Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 6

Sin's terrible reward and God's wonderful gift

Romans 6:23

At the time of the Bible, it was usual to pay workers each evening, for their day’s work (Matthew 20:1-16).  A bad employer might delay the payment (Leviticus 19:13).  He would not care how much the workers suffered.

Sin is like a terrible employer.  Sin means our wrong and evil thoughts, words and actions.  We are all guilty (3:23).  Our wrong desires and attitudes affect our lives so powerfully that they seem to be part of our nature.  We cannot free ourselves from the control of these things.

We often imagine that we are gaining a good reward from such behaviour.  We say that our efforts have earned us happiness, or satisfaction, or money, or importance, or honour.  However, none of these rewards are real because they do not last.  They may disappear in a moment, but we will certainly lose them at death.

Death is a poor reward for the efforts of our whole lives.  The Bible teaches that death separates our spirit from our body (Ecclesiastes 12:7).  Our body returns to the earth (Genesis 3:19); our spirit goes to God who is our judge (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

Only God can free us from the power of sin and death (8:2).  This can happen only because Christ died to suffer the punishment for our sin (5:6-8).  We must invite God to rule our lives, instead of sin (6:16-18).  Then God will give us life that never ends (John 3:16; John 5:24; John 6:35-40).  This is the kind of life that continues even after the death of our body (John 11:25-26).

We can never earn this wonderful gift.  God gives it to us as an act of his grace, his kindness (4:1-8).  We receive it by faith, in other words, when we believe God (5:1-2).  Faith means active belief and trust in God.  It is the right attitude for someone who wants God to direct his life.  See also Matthew 11:28-30.

Next part: Who, or what, has authority over your life? (Romans 7:1)

 

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© 2017, Keith Simons.