Scripture Reading:  Romans 6:15-23

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

Most of us are very familiar with this verse.  It was one of the first verses I memorized when I became a committed follower of Jesus Christ.  This verse lays out the essence of the gospel message.  We are sinners by nature and by action, who are under the judgment of God — “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (3:23).  

The penalty for sin is death.  There are three kinds of death.  First is physical death.  Our bodies die and return to the ground.  Second is eternal death — “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the destructible, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Romans 21:8).  This death is the final punishment of God upon unregenerate sinners.  It leads to total separation from God for all eternity.

There is also a third kind of death — spiritual death.  “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience — among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Ephesians 2:1-3).  This is the spiritual death that separates us from God here on earth.  Spiritual death flows out of our sinful nature and renders us spiritually appraised — “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:14).  Because of this death, one must be born again (made alive spiritually) by God Himself.

But the good news is that God saves us — “But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  God comes to our rescue — “He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son in whom we have redemption the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 2:13,14).  God the Father gave His only begotten Son to make salvation possible for those who believe — “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).  Jesus made salvation possible by becoming an atoning sacrifice for our sins — “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (II Corinthians 5:21).  On the basis of the work of His Son, God gives us the free gift of salvation.  The result is eternal life!

Lord God, I know that I am a guilty sinner who deserves death and judgment.  I am so thankful that You have chosen to give me eternal life through Your Son Jesus Christ.  I know that I have eternal life because I believe that Jesus died for me and rose again from the dead.  Thank You that I do not have to face Your terrible judgment because You have freed me from it.  Instead I have the gift of eternal life through Jesus.


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