Proverbs 11:3-11 contains a series of proverbs that contrast the life of the righteous and the way of the wicked. We noted in an earlier devotion: A man’s spiritual character is his moral GPS. In the same manner you and I get our trip plan from a GPS by typing in our current location and destination, our character and spiritual destination direct our “turn by turn” decisions in life. Solomon writes, “The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them” (Proverbs 11:3).
Proverbs 11:4-5 – “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth [saves] from death [hades]. 5 The righteousness of the perfect[blameless]shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.”
The “day of wrath” referenced in Proverbs 11:4 is the day God has set for judging the ungodly. Some have foolishly and tragically been led to believe in soul annihilation—teaching that a man’s soul and consciousness cease to exist when he dies. The Bible teaches the opposite of that false doctrine and I would suggest my reader has an innate consciousness of the eternal and the judgment of God seeded in his/her soul. The story of Lazarus and the Rich man (Luke 16:19-31) stands out as a vivid reminder that hell is a literal place of fire and judgment reserved for the devil, his demons and lost sinners who are physically and eternally tormented in the flames and darkness of hell (Matthew 8:12).
Solomon taught his son that no amount of gold, silver and possessions could appease the wrath of a Holy God. Read with me a few of the many verses in the Bible that unequivocally set forth the wrath and judgment of God upon the ungodly.
Matthew 25:31-33 – “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.”
Hebrews 9:27 – “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”
Jude 1:14-15 – “…Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
Revelation 20:12-15 – “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works…15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Riches cannot appease God’s wrath when His longsuffering has been exhausted; however, righteousness delivers and saves a man from the wrath of God’s judgment.
This righteousness and perfection does not arise from man’s own effort or inherent goodness. In fact, every man is a sinner and wholly incapable of being righteous or perfect by his own works.
Romans 3:10 – “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:”
Romans 3:20 – “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
The righteousness that delivers a man’s soul from God’s judgment, gives him a new nature and a heavenly destination is the righteousness imputed [credited to one’s account] by God through the sacrifice, death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. This salvation is freely offered as an act of God’s Grace to all who receive His Son as Savior.
Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Titus 3:5 – “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”
There are not enough riches in the world to purchase a drop of water or mercy for a lost soul in the midst of eternal hell. Christ however, bore the wrath of God for man’s sin by His death on the cross…it is His righteousness, not man’s riches or works that gives a man right standing with a Holy God.
I urge you to confess your sin and believe that Jesus Christ, the perfect sinless Son of God, bore the penalty of your sin on the Cross, died and rose from the dead. It is the righteousness of Christ that “delivereth from death” and hell.
Acts 16:30-31 – “What must I do to be saved? …31 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”