We have a body and we have a soul. Doing right or doing wrong has an effect on both. Sin never affects only our physical bodies, but has even more detrimental effects on our souls. On the other hand, righteousness affects not only our natural lives with good things, but brings eternal rewards.
Solomon speaks here of earning deceptive wages. He says these are the wages of the wicked. In order to avoid working for a bad reward, I think it is necessary to explore ways of earning deceptive wages.
- Selfishness: A wicked person is motivated to work only for selfish reasons. There is no place in his heart for the need of another. Sacrificing on behalf of another does not exist in his heart or deeds. He spends his days making plans on how he can get as much as possible for himself. In the end he would have gained nothing advantageous from all his carefully constructed plans and hard work. Think of the parable of the rich fool. He never got to enjoy his riches because he was thinking of only of benefits to himself and had nothing left in his heart for others. In the end, his life was over before enjoying his riches and others got to spend it. Such a one risks not only losing those closest to him, but he will have to face God, the Judge of the motives of our hearts.
- Dishonesty: The person who earns his income by deceiving others will in turn be deceived by his income for it will fail him when he needs it most. Nothing that he does will have lasting rewards, except his crimes of deceit and dishonesty. He will not get to enjoy the fruit of his labors. He does all his deceitful work to accumulate riches, but riches are deceitful and will perish with use, leaving him with nothing but a bad reputation here, sometimes having to face the wrath of the law and ultimately to stand guilty before the judgment seat of God, which, if he never repented and turned from his ways, will bring him eternal suffering.
- Salvation through Good Works: Those who think they can be made right with God through works, will find that these works deceived them, since they will eventually find out that no one can be made righteous in the sight of God through works, but only through faith in Christ. If the works of the law could save us, Christ died for nothing.
- Sin: It promises pleasure and profit and even liberty but those who do the works of the flesh will be disillusioned once they find that it brings only lasting pain, loss and slavery to sin. The deceitfulness of sin is fatal to the soul. The wages of sin is death.
- False doctrines: These make false promises by the words of deceitful workers. Such are the ones who build their homes on a foundation of sand. ”The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:1-8)
By contrast, the person who makes it his business to do good to others is assured of a good reward, for so it is written. This is the one who does right, constantly and diligently. A man will reap what he sows and nothing else. So, if a person sows righteousness, that is what he will reap. A righteous person loves the truth and the love of truth has its own rewards. It brings the lover of truth eternal glory and happiness.
The sanctification of the Spirit of God cultivates this love of truth in our hearts. Instead of a deceitful reward, his reward will be a true, real, solid, good and substantial. He is motivated not only by his personal needs and that of his family, but often an eye on the less fortunate drives him to do more so that he can be a blessing to others. His work is motivated by doing good to others, by unselfishness and self-sacrificing love. His reward far exceeds anything he can imagine or ask for.