Friday, April 8, 2011

Treasures Gained by Wickedness do not Profit


“Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit” (Proverbs 10:2)

In many of the Proverbs we see the contrast between the wise and the foolish. The wise person does one thing while the foolish person does the opposite. These are clear black and white truths which ought to challenge our hearts to see whether we are walking in the way of wisdom or acting as a fool. The fool lives in a way that is wicked because it is in contrast to God’s way of righteousness.

If anyone in all of Scripture understands the treasures of this world it is the writer of this Proverb. Solomon was a man who had all this world had to offer. If you remember the theme of Ecclesiastes is the fact that nothing under the sun will ever satisfy a person completely because the world can only offer temporal pleasures which will burn in the end. Solomon had it all and his conclusion at the end of the book is, “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecc. 12:13). The way to find true joy is to fear God and obey what he commands. This is where true life is found. But here in this Psalm Solomon warns that “treasures gained by wickedness do not profit.” It reminds me of the question, “What sin will you commit in order to gain a possession?” The answer to the question reveals the idolatry of our heart. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). The treasure is not the sin but the treasure reveals the wickedness of the heart.

I love seeing how practical the Scriptures are for our day and age. Solomon’s words ring loud and clear to our Western “It’s all about me” culture. And really our Western “It’s all about me “ culture is nothing more than what the Bible calls sin. We all want stuff and want it in abundance. Without God’s grace we will all sin to gain our treasure. This is how the heart naturally works. The world covers it up by acknowledging that we all must “have an advantage” over others. Or we just need to “keep up with the Joneses.” Even as God’s redeemed children we have to guard against such wickedness. I believe in the list of the fruit of the Spirit self-control is essential when guarding against worldliness. If we are not fearing God and seeking his will we will be swept away into the worldly trap of wicked gain. Heed the words of Solomon: “Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit.”

Christian, is there an area in your life where you are trying to gain by sinning against your Savior? Are you lying in order to earn prestige at work? Are you being a bad steward of the money God has graciously given you in order to have stuff you don’t need while forsaking giving back to him? Are you in major debt in order to have your toys to impress the world? Do you steal in order to have? These questions and more are important to ask as we examine our own hearts. These are the kind of questions that reveal the sin in our heart. The answer is not to do better. The answer is to confess and repent and trust in the finished work of Christ atoning sacrifice for your sins. When examining your heart to see where you need to forsake worldliness I would encourage you to remember the words of Scripture: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul” (Matthew 16:26)? The only profit that matters is a relationship with the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ. This is the profit which gains for all eternity because we will be with him. “Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit” but “godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Tim. 4:8).

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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