In Psalm 1 it speaks of four different groups of people.
Here is their meaning.

Psalm 1

1 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;

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

3 He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

4 The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.

5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Certainly you have heard of this psalm at some point in your Christian walk. It is used primarily to encourage people to read and study their bible. Within this psalm is a very special message which too often is overlooked and missunderstood because most translations mix meanings of the hebrew words. In studying the use of the hebrew and checking sriptures throughout the word I discovered something quite interesting.

We do not understand the idea of who are the three groups of people being refered to in the first verse.

  1. ungodly
  2. sinners
  3. scornful

Each of these three groups depict something which is unique and distinc from one another. The problems of one are not the same as for the others for they show quite different relationships with God.

The Ungodly

The ungodly are those who are not in a covenant relationship with God. There are good and bad people in this group. Some may be the nicest and most caring people that you know. This group does not have sin imputed to them for sin is the transgression of the law. Where there is no law sin is not imputed.

The Sinners

Those who have entered into a covenant relationship with God are the only ones where sin can be imputed. Why? Because they have received the commandments of God and are then held accountable to walk by them.

The Scornful - the wicked

This group is a very special group indeed. These are those who were under a covenant relationship and scorn the law of God. It is this group that is made up of those individuals who are mentioned in Hebrews. Not only do they know the law and at one time were bound to it, yet at some point they have utterly rejected the truth and have trod the blood of the covenant underfoot. For these there remains no more sacrifice but a fear and dread that will consume them in the judgement. These I will refer to as "The Wicked."

Then there is...

The Righteous

Here are the ones who have nothing to fear from God. It is they who are under a covenant relationship with God and do their best to follow its directions. They are those who follow the command of Jesus to love and who are led by the Spirit of God. They do all they can to walk according to what they have been taught. Though they may fall occassionally they are not lost. These are those who strive to do all they can based on their knowledge and understanding of the covenant they are under.

Each of these groups are represented as having a different kind of walk.

The Ungodly - Walks in the way of the ungodly.

These have no knowledge of the covenant. They do not know and / or believe in the bible and what it says. They walk according to this world yet they also follow some of the things of God without knowing it. Paul refers to these as those who not knowing the law still do the things that the law requires. This is easiest done in a Christian society where the idea of what is right and wrong is the influence of the bible without knowing it is the bible.

The Sinner - Stands in the path of the sinner.

These have a knowledge of the covenant. They know and believe what the bible says. Yet they will walk according to this world and only give lip service to the things of God and His word. Best behaved around other Christians yet in the world their walk is void of God and His ways. They divide their life into two camps, things Christian and the rest of their lives.

The Wicked - Sits in the seat of the scornful.

These have a good grasp of the kingdom of God and His word. They have tasted of the good things to come. They know the power of God. Yet for all this knowledge they have turned their backs on God and His way and do despise the cross. It is they that trod the blood of Jesus under foot. Understand, for these people their is no more remission of sins. They are the apostates of the church and are hell bent to the lake of fire. They are the scornful, the jokers of things holy, the profaners, blasphemers.

The Righteous - Planted by the riverside.

These are the ones who will open their bibles and read for themselves what the scriptures say. They listen to others and weigh the truth of the statements. They seek to understand and are not afraid to change their minds when new insight is given. They seek to follow God and His word with all the strength they can muster. They have a heart to understand what the bible is saying.

It is interesting to note that in verse 4 the writer wraps the ungodly, the sinner and the scornful (wicked) together and say that they are like the chaff which is blown away by the wind. Whereas the righteous are firmly planted in the ground. In the mellinial kingdom that the Lord will establish upon His return the way of the righteous will be the rule of the day. As for the way of the ungodly... it will perish.

Many of us wait for the return of our Lord from heaven to establish His kingdom here upon the earth. What a glorious time that will be. Yet many think that everything will be just rosy. The knowledge of His way will indeed be known throughout the earth. True again that nothing will cause hurt nor harm in the mount of God. Yet will you also understand that there is going to be sin still in the world and many will continue to walk in the flesh. Why else would our Lord have to rule with a rod of iron?(Psalm 2.8-9)(Rev 2.26-27)(Rev 12.5)(Rev 19.15) Why the warnings to those who will not come up during the Feast of Tabernacles.(Zech 14.16-19) At that time sin will not be allowed to flourish. It will be dealt with immediately.

What will be the rule of the day? That the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement. That sinners will not be in the congregation of the righteous. The righteous will be pillars in the house of God.

Then as now, those who will not accept the Lordship and covenant of God will not stand in times of judgement. They will perish from the earth. The sinners? They will be in the earth as they are now yet they will not be standing in the congregation of the righteous. These are those who will not be able to come to the mount of God. They are on the outside looking in, not a part of the good things for those who believe and obey.

About the ungodly? Perhaps their eyes will be open and they will join us in the great congregation. Today, the sinners stand with the righteous. Will they repent and cling to our God and obey His word? Perhaps, there is still time for repentance. The wicked? They are already damned and await their judgement. As for the righteous? They grow in the grace of God and in the knowledge of His ways. They are safe in the Father's arms.

How do you stand in relation to the kingdom?

The wicked are dead already.

The righteous have life in Him.

As for the rest... believe and repent. Why should you be lost (ungodly) or stand on the outside (sinner). Come. Enter in. There is more to be gained and little to lose.

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Author: Joseph Raymond

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Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ´Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000.´

NOTE: There may be some who will disagree with the categories I have listed. All I can recommend to you is that you do the same study that I have undertaken. Get yourself a Strong's exhaustive concordance with a hebrew dictionary. Check every use of the words ungodly, sinner, wicked and break them down into lists by their hebrew word. Then with this list and dictionary check each verse to see how it is used in context. Before long you too will gain a better understanding of these three words.