The reward of the righteous and the wicked is the theme of Proverbs 11:30-31. The righteous, redeemed and their sins forgiven through the blood of Christ, are assured a heavenly reward, but the wicked are warned they will have their day of judgment before the God of Heaven.
Proverbs 11:30 – “The fruit [reward] of the righteous is a tree of life [the life of the righteous bear fruit that endures]; and he that winneth [grasp, attract, reach out to] souls is wise.”
This verse uses the portrait of a fruit-bearing tree to remind us that every life bears fruit; the lost bear the bitter fruit of sin that ends in death (“For the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23a) and the righteous are like a tree that bears fruit that promises life.
The Apostle Paul, using the image of a farmer grafting olive branches from a cultivated tree into a wild tree (Romans 11:17-24), reminded Gentile Christians that apart from Christ they were like wild branches whose lives bear undesirable fruit, unworthy of God. However, grafted into Christ, the born-again Christian not only has life, but bears the spiritual fruit that attracts lost souls [“and he that winneth souls is wise”].
Proverbs 11:31 – “Behold, the righteous [just; upright before God] shall be recompensed [rewarded] in the earth: much more the wicked [ungodly; guilty] and the sinner [violated God’s Law].”
The lives of the righteous in Christ (righteous not because of good works, but because of God’s grace and mercy – Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-9) are promised they will be judged for their works. The fiery test of God’s judgment will prove, put to the test, a Christian’s works (1 Corinthians 3:12-13) and only that which is good, righteous and free from sin will pass the test of God’s judgment.
Solomon taught his son that God’s chastening and judgment of His people should serve as a warning to lost sinners that they will bear God’s judgment and we know the end of that judgment will be hell. Peter wrote the same in his first epistle: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17)
I close with a sobering, prophetic warning of God’s final day of judgment.
Revelation 20:11-15 – “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 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. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith