“ For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23)
Salvation. God has been reminding me of just how amazing His salvation is to those who receive Him. Think about the key words in the above passage…
Wages. When I think of wages, I think of something earned for a job well done. When I taught high school, I earned a paycheck. If I hadn’t showed up to work, then they would not have paid me. They paid me every week for doing my job. I sow time, energy, and love into my children in prayerful hope of reaping children who love God and love people. If I do not care about my children, if I do not daily spend time and energy pouring into their little lives, then they will in turn not care about others, maybe not even about themselves.
If we want wages on this earth, we must earn them. No one freely receives wages. We work for them. So in the above passage, what are the wages of sin? What did we earn through our sinfulness? Eternal death. Eternal separation from God. Our sin deserves eternal punishment.
Now before you think self-righteously, “Hey! I’m a good person! I didn’t willfully work to earn death!” Oh yes, yes you did. You earned it. I earned it. We “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Every thought we have had and will ever think, every action we have done and will ever do, and every word we have spoken and will ever speak that goes against God’s holy, righteous character is sin. Ugly, horrible, unrighteous, death-deserving sin.
Oh, what a glorious conjunction! But. This simple connector links our wages to God’s free gift. Did you catch that? FREE GIFT. While we may have earned eternal death, God gives us eternal life. No matter how good (or not good) we are, we deserve death, but no matter how good (or not good) we are, God gives us salvation.
What a humbling thought. Even though God had every right to send us away from His presence forever, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). So not only were we (and still are!) actively sinning, but also in the midst of our sinning, God sent His own Son–His one and only Son–into this world to live a perfect life and then to lay down His perfect life as the penalty for our sins. Jesus did not earn the wages of sin, but He paid them for us.
Again, I am humbled and in awe. Instead of us having to earn eternal life by the same method we have earned eternal death, instead of us having to work for our salvation, God chose to give it to us! Jesus gives us eternal life freely. All we have to do is receive it.
So have you received it yet? Have you accepted the gift of salvation? If not, I encourage you to receive it today. Receive the amazing gift you can never (no matter how good you think you are) earn. Ever.
How? How do you receive this free gift? It is simple. It’s a gift! Admit you are a sinner, thank God for sending Jesus to save you from the death you deserve, and then invite Him to come into your life.
And he will come. He will. He promises, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
You will be saved. And you will be free, for “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).