Riches in Righteousness
Godliness and Riches
It is the will of God that His people be rich and prosperous however these riches must be obtained and maintained in righteousness otherwise they can destroy us:
2 Corinthians 8:9 (KJV) For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
Proverbs 1:32 (KJV) For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
1 Timothy 6:9-10 (KJV) But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
It is possible for the ungodly to increase in riches:
Psalm 73:12 (KJV) Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.
The ungodly are not just those who are not born-again, but rather those who do not live and behave in a God-like manner. To be godly is to be like God. There are many born-again Christians who are carnal (1Cor. 3: 1-3) and do not behave like God and so are ungodly.
This scripture in 1 Cor. 3: 1-3 shows that the Corinthian Christians were walking or behaving like natural men and not like God and so were ungodly:
1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (KJV) And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
Psalm 1 makes a distinction between the sinner (those who are not born-again), the ungodly, and the scorner: one who hates instruction and correction and so despises those in authority:
Psalm 1:1 (KJV) Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
You can be born-again and be ungodly and a scorner because you have not allowed the fruit of the spirit to grow and develop in your character.
So ungodly Christians can and do increase in riches. This is why you need the wisdom of God to know how to increase in riches in righteousness and not just assume that because you are a Christian you are godly and your increase in riches is in righteousness. In fact the Bible reveals that God gave to the rebellious children of Israel in the wilderness the desires of their heart (material blessings) but sent leanness to their souls.
Psalm 106:14-15 (KJV) But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.
This is a type (1 Cor. 10:1-11) of what the church is experiencing with today’s distorted prosperity message.
Riches and Wisdom
Proverbs 8:12, 18 (KJV) I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.
It takes the wisdom of God to increase in riches and righteousness at the same time.
In fact most people are covetous, which is a lack of contentment with what God has blessed you with at a particular point in time.
Hebrews 13:5 (KJV) Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
They either forget or are willfully ignorant (2Pet. 3:5) of the fact that true godly prosperity takes time and hard work to obtain. Their covetousness drives them to compromise godly standards and principles to prosper materially and financially. They want to prosper quickly or hastily because of the envy (towards those they think have more than they do) or pride (towards those they think have less than them) that comes when they compare themselves among themselves, which scripture says is not wise.
Proverbs 10:4 (KJV) He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
Proverbs 28:20 (KJV) A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
2 Corinthians 10:12 (KJV) For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
In our article next week we will see how to use the wisdom of God to increase riches in righteousness