When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes; all he expected from his power comes to nothing. The truly righteous man attains life, but he who pursues evil goes to his death. Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free. (Proverbs 11:7, 19, 21, NIV 1984).
My Musings – What these verses depict are mercy (for “the truly righteous man“) and justice (for “the wicked“). There is no injustice. It is not unjust for God to punish the wicked. It would be unjust if He did not. But, as we know, He is a just God. And even though “there is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:9–12, NIV 1984), the “truly righteous…attains life [and] will go free.”
“What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses,’ I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” (Romans 9:14–16, NIV 1984). While this may be hard for us to fully grasp (for who can fully comprehend God’s mercy and grace?), the “truly righteous” are those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ, and in so doing receive the Father’s mercy. Not because of our own “desire or effort.” It is not “by works.“
My Advice – Some will still claim that God is not being fair. But do we really want fair? It would be fair if God did not let anyone go unpunished. He was under no obligation to send His Son to die for the sins of anyone. But He did. So for Him to “have mercy on whom [He has] mercy,” i.e., only those who “believe and receive,” is mercy not injustice. And for Him to not let the wicked go unpunished, is just. After all, they are rejecting a very costly ransom price.
Even so, this is not what God wants. “‘As surely as I live,’ declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O [sinful man]?’” (Ezekiel 33:11, NIV 1984). You do not have to.
Believe me when I say, you want mercy, not justice. For “surely we also will be punished if we ignore this great salvation.” (Hebrews 2:3, NIV 1984). “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12–13, NIV 1984). That is — Born Again!