For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
Wages or a gift, which do you prefer? Would like to earn a wage of $100,000 a year and all the work related to it. Or would you like to receive a gift of a billion dollars and never have to work again?
Without out much thought one might quickly choose the gift. So let’s you and I together think through the gift. Huge gifts have packaged with them huge responsibilities, don’t they. To say the lest, these responsibilities do not change the ‘freeness’ of the gift. Let’s take a closer look into what Paul stated above.
First, there is the daily wage one earned in the first century AD. What Paul is communicating is that one may choose to earn daily from sin death. Or one may receive daily from God a gift of life. The key is the word daily. Our focus is upon today, upon this moment in time. And you get to choose: deal or no deal; life or death.
The problem is that often times wrong assumptions cloud the significance of the choice. An example of a wrong assumption would be: Since the gift is free, I do not have to do any thing except receive it. We hear this statement all the time, do we not? But it goes further, once I receive it, I don’t have to do any thing to keep it and since it is an eternal gift it can never be taken away from me.
Preacher, I do not have to do anything except receive the gift of eternal life. I do not have to do anything afterwards either. After all I do not want to appear to be trying to earn a free gift, do I?
I have literally heard people say these very words to me. I have also heard people deny these statements but live like they were true. The truth is that they are assumptions blind to the fact that nearly all gifts are packaged with relationship and responsibility.
Let’s see the gift of God which cannot be earned. It cost God His Son dying upon a criminal’s cross before He could even offer it to you. It cost Him having to break the bond in full rejection of His Son in order for Him to accept you into His presence. It cost His Son the bitter agony of death and separation from His father by taking your sin upon Himself. How can one receive from God such a extrordinary gift and then claim no responsibility related to Him or to the gift. Paul certainly did not intend to communicate this irresponisible conclusion.
Paul wrote, “But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. (Romans 6:22)” Being freed from sin is a condition no one can do for themselves; try as hard as one might, it is impossible. Being enslaved to God is the reality of having been freed from sin. One obeys the one to whom they present themselves either to sin resulting in death or to God resulting in righteousness and holiness.
Obedience of faith is the responsibility packaged with the free gift of eternal life. It is an obedience of gratitude. It is an obedience of faithfulness as a servant to his master. It is an obedience of love for the Giver because of the cost of the gift received. It is obedience from the heart drawn close to God through a cross and the blood that flowed through Immanuel’s veins. Ingratitude is disgraceful, is it not?
From my heart to yours, Luskey Green. South Jackson Street Church of Christ email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: http://luskeygreen.net