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