“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (read verses 1-23)
That we are all guilty before God and stand guilty and condemned under the law of God is made clear in Romans 3:9-20.
That God provided a way for sinners to be justified and counted righteous by God through faith in Christ Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world is revealed and explained in Romans 3:21-28 and the following two chapters of Paul’s letter.
In the sixth chapter, the Apostle Paul addresses the errors of those who think they can continue in sin and still possess the benefits of God’s grace in Christ Jesus.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (v.1-2).
You and I were saved for a life with a purpose. In Ephesians 2:8-10, we read: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
And, St. Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers: “He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (cf. 2 Cor. 5:15).
We learned in Romans 6:3ff. that we were joined, in our baptisms, to Christ in His death and resurrection in order that Christ’s death on the cross would be our death and punishment for sin and that Christ’s resurrection, after He paid the price for our sins, would be our resurrection to new life in fellowship with and service to our God and Savior.
In Romans 6:15-16, we read: “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”
If we willingly give ourselves back into sin — yielding ourselves to the temptations of the devil, the allurements of the world, and the sinful desires of our flesh, we again become slaves of sin and reap the results, the wages of sin, which are spiritual death and eternal death and damnation!
In Genesis 2:16-17, “The LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
In Hebrews 10:26-31, we as believers, are warned: “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
And so also, we learn from Romans 6:20-23: “For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
If we turn away from Christ and back into sin, seeking to turn God’s grace into a license to live in rebellion and enmity against God, we justly earn the wages and penalty for our sins, which is death and the eternal wrath of God.
But if, by the grace of God, we continue trusting in Christ Jesus and His atoning sacrifice for our sins, we are set free from the condemnation of the law and from our former servitude to sin, and God’s gracious gift to us is forgiveness for all our sins and eternal life for Jesus’ sake.
When, by the grace of God, we trust in Christ our Savior and walk in fellowship with God through faith in Christ (cf. 1 John 1:5 — 2:2), we possess and receive the gracious gifts of God which Jesus won for us — forgiveness for all our sins and everlasting life in fellowship with our God and Maker.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23; cf. Deut. 30:15-20).
Dearest LORD Jesus, grant we not turn away from You and back into sin but hold fast to You and the new life You have given us by means of Your death on the cross for our sins and Your triumphant resurrection on the third day. Amen.
[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.]