Righteousness, Not Riches
Riches profit not in the day of wrath…
1. Riches: wealth, riches, substance; anything with a high value
a. Solomon knew a lot about riches. He was a great collector of gold.
b. It would be wise for us to do as he says, not as he did.
c. The riches here refer to ANY kind of wealth: gold; cash; property; real estate; stocks, bonds, jewelry… baseball cards…
2. The day of wrath is used of the day of God’s judgment… especially upon the heathen.
a. Wrath: speaks of God’s wrath
b. Job 21:30 – the day of destruction and wrath… for the wicked.
c. One day every unbeliever will face the wrath of God.
3. Riches will not profit in that day.
a. Profit: to gain, profit, benefit, avail
b. Ezek. 7:19 – in that day men will realize how useless silver and gold is!
c. Zeph. 1:15, 18 – God will devour and will not be bought off with silver or gold!
d. Rev. 6:15-17 – in the day of God’s future wrath in the Tribulation Period, the world’s wealthiest men will find their wealth worthless… and they will hide in the rocks and caves and hope for death rather than face the wrath of the Lamb!
e. September 11th was a day of wrath (not THE day of wrath).
• The thousands of people in the world trade center faced the wrath of mad men…
• Many of the people in those towers had great personal wealth… the movers and shakers in the financial world.
• But they all perished—no differently than did the janitors and room servants in that place.
• The flames and the falling walls did not discriminate between the wealthy and the poor in that day.
• The same will be true in the day of God’s wrath. When judgment falls it is no respecter of persons.
f. When judgment begins to fall, men will finally realize that earthly wealth is unable to deliver… but it’s too late then.
• The folks who died in those towers would gladly trade their bankrolls to reverse those events… but it was too late.
• When the sinner stands before God in the Day of Judgment, he will realize how foolish his trusting in uncertain riches really was… but it will be too late.
g. Do wealthy people really believe that they can buy God off in that day?
• Evidently, they do… indirectly.
• The Bible says that many TRUST in their riches.
• They trust in wealth as their security… their safety… all the security they will ever need.
• That is because there is a deceitfulness that accompanies riches.
• Riches provide a FALSE sense of security.
• Job 31:24 – “If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence…” Job knew that some men DID make gold their confidence…
• Ps. 52:7 – “Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.”
• Here trusting in riches is seen as the opposite of trusting in God!
• Some men trust in their wealth… find their security in their money… make riches their strength… instead of God. It IS their God.
• While wealthy men may not actually believe that they can give God a bribe in the day of wrath—unbelievers do trust that money is all they need—ever. They are dead wrong.
• Prov. 11:28 – “He that trusteth in his riches shall fall.” When the day of wrath comes, this man will fall flat on his face.
4. Not only will riches not profit in the day of wrath, but they can even HINDER a person from getting saved today.
a. Mark 10:17-25 – the rich young ruler’s riches prevented him from coming to Christ to be saved. He loved his riches too much. The life of a disciple did not seem too appealing to him…
b. Prov. 28:11 – the rich man is too proud and self sufficient to be saved. The thought of humbling himself, admitting he has a need; and trusting in Another is repulsive to him.
c. I Tim. 6:7-8 – Rich men cling tightly to their wealth in this life, but when they face death, they are forced to let go. We take nothing with us.
• Job 1:21 – And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
• Prov. 27:24 – For riches are not for ever: (only our heavenly riches last forever!)
• Ecc. 5:14-15 – But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand. 15As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.
But righteousness delivereth from death.
1. The Old Testament saints looked at the life of a believer differently than we do. They did not have much revelation about the afterlife. They considered life on earth… a long healthy life on earth to be a desired goal.
2. Hence, the “deliverance” and “wrath” mentioned in this passage are not so much to be understood in the sense of eternal and spiritual, but rather temporal and earthly.
3. The wrath of God previously mentioned had to do primarily with God’s wrath poured out upon the earth… and certainly we can apply this to the final day of His wrath at the Great White Throne Judgment.
4. The death from which men are delivered here also seems to refer an earthly deliverance…
a. His point here is similar to other similar passages: live a righteous life and you can expect to live longer than the fool who lives in the fast lane.
b. Righteousness DELIVERS us from many tragedies in life… it may even deliver us from death!
c. Those who lead righteous lives don’t have to worry about contacting the deadly diseases contracted through drugs or illicit sex.
d. Any unrighteous lifestyle is quite risky. Those who lead righteous lives will be rescued by that righteousness.
e. They will be delivered from jail… from punishment… from sickness… from tragedies… from heartaches… and perhaps even DEATH… all by simply leading a life in harmony with God’s Word.
5. Eph. 6:14 – part of our Christian armor: the breastplate of righteousness.
a. Like a breastplate which protects our vital organs, righteousness protects us…
b. Gen.7:1 – Noah was righteous in God’s sight. He was delivered from death.
6. Prov. 12:28 – in the way of righteousness is life… there is no death in its pathway!
7. Righteousness will deliver a man from temporal judgments and physical death. However, righteousness will also deliver a man from eternal judgment and the second death!
a. The believer is robed in the righteousness of God… and hence, is safe forever. (Rom. 3:22) That is the righteousness that counts!
b. For a man to get into heaven, he must be righteous. Yet no man is ABLE to produce righteousness on his own.
c. If we are going to have the kind of righteousness that will permit us to enter heaven, we must RECEIVE that righteousness as a gift… through faith.
d. It is often helpful to witness to folks along these lines: explaining that righteousness is needed; righteousness is impossible to produce; but righteousness is available freely through the grace of God. (Rom. 3:23)
RICHES WON’T PROFIT IN THE DAY OF WRATH, BUT RIGHTEOUSNESS WILL.