Do not let your heart envy sinners: but be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day; For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off.”
(Proverbs 23:17-18, NKJV)

Today’s verse passage is jam-packed solid and overflowing with meaning. In two verses we have important instruction and valuable encouragement, both of which encapsulate the Gospel wonderfully. “Do not let your heart envy sinners,” begins the passage. The writer understood that the godless spirit of the age acts as a mighty torrent in its influences, washing people away from God and His known will for our lives. The world loves its own, said Jesus (John 15:19), and the world, under the control of the spirit of the age, rewards people richly and openly for their rebellion and blasphemy. We are counseled not to envy such people, much less follow their godless examples. Like Abraham, we ought to let the world keep its rewards, knowing that it is God Himself who is both our shield and our “exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1). The proverb continues, “be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day.” Both the apostle Peter and James, the Lord’s half brother, remind us that “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). In Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). We must begin our quest for both with a sincere reverence for God (Psalm 11:10; Proverbs 1:7). This should not be a passing thing either. We are called to acknowledge God in all our ways (Proverbs 3:5-6), and to conduct our entire stay on this earth in the fear of the Lord (1 Peter 1:17). “For surely there is a hereafter,” concludes the proverb, “and your hope will not be cut off.” Without a doubt, our conscious existence continues beyond the grave. This we may be certain of. Though a man’s years are typically 70 to 80, we are “soon cut off, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10). For those who have entered into a love-trust relationship with Christ, what lies ahead is “far better” (Philippians 1:23). We will be judged of course, not to determine whether or not we are saved—that was determined the moment we received Christ for salvation. The moment we believed we “passed from death unto life” (John 5:24; 1 John 3:14). Our judgment will be to determine what special recognition, privileges, and responsibilities we will enjoy as rewards for faithful service (Luke 14:14; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10). On this matter, the great apostle Paul left us a very encouraging word: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). We know that our labor is not in vain, dear saints, because Christ’s labor was not in vain. For His selfless obedience to His Father He has obtained the highest place and the greatest honors (Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 1:1-3). That is the heritage of God’s redeemed also. Praise the Lord!

God bless,

pastor john