We say that a good person deserves a long life. And we think that the life of a very wicked person should be short. That seems fair and proper to us, but it does not always happen in this world.
But in fact, good people sometimes die at a young age. That is clear evidence that a personís own goodness cannot save that person.
It is also true that wicked people sometimes have long lives. But of course, that fact does not show that people should be wicked! It does not benefit anyone to live a long life if they are living in a wicked manner. During their long lives, wicked people constantly add to the evil deeds for which God will punish them.
The author warns that people can have wrong attitudes towards goodness, as well as wicked behaviour. Of course people should always do what is right and wise. But some people trust their own goodness so much that they even accuse God (Romans 3:3-7; 1 John 1:10). They imagine wrongly that their own goodness can save them (Romans 3:20; Luke 18:9-14). Such people are bringing about Godís judgement against them (Romans 2:1-5).
Everybody carries out wicked deeds; nobody should deny that fact (Romans 3:9-19). But people must not use that fact as an excuse to carry out even more wicked behaviour (Romans 3:7-8). God will certainly punish such wicked behaviour. Those wicked people may even die before the proper time because of Godís judgement against them (Numbers 16:28-35).
The person who respects God can avoid these wrong attitudes. He asks God to forgive his evil deeds (1 John 1:9). He allows God to show him how to live (1 John 1:7). And he trusts only in Godís goodness to save him (Romans 3:21-24). So the person who respects God does not trust in his own goodness.
Next part: Wisdom and goodness (Ecclesiastes 7:19-20)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.