Man’s Necessary Response

At this point we need to understand what kind of response is required on our part to receive this gift of eternal life that God has promised in the previous verses we have studied. To get a clear picture of  what our response needs to be let’s consider another verse in Romans that continues to describe the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Romans 10:9 gives us this insight as it states “that 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.”  This appears to me to be quite clear. It also lines up with many other verses throughout God’s word that obviously tells us that we must respond to God’s offer. One of the most well know and quoted scriptures is found in  . As a matter of fact, John 3:16 declares the complete gospel. That is why it is so often used to share a witness with an unbeliever. The very words of this verse “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” makes it clear that God offers this gift to all men, not just some select few.

Notice that two actions are spelled out in Romans 10:9. Both are required on our part. First, we must believe in our hearts and not just with our minds. This means that there is no question that what God has said is true and we put our confidence in His word. Second, we also must openly confess our belief that Jesus is Lord.

Paul continues to describe this in Romans 10:10 as it reads “for with the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Again, how much clearer can it be. It is not complicated, it is very simple. All it takes is just what Paul has outlined in these verses, nothing more, nothing less. God has done everything necessary to provide the way for man to be saved from the power and penalty of sin and to have an intimate relationship with Him. The price was paid at the cross! An old song I remember from my childhood goes something like this:

You ask me why I’m happy, so I’ll just tell you why. Because, my sins are gone.

And when I meet the scoffers, who ask me where they are. I say, “My sins are gone.”

They’re underneath the blood of the cross of Calvary.

As far removed as darkness is from dawn.

In the sea of God’s forgetfulness. that’s good enough for me.

Praise God, my sins are gone!

Jesus, the Sacrifice

Before we continue with the next verse let’s review what we have covered so far. In Romans 3:23 we learned that every man is born with a sin nature because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden. This sin nature stands in the way of us having a relationship with God although He desires one. There is no way we can measure up to God’s standards. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.

Then we saw in Romans 6:23 that we have earned the wages of death because of our sin and that this death is eternal separation from God in a place of torment and eternal suffering. But God has a gift for us that results in eternal life with Him in a place of eternal peace and joy. All we have to do is accept His gift. “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

So now we want to see how this gift of eternal life has been made possible. To do that let’s consider the words found in Romans 5:8. “But God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” What a wonderful verse this is! It so vividly describes two very important facts. First, God wanted to prove how much He loves us and desires a relationship with us. Secondly, He gave His very own Son to be the ultimate sacrifice needed to pay our sin debt. When Christ died for us He paid a debt He didn’t owe to take care of a debt we couldn’t pay. When all we deserved was death, He gave His life that we might live. This is what we call amazing grace!

There is so much more that could be said about this verse that it would take a lifetime. Just an attempt to describe God’s love for us would result in volumes upon volumes and adequate description would still not be achieved. To fully understand what Christ did for us on the cross would also be beyond our ability to comprehend much less put in words. The fact is, however, that it is not necessary. All we need to realize is that we need a Savior and God provided one with His Son. What a Savior!

In our next session we want to take a look at how each of us needs to respond to what we have learned. We will look at another verse in Romans that will helps us understand what we must do to be saved. The real question is ‘How do we accept this gift that God offers? and then are we willing to do so. I pray that the answer for each us is an emphatic ‘Yes!’

Jesus, the Answer

Romans 6:23 has revealed to us that God has a gift to offer us in place of the wages we have earned. We understand that gift to be eternal life instead of eternal death and separation from God forever. So, as we think about what we have read, a question arises in our minds. That question is this: “How is all of this possible?” The answer to that question is found in the last five words of the verse, “through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Notice that the answer is a person and that person is Jesus. The writer uses three words to fully describe Him. Jesus, God with us, to describe the incarnate God. Christ, the Messiah, to describe Him as the Savior of the world. And then Lord, the coming king, to describe His absolute authority over all creation. Therefore, the gift is made possible because of the Lord Jesus Christ. What a lovely name! What A Savior! King of kings!

Now that we have completed our detailed inspection of Romans 6:23 let’s review what we have discovered up to this point. First of all, in Romans 3:23 we saw that every man has sinned and continues to be in rebellion against God. Nothing we can do ourselves can change that. Second we have seen in Romans 6:23 that because of our sin we have earned a paycheck of eternal death. That is, eternal separation from God in a place of eternal torment and suffering. Thirdly, however, we see the word but in the last part of that verse which tells us there is a possible solution to our predicament. We have been offered a gift from God Himself of eternal life which has been made possible by Jesus Christ our Lord. God’s love for us has resulted in a hope that we would otherwise not have. Thanks be to God forever and ever! Amen.

