Journey Through The Bible
Old Testament Reading: Jeremiah 34-36
New Testament Reading: Romans 6
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).
This verse is most often used today in witnessing to the lost, and certainly, it does apply. But we must remember that Paul was writing to Christians, and this is a warning to the saved. It is a summary statement to the chapter. Paul begins by stating; What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (v1-2).
Throughout the chapter, Paul writes about sin (and its resulting death) as a master and those who sin as its slaves. Countering this analogy is the fact that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has crushed the power of sin over those who believe in Him. Paul says, But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching to which you were handed over, and having been set free from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness (v17-18).
As Christians, we died to sin with Christ and are raised with Him to a new life of righteousness. But do we really believe this? Does the reality of Christ’s death and resurrection affect how we think and act daily?
Unfortunately, we often live as victims of our selfish desires and pleasures. We allow our old nature, our sinful desires, to take hold of us. And as a result, we suffer the consequences of our sin. The writer of Hebrews said for the Lord disciplines the one he loves and punishes every son he receives (Heb 12:6). Paul wrote to the Corinthians, this is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep (1 Cor 11:30).
Notice the comparison Paul makes with the contrast of wages and gift in verse 23. With sin, the person gets what they deserve. With God, the person receives the gift of life, which is beyond what anyone could earn or deserve.
Every day and every moment of every day, we have the decision to make. Do we yield to the temptation of our earthly desires and sin, or do we resist and enjoy the abundant life God has promised for us? Certainly, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit to help us in this matter of decision making, but ultimately, we are responsible to make the decision. We constantly live with the necessity to decide whether we are to continue to follow God as our master and walk with Him or allow our old sin nature to creep back into our lives and affect our fellowship with Him.