We started this blog as an avenue to talk about how the truth about God and His Word ought to affect our lives. One of the most important aspects about God (if not THE most important) is that He is relational – that is He desires to have loving relationships with people. However, another VERY important aspect of God is that He is Holy – that is He hates evil (which all of us practice more often than we’d ever admit). These two seemingly incompatible aspects of God’s character presented a problem that called for a radical solution… Let’s examine the problem and the solution by looking quickly at just one verse, Romans 6:23.
For the wages of sin is death, BUT the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This verse is rich with meaning – it’s full of bad news and good news. Let’s start with the bad:
Notice the first 3 key words in this passage: Wages, Sin and Death. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “Wages” as: “Payment for services to a worker…” It is something that is earned or deserved. Random House defines “sin” as: “any reprehensible or regrettable action, behavior, lapse, etc.” This is anything we do that is “reprehensible” rebellion against God (and this almost always “regrettably” hurts other people). When the Bible speaks of “Death” it always represents some sort of separation – when the body dies it is separated from the soul – this is what we commonly think of as death, but the Bible also speaks of a greater death… spiritual death (which is separation from God).
So to sum up the first phrase, what we EARN & what we DESERVE for the evil we do is to be eternally separated from the God who loves us and created us.
Scripture tells us elsewhere that if we physically die without our sin problem being fixed by God, we will remain separated from Him in a very real and scary place called Hell (e.g. 2 Peter 2:4-10). This is obviously VERY bad news, because we are all guilty of sin (Romans 3:23) and there is nothing we can do to fix that on our own (Ephesians 2:8-9) – the “wage” was earned and God is so true to His word that He HAS to pay up!
Surprisingly to some, Jesus spoke about this place more than He spoke about Heaven! I think this is because God is relational and He doesn’t want us to have to experience being separated from Him (and all the bad that goes along with that separation).
This is where the good news comes in. This is signaled by the “BUT” in the middle of the verse. It’s like God is saying… “You deserve some really bad news, however, I’ve got some GREAT news for you”… That Good News is found in the next phrase “the gift of God is eternal life”… Let’s break it down like the last phrase.
We all know what a “Gift” is. It is something given to and received by us that was neither bought nor earned. In this case the giver of the Gift (the one who initiated the giving) is none other than God Himself.
The gift is eternal life. If death = separation then life = fellowship/connection. In other words, we have the opportunity to be in relationship with God… not only temporarily, but (in the words of the kids from Sandlot) “FOR-EV-ER!” Did you catch that? This is saying that God has stepped in to solve our sin problem!!!
All that is left to explain is the question of “how?” The Answer: Jesus… specifically a relationship with Jesus Christ and by accepting what He (Jesus) did for us on the cross… Remember, God had to pay out the wage for sin… death – Jesus took upon himself that death verdict for all people who would accept that gift – for all time!
Just like any gift, we cannot merely understand that the gift is for us, we have to receive it. Romans 10:9-11 sheds a little light on how we are to do this.
If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
Ann Coulter recently said “It [Christianity] is the best deal in the universe… God sent his only son to get the crap beaten out of him, die for our sins and rise from the dead. If you believe that, you’re in. Your sins are washed away from you… because of the cross… Christianity is simultaneously the easiest religion in the world and the hardest religion in the world…” The simplicity of the Good News I just explained is the “easy” aspect of Christianity. The hard part will be the subject of other forthcoming blogs… But for now let’s just worry about the “easy” aspect.
To get in on the “easy” aspect here’s the questions that need to be answered for each of us:
- Have you ever done wrong in your life? In other words, are you a sinner?
- Do you want forgiveness for your sins?
- Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins, and then rose from the dead?
- Are you willing to surrender your heart to Jesus (as LORD – as seen above at the end of Romans 6:23)?
- Have you ever, or are you ready right now to accept God’s gift of eternal life by inviting Jesus into your life (Rev. 3:20)?
So, what IS the point? It’s all about what each of us will do in light of God’s offer of eternal life. If you have not trusted Jesus as your only hope for eternal life, I pray you will consider taking God up on His offer. If you already have trusted in Jesus, will you please consider talking to someone else about this? It really is the main point of life.
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