Righteousness guards the one whose way is blameless, but wickedness subverts the sinner. (Proverbs 13:6)
The difference between a righteous and a wicked sinner is found in what they practice. I am a righteous sinner, in that the effects of sin still affect me from time to time. The only righteous thing about me is the forgiveness I can receive based on the righteousness of Christ. On the cross He became sin that I may become the righteousness of Christ. I am tempted to practice sinful acts willingly that I once did without recognizing the sinfulness. I was once a sinner that practiced sin continually…it was my nature…it was all I knew. But now I am different. I am still a sinner but there is a new reality. Righteousness lives in me…and motivates me to make righteous choices…with the goal of the righteousness of Christ in view. Therefore, a righteous sinner may still sin from time to time, but the righteousness within reveals the path. Righteousness within us is like a spiritual GPS device directing the path. And when I stray off the path, righteousness shows me the way back to it. Righteousness is like the guardrails upon my life.
Contrast that with the life of the wicked sinner. Since there is no deterrent to wicked, or sinful, living, or motivation to live blamelessly, the wicked sinner has no restraint to his wickedness. In fact, the wickedness within is a powerful subversive force. Subversion is especially destructive. It destroys from within…imploding to reveal its emptiness. There is no righteousness that resides in the wicked sinner. Nothing to guard and guide the way. The subversive practice of wickedness is self-inflicted and self-destructive. Self-destruction is deceptive. Like the denial of a terminal disease, we will not believe we are dying and we do not need treatment for our condition. Sin is subversive. In the practice of it, we are destroying ourselves. It’s because we have believed that we are not as bad as we really are…while wickedness is loose…eating away and eroding our lives. We will lie to ourselves when we practice wickedness. Wickedness within cannot tell the truth. Righteousness has not been received. Subversion, intentionally undermining something to cause it to fall, is like termites gnawing at the structure of your house…it will crumble long before its shelf life is set to expire. Don’t die before your time. Seek first the Kingdom of God…and His righteousness. Wickedness eats its way out…of house and home. The Father's House and the Kingdom of God should be our terminal destination.