7 Minute Read + Scripture readings

(If you want to listen to an audio version of today’s blog post, simply go to https://anchor.fm/mattellis1997, or search for “Reflections on Truth” by Matt Ellis wherever you download your favorite podcasts.)

Today’s Bible Reading:

1 Samuel 7-8
Romans 6
Jeremiah 44
Psalms 20-21

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Romans 6:23 (CSB): “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

In the verse that I’ve chosen to reflect on today, the difference between both sides could not be any more clear. But, to better grasp the beauty conveyed in these words, let’s talk about them for a moment.

The first part of the verse says, “for the wages of sin is death.”

Let’s begin by defining “death.” When we think of the word “death,” we think of a body laying in a casket or in the grave. The life has ended and the lifeless body is left.

So, we may erroneously come to the conclusion that “death” is the cessation of life. But, that would be false.

If we seriously consider what death is, we will come to the conclusion that it is separation. When someone dies physically, it is the separation of the body from the spirit. So, whatever “death” means in Romans 6:23, it means separation. To understand what kind of separation, we need to investigate another word or two.

Let’s now focus on the word, “sin.” “For the wages of sin is death.”

The word “sin” speaks of a failure to comply with God’s perfect standard. If the Bible tells us to do something and we don’t do it, it is sin. If the Bible tells us NOT to do something and we do it, it is sin. If we comply with the Bible’s standard but do so with the wrong motives or attitudes, it is sin. So, anything we do short of God’s perfect standard … is sin.

Now, let’s focus on the word, “wages.” “For the wages of sin is death.”

Wages is what we earn. When you go to work at your place of employment, you expect to get paid. The check they give to you at the end of a work period isn’t a gift – it’s what you earned. It’s your wages. You deserve it.

So, with this knowledge, we look back at Romans 6:23 and realize that it is essentially telling us that when we break God’s laws, we deserve and will receive the wages, and those earned wages are death. That death is most obviously physical death since death was one of the consequences of Adam’s sin. Yet, death is also a spiritual separation – we are separated from God.

If we think that separation from God isn’t that big of a deal, all we need to do to reflect on what Jesus said while he was on the cross. He didn’t cry out because of the beating he had received. He didn’t complain because of the nails in His hands and feet. The only cry of grief He uttered is when He was wearing our sin as He said, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” Because He was wearing the sin of every single person who will trust in Him, God the Father turned His back on His own Son … and that pain of separation was even more painful than anything else Jesus experienced.

Friend, it couldn’t be any more clear that we don’t want to follow the path of sin. We don’t want the wages of a life lived apart from pursuing holiness.

So, let’s finish up by looking at the wonderful second part of Romans 6:23.

Romans 6:23 (CSB): “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Notice the word, “gift.” This means it’s free. God desires to give us something to bless us. He wants to give us something wonderful that we cannot earn or deserve.

So, what is this “gift of God.” Our verse says that “the gift of God is eternal life.”

Here’s something else we need to properly define. What does “eternal life” mean?

Some think that “eternal life” means that you’re going to live forever. That’s not what it means. Unbelievers and Jesus-followers alike will live forever. Everyone who breathes the breath of life is going to live for eternity in one of two places.

So, since “eternal life” isn’t really referring to the fact that we are going to live forever, what does it mean? Well, let’s let Scripture interpret Scripture.

John 17:3 (CSB): “This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent—Jesus Christ.”

Did you get that? Jesus said that eternal life is knowing the Father and Jesus. But, the word for “know” that Jesus used means experiential knowledge. It means to have a deep relationship. So, eternal life is coming into a growing, vibrant relationship with the Heavenly Father and Jesus, directed by the Holy Spirit.

So, the gift that God wants to give us is a meaningful relationship with the God who made us. But, while it is offered freely to us, it cost Jesus His life.

In summary, we have basically two options:

We can live for ourselves and fail to measure up to God’s perfect standard and be cast away from Him for eternity to suffer for it, or …

We can fall at the mercy of the court and receive the free gift of forgiveness and be invited into a relationship with our God as we trust in what Jesus did for us on the cross.

If you have never trusted in Jesus to forgive you and save you, I would love to answer any questions you have. Just post them in the comments section below or e-mail me at mattellis1997@gmail.com. I would love to help you in any way that I can.

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Lord Jesus, I realize that You are a good Judge so You must punish lawbreakers. Yet, You are also the most gracious Savior because You paid the penalty for anyone who will trust in You to forgive and save them. Thank You, Jesus! Amen.

Photo by Vladislav Babienko on Unsplash