Salvation of the Righteous Necessarily
Brings Destruction of the Wicked
by Stuart DiNenno
“Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness…” (Romans 11:22)
The Bible plainly testifies that in the Lord’s accomplishment of the salvation of the godly there is necessarily a corresponding work of the destruction of the ungodly. This is the contrast between the goodness and severity of God of which Paul is speaking in Romans 11, and it is a principle that was exemplified from the very beginning when God declared that the salvation of the seed of the woman would come through the bruising of the serpent’s head, representing the salvation of Christ’s church being being brought in by the destruction of the forces of Satan. It was further manifested when the saving of righteous Noah and his family was accomplished by the wicked being overwhelmed in the flood, when the deliverance of the children of Israel came through the drowning of the Egyptian army in the waters of the Red Sea, when God promised both victory to the Israelites and their peaceful possession of the land upon the condition that they utterly annihilate the Canaanites (and by the troubles that came upon them for failing to carry out that command), and when the Christians who heeded Christ’s prophetic words were spared from God’s wrath when Jerusalem was razed by the Romans while its unbelieving inhabitants were either slaughtered or enslaved. It will be likewise at the end of the age. The righteous will be resurrected to a glorious state of eternal blessedness but not without the wicked being raised to an ignominious state of eternal punishment.
So we see that the salvation of the godly must be accompanied by the destruction of the ungodly. What can we further glean from this truth? One thing we can come to understand is that it is not the will of God that there be a peaceful coexistence between the righteous and the wicked. In order for the godly to flourish, the ungodly must be destroyed. Our mission is not to make peace with the wicked but to overcome them. In the gospel era this primarily means militating against them by preaching the truth in opposition to their lies. As we do so, the Holy Spirit effectually works in the hearts of men to convert them and then continues to increasingly work sanctification in them. Once converted, they are to be discipled in principles of Christian living which includes raising up children, as many as God will give, to whom are also taught the same principles and who also likewise multiply themselves. By this means, along with the church raising up faithful men to preach the gospel and make converts, the kingdom expands, biblical principles of living, including law and justice, are instituted, and eventually the forces of evil are subjugated.
But make no mistake about it, the kingdom of God cannot be advanced without war against the ungodly. Satan is going to marshal his armies to do everything he can to oppose it and drive it back, just as he has been doing for the past two thousand years. This not only involves the warfare of a multitude of attempts to subvert the truth through an enormous flood of lies, both within and without the church, but also literal physical warfare. The blood of untold numbers of saints has been spilled by the Anti-Christs and this will continue until their final defeat.
Seeing then that it is ordained by God for the righteous to be at war against the wicked and that victory must come by way of the destruction of the Anti-Christs, we also come to understand that those are in grave error who try to establish an armistice with the ungodly world by compromising the gospel message in a way that it becomes inoffensive to the goats because it does not expose their wickedness and so also fails to bring forth the necessary fruit of repentance toward God. Likewise, those also err who try to avoid conflict by retreating into a pietistic bubble, still preaching much truth but acting as though the outside world does not exist and so refusing to speak out against the evils occurring around them, not recognizing that those evils left unchallenged will eventually overwhelm them. Both are examples of blatant infidelity.
Christians must come to understand that there is a complete antithesis between those who are the children of God and those who are the children of the devil. The gospel is a call of salvation to the sheep who have gone astray; the gospel is not a call to the goats who cannot ever be made into sheep. The latter are the intractable enemies of the former and are “the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction” (Romans 9:22). They cannot possibly be won over or appeased, and we commit sin anytime we compromise our message in an attempt to do so, or shrink back from confronting evil in our society because we fear them.