In our next session we will continue to look at additional verses in Romans that will explain how Jesus has made this hope possible by what He did in obedience to God the Father. Our next verse to look at will be Romans 5:8 which states “But God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” As we move ahead I hope that we are all being reminded of how much God loves each and every one of us and proved it by giving His only Son to pay our sin debt.

The Gift and the Giver

In the last session we looked at the contrast between wages earned and gift offered that Paul so perfectly paints a picture of in Romans 6:23.  As we see in the second part of the verse there is a gift offered that has the opposite effect of the wages earned described in the first part. Let’s take a look then and see what that gift is and who offers it. As we again read “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” in the second part of the verse, we realize that the gift and the giver are identified for us.

First, what is the gift? The answer is simple. Eternal life. This is the second contrast we see in the verse. The wages earned result in eternal death but the gift offered is eternal life. As we discussed earlier, the eternal death described in the first part of the verse is physical and spiritual death. This spiritual death is eternal separation from our very Creator and the Holy and Almighty God of the universe. This also results in a death that will ultimately include eternal torment in a place prepared for the devil and his angels. But the gift offered is the exact opposite of eternal death. The eternal life offered here is an everlasting intimate relationship with Jesus that begins the very moment one accepts the offer and will last for all eternity. It also results in eternal joy in a place that He has prepared for those of us who have received this gift. No separation, no pain, no suffering, no sin, nothing but joy as we live forever in His presence. I can’t think of anything better than that and by just saying “I accept” to the offer that has been extended to all men.

Now that we know what ‘the gift’ is, let’s take a look at the giver of this wonderful gift. In the verse the giver is identified as God Himself. The very One who created man but has pronounced judgment on his sinful condition, is that very same One who has offered us a gift that will nullify that judgment and allow us to again have a relationship with Him. What an amazing thought! That God would create man and everything he needs to live life abundantly, would allow him to be the master of all He had created, place trust in him to manage it properly, have an intimate relationship with Him and yet still love him even after he allows pride to cause him to sin. That He would provide a means for man to regain that relationship by offering him a gift instead of requiring him to be satisfied with what he has earned. Only God in His mercy and grace could do such a thing! Thanks be to God for His loving kindness towards us.

Now that we have identified the gift that God has offered to us, we will take a look at what has really made this gift possible. In our next session we will consider the last few words of the verse and see if we can understand what makes all of this so remarkable. So stay tuned.

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

The Great Contrast

Earlier we recognized in the first part of Romans 6:23 that states “For the wages of sin is death,”  that all of us have earned the wages  we deserve because of our sinful condition in the sight of Almighty God. This paycheck of death belongs to every man, woman, boy and girl who has ever been born since the fall of man in the garden. And as we saw in the previous session, the death in this context is not only physical death but spiritual death which is eternal separation from God. This appears to be a totally hopeless and helpless situation for humanity but again I remind you that God desires a relationship with all of us. So let’s take a look at the rest of the verse and see what remarkable love God has for us as evidenced by the offer he makes.

The second part of Romans 6:23 states “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  and my, what a statement that makes! This is powerful and most certainly worth taking a very close look at. As a matter of fact, we should look at several of the words in this part of the verse to understand the real impact of the statement that Paul makes by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So here goes.

The first word we will look at is gift. The reason this word carries such a great weight of importance is that it is a word that is in total contrast to the concept of “wages” in the first part of the verse. This is exactly why I chose the title for the session to be The Great Contrast. The word gift always has the indication that something is being offered that is unearned , undeserved and many times unexpected. The idea of a gift involves an unselfish attitude of the giver in which nothing in return is expected. If a return is expected then it is no longer a gift but a barter item. It is not offered out of obligation but of out of love. Another thing to consider is that the gift must be accepted if the receiver is to benefit from the gift. If it is accepted then the giver is delighted but if it is refused the giver is disappointed. In other words, refusal of the gift is a way of saying no to the motive behind the gift which, in this case, is God’s love for us and His desire to have that intimate relationship with us.

The contrast between the concept of wage earning and accepting a gift should be quite obvious to us by now and we should have a good understanding of the difference between the two. In the next session we will continue to dissect the verse by looking at some additional words that have great significance to the meaning of the verse. Before we are done, I hope all of us really do realize how God’s unconditional love for us is so remarkable!

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