allow that sorrow to work in us to bring about proper change.

We Must Repent of Our Sins

Jesus said: "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3). Many like to deny the words of Jesus not only in their words, but more significantly through their actions. It would seem that even Christians at times fail to acknowledge wrong in their lives. Even worse, sometimes Christians will acknowledge that they have sinned, but they in turn do nothing to change their lives.

We read throughout the New Testament how that repentance includes bringing forth fruit meet for repentance (Luke 3:8 and Acts 26:20). If one were to rob a bank and conclude that repentance does not include giving back what he or she has taken, the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles has fallen on deaf ears. If a husband were to commit adultery and expect his wife to accept his apology while he still kept his girlfriend, he would be sadly mistaken if that wife had any wisdom and knowledge of the word of God (Matthew 19:9; cf. I Corinthians 6:18). Change needs to be shown, not just spoken.

Some people have this idea that sin is measurable from greater to lesser sins. However, the word of God condemns the hateful people and liars right along with the murders and fornicators (I Corinthians 6:9-10 and Galatians 6:19-21). Sin is the transgression of God's law (I John 3:4). In all cases, sin condemns one who fails to repent (Romans 6:23). Isaiah said: "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear" (Isaiah 59:1-2). You would think that some Christians had never heard the two verses Isaiah penned that you just read. Sin causes the loss of one's soul because sin separates man from God.

When the Apostle Paul stood before Agrippa he made the following statement about his work of preaching: "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me" (Acts 26:18). When we sin we are walking in darkness. If we expect however to have ourselves returned to the light and enjoy the rich blessing of the forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ (I John 1:9); we must be willing to confess our sins (I John 1:9). How can any Christian think they will remain in darkness and God will remain in their lives? The pen of John declares the refutation of that false conclusion: "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth" (I John 1:5-6). However, even with the clarity of God's word, some still think that God's grace will cover their sins without having to repent of those sins.

Shall We Continue in Sin that Grace May Abound?

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness" (Romans 6:1-2; 15-16)? The Apostle Paul is very clear in declaring the ignorance of those who think they can continue in sin in hope that God's grace will abound. We learn throughout the word of God the need for us to repent of our sins. We cannot hope that God will choose to close his eyes and look the other way while we essentially crucify His Son upon the cross over and over again by our refusal to obey.

Five of the seven churches addressed in the second and third chapters of the book of Revelation were in error. According to the thinking process of some brethren, the Lord would just say they are weak and He will overlook their sins. This however, is not what the Lord did say then or would say now. Note the following:

1. Ephesus: "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent" (Revelation 2:5).

2. Pergamos: "Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth" (Revelation 2:16).

3. Thyatira: "And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. I will give unto every one of you according to your works" (Revelation 2:21; 23).

4. Sardis: "Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee" (Revelation 3:3).

5. Laodicea: "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent" (Revelation 3:19).


If we as Christians would spend more time trying to please God and less time trying to excuse our faults, we would not need to worry so much about our sins. The world has too much influence over the hearts and minds of some who have purposed to live their lives according to the will of God. When we are converted into Christ we are supposed to leave the world behind. As Paul said, and so we should know: "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" (Romans 6:17-18). Let us serve God and hate sin. In so doing, we truly will be the servants of righteousness. When we sin, let us confess those faults and make the appropriate changes so that Heaven will be our eternal home.

By Brian A. Yeager

Return to the General Articles page

Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /