October 19, 2023
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our LORD. – Romans 6:23 NKJV
In Romans six, the Apostle Paul contrasts the state of being a slave to sin with the state of being a slave to righteousness. Each state receives something.
Those who are “slaves to sin” are those who do not have faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. They receive “wages” for their sin. This is a payment for the work they have done. Slaves to sin work at sin and receive a wage for their work as a result.
Those who are “slaves to righteousness,” on the other hand, are those who have faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. They do not receive a wage for their righteousness. Instead, they receive a gift. Unlike a wage, a “gift” is not given as payment. A gift is given for free. Slaves to righteousness receive a gift rather than a wage because they did not work for their righteousness. Their righteousness came to them simply by faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22).
The wages for those who work at sin is death. “Death” here does not simply mean physical death. It means spiritual death. Spiritual death is alienation from God, and it can be experienced both in the present and for all eternity. Ultimately, spiritual death means eternal alienation from God in hell.
The gift of those who have faith is “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Like spiritual death, eternal life in Christ can be experienced in the present and for all eternity. Ultimately, eternal life means an eternity spent with God in the new heavens and the new earth (Revelation 21).
Stating the stark contrast between being a slave to sin and being a slave to righteousness begs the question: why would anyone ever want to be a slave to sin? The end result is death, eternal death, and alienation from God. Sin may seem rewarding for a while, but it is ultimately unfulfilling in the present and it leads to an eternity in hell.
And why would anyone not want to be a slave to righteousness? The result is life, abundant life in the present (John 10:10), and eternal life with God. The righteousness of God is rewarding in the present and for all eternity.
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