At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: And the hope of unjust men perisheth.Proverbs 11:7
The Scriptures teach us that for the wicked, this life is the best that he will ever experience. For the righteous, it is the opposite—this life contains the worst things that will ever happen to him. For the godless, all his gold will turn to lead, and for the godly, all his lead will become gold.
A wicked man can labor, and hope and strive, but at the very end of the process, like an angry exclamation point, death awaits. And when he dies, his expectation (of whatever it is) perishes with him. The hope of unjust men, just like the unjust men themselves, dies.
There is no more maneuvering room. There is no time for adjustments, and nothing can be renegotiated. Another way of putting this is that God has seen to it that this world operates with a hard deadline. There is, literally, a drop dead deadline. When our time is up, that’s it.
Kirkegaard once said that when a tyrant dies, his rule ends. When a martyr dies, his rule begins. This points toward this same truth. Godliness is something that outlasts this life. Wickedness does not. The penalty must be paid for that wickedness, but the work of the ungodly man comes apart in his hands. Nothing lasts, nothing endures.
This is why Paul teaches us that fire will judge the quality of each man’s work (1 Cor. 3:11-15). In that place he is talking about the work of ministry, which is why he says that the slipshod minister will be saved “yet so as by fire.”
The metric of Heaven doesn’t work the way we tend to think. God has a different way of evaluating things. The Temple scales register things that we don’t notice at all, and we think things are weighty indeed and God considers them to be so much cotton candy. Not only so, but the temptation to reverse things like this can operate in very conservative theological circles, as it did with the Pharisees.
“And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15).
It would be bad to be a wicked man, and have all your expectations come to nothing. But it would be far, far worse to be a religious wicked man, and to have those expectations artificially inflated, and to have them come to nothing.