18“The wicked earns deceptive wages,
but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.
19 Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live,
but he who pursues evil will die.
20 Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the Lord,
but those of blameless ways are his delight.
21 Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished,
but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered.” – Proverbs 11:18-21 (ESV)
In the book of Proverbs are found many promises. Proverbs has a concentration of parallel lines, or antithetical parallelism. These proverbs look at the same truth from opposite perspectives. One line promises results of blessings and the other line promises the converse results of loss and even death. All the verses in Chapter 11 are such proverbs. Each one promises results from righteous living compared to results from the ways of evil living.
- Verse 18 – The efforts of the wicked deceiver do not yield the riches his deception seeks, but the righteous receive a reward from God.
- Verse 19 – Righteous living is rewarded with life and the wages of sin is death.
- Verse 20 – The abominations defined throughout Scripture and especially in Proverbs, involve attitudes and behaviors which God hates*.
- Verse 21 – Individually or in collaboration, the wicked cannot be freed from duly and just punishment, while the unassisted children of the righteous find deliverance because of their relationship with God.
God gives us here and in other passages the clear promise that wicked living has a losing result. However, righteous living is what He wants and will help us have. The wisdom is easy to see.
*What are the abominations? Proverbs 11:20; perverse living, (means crooked or distorted); Proverbs 12:22; lying; Proverbs 15:8; hypocrisy; Proverbs 15:9; wicked conduct; Proverbs 15:26; wicked thoughts; Proverbs16:5; pride; Proverbs 17:15; injustice; Proverbs 20:10, 23; dishonesty in business;
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” – 1 John 2:1-2 (NASB)
Sometimes big words which aren’t commonly used by us can cause us to not quite understand what a verse is saying for us. We have a powerful big word in this passage – “propitiation.” In the New Testament it signifies “an expiation, (another big word) which is a means whereby sin is covered and remitted.” This implies that we, when we believe by faith, have a clear purpose for living. John simply puts it like this: don’t sin — don’t do what dishonors God. John wrote these for us to know that we may not sin. It is possible to not sin because God has forgiven us our sins. In 1 John 3:8 he wrote, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” We can say this positively, instead of negatively. In 1 John 3:23 is a summary of what John’s whole letter requires. Notice the singular “commandment” — “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” That’s our purpose. Two things so closely connected John calls them one commandment: believe Jesus and love others.
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. ” – 1 John 2:1-2 (ESV)
In today’s verses we have a couple of high dollar words. Most of us know the word “advocate” and likely use it from time to time. But few of us have cause to use the word “propitiation.” Both words are packed with significant promises for us. Advocate: likely brings to mind the idea of an attorney, especially as counsel for the defense. An accused person needs good counsel and for that they hire an attorney. This word is also used and translated as “helper” because its literal meaning is “one called alongside.” Jesus is our advocate when Satan accuses us of our sins. Propitiation: He paid the price for us and His sacrifice on the cross is the propitiation for our sins. Our Advocate declares his word was “satisfactory” to answer the demands of our sins. What Jesus did for us, when he died in our place was an “appeasement” that promised to satisfy the demands of our holy God for the necessary punishment of sin. This propitiation is available for all those in the whole world who believe, repents and confesses their sins. Jesus took the punishment and makes the appeasement available as a promise.
“Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” – 1 John 3:7-8 (NASB)
Recalling the promise from yesterday’s verse helps us understand today’s verse and why we are instructed to submit and resist. It is a persistent goal of the devil to deceive, especially those who are in Christ. If we don’t submit to God and if we don’t resist the devil we are actually practicing the devil’s ways. There are no multiple ways to multiple gods. Only one God and only one way to Him. We are instructed to practice righteousness as Christ, who is righteous, dwells within each true believer. If we fall for the deception of Satan and give in to the temptations he presents then our way of our life is the practice of sin. Christ has chosen us⸺he has provided the gifts of faith, and grace, for salvation⸺we should believe in the purpose Christ came to earth. He came to destroy the effects of the devil’s work. In His death on the cross, Christ struck the decisive blow to destroy the works of Satan. Christ’s resurrection from the dead secured for us the victory. One day, Satan’s time of conditional limited freedom will be over – that is a promise. (Revelation 20:10)
“The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” Psalm 34:15-17 (ESV)
This Psalm of David is noted for being written shortly after he had feigned insanity before the Philistine King of Gath. He did so to avoid any reprisal for what he had done. It was the hometown of the giant Goliath whom David had killed. Using the sword of Goliath, David cut off his head after knocking him out with a rock from his sling. (1 Samuel 17:1–51) This psalm, and others, were written while David hid in a cave with his men. King Saul was hunting David to kill him. We are apt to forget sometimes that our God is very near to His own. David was conscious that the Lord was watching over him and ready to help him at all times. But we note that David was talking about righteous people and you may wonder if this applies to you. Be assured that if you have believed in Jesus as your Savior, then God has declared you to be righteous. That is what we call justification by faith. So this applies to all who believe through faith. God’s eyes are on every movement we make and He is listening to hear our call.
“ O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:25-26 (ESV)
The last meal Jesus had with His disciples was His last Passover meal. He concludes his prayer with a call to the Righteous Father. The word translated “righteous” here doesn’t occur often in John’s Gospel. It’s significant as it’s His praise of the Father’s work of revelation. God our Father is right (righteous) and the world is in the wrong (“the world does not know You”). Jesus has known, and revealed the Father, and continues as Christians follow His example. The essence of God is love. Jesus revealed the Father and His love to the world in His own death and resurrection. And the Father made known His love for the Son by raising Him to glory. Jesus’ purpose in revealing the Father was that Christians would continue to grow in that love, that the Father’s love for the Son may be in them, and to enjoy the personal presence of Jesus in their lives and “I in them. Jesus has four petitions for believers: preservation (John 17:11), sanctification (John 17:17), unity (John 17:11, 21–22), and participation in Jesus’ glory (John 17:24). This prayer is answered every day with the conversion of each lost soul.