An Honest Day’s Pay for An Honest Day’s Work

An often-quoted Bible verse: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

What are wages? The money we earn for doing our job. We get paid our wages when we actively choose to perform the tasks that we were told would result in us getting paid, right? So if the wages are payment for work done, then sin is the work. It is something we actively choose to do, not something that "happens to us" or that we can't avoid. And just like the boss tells us when we start a job what our wages will be, the Bible tells us what we will earn for sin: death.

When Adam and Eve committed the first sin, God "paid them their wages". Genesis 3:22 says: And the Lord God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." So when Adam was 930 years old, he died. God paid him his wages. When we choose to commit sin, we earn our own death. Eternal death, or what is also called the second death. (Revelation 2:11 & 20:14)

But what about the second half of that verse? "...but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." What is a gift? Something given to us out of love, without us doing anything to earn it. So even though we EARNED death, God gives us the GIFT of life! But hold on, it doesn't just say he gives us eternal life, it says he gives us eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. So what does that mean?

To be "in Christ Jesus" means when God looks at us, he's looking at us through his son, like a filter that makes us appear clean and worthy of eternal life. Without that filter, he sees us as we really are: sinful and deserving of death. We can only receive the gift of eternal life if we are in Christ Jesus, who himself said, "No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) So only those who are in Christ Jesus will get the gift of eternal life. Does that sound narrow-minded and unfair to all the billions of good people in the world who don't happen to be Christians? Maybe, but "...wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)

So how does one get to be in Christ Jesus? The people asked Peter this in the Book of Acts, chapter 2 and he replied "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call." (Acts 2:38-39)

Have you repented of your sins? Have you chosen to then be baptized? A baby cannot repent his or her sins, so baptizing a baby doesn't make sense. And what is baptism anyway? The greek word, baptisma, literally means "immerse". It is immersion into the water, exactly as it was performed in the Bible. Water was not poured or sprinkled on the person... the person was immersed into it. It represents the burial and resurrection of Jesus (going into the water and then coming out). Again, pouring or sprinkling water on a person would not imitate a burial or a resurrection.

So, to sum it all up: For the wages (what we earn) of sin is death (eternity away from God, in hell), but the gift (undeserved and freely given) of God is eternal life (eternity with God in heaven) in Christ Jesus our Lord (having repented and been baptized). In other words, we deserve to spend eternity in hell, but God will let us spend it with him in heaven, as long as we are faithful Christians.