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Perception is Everything
Proverbs 10:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
16 The wage of the righteous leads to life,
the gain of the wicked to sin.
The wage of the righteous leads to life: The wage of the righteous is a benefit where one receives gain freely for walking with God, that is, following a life course based on Scripture leaving the person righteous in the eyes of God. Leads to life mean a good, long life now and eternal life to come because of having lived an upright life before God. Several times now when the author has talked about this life, this author has spoken of eternal life as well, which is not part of what the author meant. The author only refers to the quality of life now, with eternal life being primarily a New Testament doctrine. However, eternal life is a direct result of being declared righteous in God’s eyes because of living an upright life, which will be applied retroactively to those before Jesus’ ransom sacrifice.
the gain of the wicked to sin: The Hebrew word rendered gain (tebuah) means an income or payment, namely, that which is valuable. This recompense can apply to worthy actions or retribution for wrongdoing. The verb in line one rendered leads to is understood to be carried over here in line two. In other words, “the gain of the wicked [leads] to sin.
Verse 16 is completing the thought we found in verse 14. We notice here that both the righteous person and the wicked person have a wage or gain with one leading to a good life and the other to sin, specifically, not a good life. What is the difference? It is how the person sees, views, perceives monetary gain and thus how they use it. The work that the righteous person performs brings him pleasure, as it gives him a sense of purpose in life. The work that the wicked one performs gives him displeasure, as he has no real purpose in life, for he is hedonic (seeks one’s own pleasure, sensation, immediate gratification) in all his ways. The righteous one uses his financial gain from his labors in an upright manner, giving him a good standing before God. The wicked one uses his financial gain from his labors in such a manner that it interferes with any good standing he could have with God. The righteous man’s efforts and his choices bring him happiness now, and an assurance of eternal life in his future. The wicked one uses his financial gain usually by squandering it foolishly, so there is no lasting benefit from his labors. He does not appreciate his money, it is not a protection for him, but rather it is used for his life of sin.