Proverbs 10:16

ESV The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin.
NIV The wages of the righteous is life, but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death.
NASB The wages of the righteous is life, The income of the wicked, punishment.
CSB The reward of the righteous is life; the wages of the wicked is punishment.
NLT The earnings of the godly enhance their lives, but evil people squander their money on sin.
KJV The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.

What does Proverbs 10:16 mean?

The word translated "wage" in this verse is not always a literal reference to money. Instead, it refers to the natural results of something. In that sense, the "wage" of lighting a match is fire, and the "wage" of blowing it out is smoke. Pursuit of godliness—righteousness—naturally leads to a meaningful life. God smiles on the righteous and gives him a full, significant life.

A righteous person experiences personally what Jesus meant when He said, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly" (John 10:10). By dying for our sins and rising from the grave, Jesus made it possible for believers to have quantity of days, even eternal life, but also to enjoy quality of days, meaning an abundant life. Jesus compared the life He gives those who believe in Him to water that quenches thirst fully and forever. It is a gusher that satisfies the soul (John 4:13–14).

The wicked lead a life that produces only sin (Romans 6:23). He may indulge the passions of his sin nature (1 Peter 4:2–3), but he cannot satisfy the need of his heart for an intimate relationship with God (Revelation 7:15–17).
What is the Gospel?
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