God’s Free Gift
Paul writes these words in Romans 6:23,
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
(Rom. 6:23 ESV)
These words are the grounds for what Paul stated in verses 21-22. “But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” (Rom. 6:21-22 ESV) Why are these two verses true? Paul says, “For the wages of sin is death…”
Sin here is pictured as a commanding officer paying a wage to a soldier. A wage is something that one earns. It is something owed to someone for services rendered. In this case, what sin has earned them is death. Death is always the result of sin. Notice the contrast. The wages of sin is death – what sin earns one is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Eternal life is a free gift of God. It is not something that one earns. It is not something one is owed because of their own merit. It is a free gift of God. It is freely given to all whom He chooses.
Lloyd-Jones points out three contrasts 1) the master served – sin versus God; 2) the outcome of that service – death versus eternal life; and 3) the means by which the outcome is attained – a “wage” earned versus a gift received. Do you see the massive difference between what one’s sin earns him and what God gives freely?
Notice what else Paul says about eternal life. It is only IN Christ Jesus our Lord. In Christ Jesus, God gives the gift of eternal life. It can be found in no one else. Only those united with Christ will receive the free gift of eternal life.
Friends, hear the words of Paul. The wages of sin is death. Your sin earned you death. You were owed death. If you are reading this article today and you are not in Christ, then you currently sit under the sentence of death. But if you are reading this article today and you are in Christ, then God has given you the free gift of eternal life. You did not earn it. It was not owed to you, but God freely gave it to you by the completed work of His Son.
May we reflect on God’s free gift of eternal life for those in Christ as we begin a new year.
His Grace Alone,