"The ungodly are not so — but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous." Psalm 1:4-5
The ungodly — who are they?
I know full well who are uppermost in your minds. I no sooner mentioned the text, and spoke about the doom of the ungodly, than you began to think of the vile and the brutalized characters whose deeds of cruelty make up that shameful list of 'crimes of violence' now appearing in our papers day by day. And side by side with them, you doubtless thought of the drunkard, pouring down his throat the liquid fire to better qualify himself for the devil's work! And you thought of brazen-faced harlotry and open immorality and of those who are steeped to the lips in sin — and of those who live, as they say, 'for time — and let eternity look after itself'. These are the characters you pictured when we read the word 'ungodly'. Well, you are right, they are ungodly.
But I am certain that all I have mentioned fail to compose one-tenth part of those who are legitimately to be included in the catalogue of the ungodly. Remember this: that a man may be ungodly, without being any of the characters that I have mentioned! An ungodly man is simply a man who tries to get through the world without God. It is not necessary for a man's life to be a shame and a disgrace, for him to be ungodly. It is not necessary for him to be steeped in all sorts of vice, in order to be without God.
I will go further, and venture to assert that a man may be most moral — and yet most ungodly. While vile immorality has slain its thousands; a godless morality has slain its tens of thousands! And for one that is dragged down to perdition by the mill-stone of vice — there are hundreds who are taken in the meshes of the net of a Christless virtue. A man may be honest in all his transactions, pure in his language, chaste in his thoughts, an honorable man in all his business dealings — just the very one you would like to trade with — his word may be his bond, and all his actions fair — and yet come under the designation of the ungodly. It is with him, simply morality, skin deep; there has been nothing of regeneration within, without which it is impossible for a man to enter into the kingdom.
Look into his character, and you will find that he is ungodly in every part of his life. Inspect all his motives, and you will find that he never does a thing for God's sake. There is no fear of God before his eyes; there is no reverence for God within his heart. He may be gentle, amiable, moral — a good sort of man as far as this world's goodness is concerned. He would be all right, if a man could be all right without God — but he belongs to the ungodly.
We will go one step further, and say that a man may be most religious — and yet be most ungodly. I can conceive of a man being a most talented preacher — and yet being ungodly. It may be that he has a natural liking and gift for speaking; and he may, perhaps, take a very great deal of interest in the increase of his denomination and the outward mechanism of his church — but for all that he is totally devoid of the life of God within his soul.
Oh, pass the question around, I beg you — you who have made profession of the Lord Jesus Christ for years. Have you got something more than the mere name to live? Are you yet — (oh, can it be?) — ungodly, though a professing Christian — ungodly though once immersed in the name of Christ — ungodly, though your life is almost a pattern for the very best of Christians? The question is, have you God or not? For my text is not about the immoral, the profane, or the criminal — but about those who, whatever else they have, possess not God.
Except from, "The Ungodly and Their End!"
by Archibald Brown, 1874