THE GREATEST GIFT
“For, the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God Is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord”
-Romans 6: 23
(1) “THE WAGES”
-A wage is what you earn for what you do.
-If you work a job you might earn money.
-If you drive too fast you earn a speeding ticket.
-It’s what you deserve for your actions…
(2) “OF SIN”
-Sin is all the wrong things you do.
-Sin is not doing the good you know you should.
〉”For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3: 23
-Sin isn’t only bad because of the people it hurts, it’s bad because of the holy God it offends.
-Holiness isn’t just perfection, it’s unlike anything we could imagine. To bring our sin into His presence would cause unimaginable fear. (Isaiah 6: 1-7) (Exodus 33: 17-23, 29-35) (2 Samuel 6: 1-7) (Revelation 5: 11-14)
〉“Against You (Lord), You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You may be justified in Your words and blameless in Your judgment.” Psalms 51:4
(3) “IS DEATH”
-The physical result of our sin is a physical death.
-We have corrupted our bodies and world with sickness and disease by rebelling in sinful desires instead of trusting in God’s beautiful design for His creation.
-The spiritual result of sin is spiritual death (hell).
-God’s righteous judgment against a life of sin and perpetual rebellion to Him is hell.
〉“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.” Rom. 2:4-5
(So, what we earn for sin is hell)...
-Aren’t you glad there’s a “but”!
(5) “THE FREE GIFT OF GOD”
-Our holy God, good to enact justice on the sinner, is also full of mercy and grace. He provided a gift.
-Opposite of the wage we’ve earned, the gift is not earned or deserved, it is given by God.
-The gift is free but it was bought at the highest price. (His Son’s life)
-The gift is free but it‘s received at the highest cost. (Surrendering our life)
(6) “IS ETERNAL LIFE”
-Eternal life is for everyone: The righteous (redeemed) to heaven and the wicked (unredeemed) to hell.
〉“Then those who feared the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who feared the Lord and esteemed His name. “They shall be mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves Him. Then once more you shall see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve him.” Malachi 3: 16-18
-If you don’t long for the presence of the Lord now you would hate it in heaven.
-If you don’t love the presence of the Lord now, He won’t bring you into it for all eternity.
-God’s Holy Spirit can give you that desire... so there is still hope.
(7) “THROUGH CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD”
-Jesus Christ, both Son of God and Lord of all, creator of the universe and God in the flesh came to earth to live a perfect life, die, and raised to life again 3 days later.
-He satisfied the wrath of God the Father against sin.
-Jesus justified those whose sins He paid for as they are credited with His righteousness through faith in Him.
〉“...without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Hebrews 9: 22b
〉“He himself (Jesus) bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2: 24
〉“In Him (Jesus) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses (sins), according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us.” Ephesians 1: 7
〉 “and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” 2 Corinthians 5:15
〉“ For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1: 18
(So, how do we receive the gift of life through Jesus?)...
〉 “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Romans 10:9-10
〉“Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. I (Jesus) have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in Me may not remain in darkness.” John 12: 25 & 46
〉”For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Romans 8: 13-14
〉“Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” James 1: 21
〉“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,” Acts 3: 19-20
〉"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.“ John 3: 16
(So, what is our response to this gift?)...
*** Turn from a love of self and a trusting in the things of this world to a love and trust in Christ alone. Repent: ask God for forgiveness and turn from all sin for which Christ died. Surrender your whole life completely to Jesus in words, actions, and the truth of your heart. He is worthy and your new life will never be the same, eternally secure, in the hands of the One who created you, loves you, redeemed you, and holds you forever. ***
You could be a rich white man addicted to alcohol and food. You could be a poor black man addicted to drugs and women. You could be a middle class Asian woman addicted to prescription pills and ‘likes’ on social media. You could be a teenage kid addicted to perfect grades and perfect hair. You could be a newlywed wife who longs only for her husband and nothing else. You could be a dad who’s cell phone might as well be glued to his hands and eyes. Addictions are idols. And often addictions are disguised as good things. We see the homeless druggie so differently than the rich Wall Street banker who’s nearly abandoned everything and everyone for money, career success, and notoriety. But they are exactly the same. They’ve created an idol where God should be. God’s first commandment is, “You must have no other gods before Me.” ...and that’s exactly what idols are, they’re gods.
I had countless gods. Of course I’d never call them that because I’d always believed in Jesus, aways trusted Him as savior for my sins, but I never gave Him Lordship over my life... And if I had died I’d hear the same thing Jesus said in Matthew 7:23. That many people will expect to get into heaven but He will say to them, “I never knew you. Depart from me you workers of lawlessness.” It’s true that I felt guilty for bad things I did but it was usually because it hurt me or people I loved (which really, ultimately, came back to hurting me). I wasn’t grieving over the pain I caused Christ when I sinned. I’d turn to Him for help and escape as relief. But I wasn’t submitting my life to Him, I was asking him to add on to mine. The Lord wasn’t my God, He was one of my gods. It wasn’t until my salvation that I layed down my love of this world and began to really love the sacrifice of self in exchange for the gain of Christ. Now, He who began this work in me at salvation has continued it and will complete it. He is alive in me and will not bring false witness to His name. So, I can surly trust I am in good hands, the hands of my redeemer.
I pray for you: Turn from your sins. Throw away your idols. Christ is sufficient and all together worthy.