Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Wages or a Gift

Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

I read a great article on one of my favorite bible verses. It read that this wonderful verse has been used by the Holy Spirit countless times to bring a person to the point of salvation, and rightly so. Seldom did the author of Scripture pack so much into so few words, and seldom is the gospel of salvation more clearly and succinctly presented. Perhaps the key to this verse and its teaching is the little word “but”, for marvelous contrasts hinge on it. In fact, pointing out the parallel but contrasting statements has proven to be an effective witnessing tool. Let us consider these individual contrasts.

First, “wages” versus “gift”: Wages are something that must be earned, while a gift cannot be earned; it is free. The wages of employment follow directly from having done the work, just as the wages of sin follow directly from having done the sin. Similarly, the gift of God follows directly from God’s own character. He is a loving, gracious God, who freely showers His gifts on those who will accept them. Dr. D. James Kennedy gave this excellent illustration: Supposed your best friend were to surprise you with an expensive gift, and let’s suppose that your response would be to immediately dig in your purse or wallet for a couple bills to help pay for the gift. If you pay even a penny, it is no longer a gift. You must accept gifts freely. And that is a second point about a gift that Evangelist Ray Comfort illustrates in this example: You are not feeling well, so you go into the doctor. After running some tests the physician asks you to sit down, then proceeds to tell you that you have a fatal disease and have only a week to live, but then explains that he has a medicine that he wants to give you free of charge that will curse this disease complete. He reaches into his medicine cabinet and puts a bottle of the cure in front of you. But, if you never accept his offer, receive the free gift, and take the medicine, you will not live. It is the same with eternal life. A Christian friend once told me that a gift with strings or terms attached is not really free. But, then again a gift is not a gift if not accept by the recipient, so by definition there is a sting attached. Believe and accept the gift.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Second, “sin” versus “God”, or sin versus the sinless One: We might even define sin as the opposite of godliness. Sin is the deed which merits the wages, while God is the Being who gives the gift. Sin is a wrong action, attitude, or thought, while God is a person, active and loving. Sin takes; God gives. Sin kills; God saves. Third, “death eternal” versus “life eternal”l: AKA, Conscious existence in separation from God versus conscious existence in communion with God. Sin brings death, surely and permanently; God gives life and eternal life. This gift of eternal life is not given capriciously or whimsically, however; it is based on the work of Jesus Christ, the One who Himself collected the wages of our sin and paid our debt, our penalty on the Cross in our place. The sinner who realizes this truth and accepts God’s gift, through Jesus Christ, can hardly fail to recognize Him as Lord.

Romans 3:23-24 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Eternal life in heaven with the Lord is not something that you earn, or deserve, or work for, but, according to the Scriptures, heaven – eternal life – is absolutely free gift. It’s unearned, undeserved, and unmerited. It’s free. 

In Christ, Brian

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