“Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.” – Proverbs 28:6 (ESV)
When the wicked seem to prosper and have it all together, we often wonder why this is the case. Why do the unscrupulous, despite their decadent lifestyles and questionable ethics seem to get fame, fortune, and success beyond their heart’s content, whereas the honest and diligent end up with nothing but misery? In light of this reality, it often leads people to question whether God is blind to this injustice. However, He is not. The very fact that God does not include wealth in His requirements into heaven, rather faith and obedience to Him and His Son, is indicative of the fact that material prosperity is immaterial to Him. For all the wealth they may have gained in this present life through deceit, the wicked will not prosper. If they are not punished in this life, they will be in the life hereafter. Money cannot buy you into heaven and thankfully so. Otherwise, it would make heaven a very corrupt place.
However, this does not necessarily mean that living a moral life would get one into heaven either. No one can truly claim to live a pure life because all have sinned against God in some manner, be it in word, deed, or thought. The strict standards of God on what constitutes as sin contain no loopholes. Only through a relationship with Christ could man hope of entering into heaven. But it comes at a price. Once we enter into a relationship with Christ, we are obligated to serve Him and follow His ways and standards. Since it is hard to let go of our sinful nature, we constantly need Christ to help us in our decision to choose integrity over dishonesty. Thus, for the Christian, he should not be concerned over the material pursuits of this world. He should not use underhanded methods to gain profit. Rather, should he pursue integrity with Christ as his Guide, he will be blessed even in his poverty and these blessings will be far more satisfying than those of an ill-earned material lifestyle. The comfort of eternal rewards in heaven for his obedience of Christ should be enough of an impetus for the believer to pursue integrity and righteousness.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.