Bible Lesson 193

The Wages of Sin vs. The gift of God

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 6:23

“Sometimes your medicine bottle has on it, “Shake well before using.” That is what God has to do with some of His people. He has to shake them well before they are ever usable. Paul wrote to Timothy, ‘Stir up the gift of God, which is in thee.’

Vance Havner

This month we will open our Bibles and plumb the depths of what The Father meant by wages of sin and gift of eternal life. We can easily see in the beginning, that there are worlds of difference between the two because they represent the vast difference between heaven and hell. We are all born with an inheritance from our forefather (Adam), and that is that we are born with his sin nature, prone to disobedience, and we already owe God a debt, which is death.
At the same time, if we are diligent to seek God’s gift we can exchange our debt for eternal life. (Romans 6:23).

We should all be able to understand the principle because in the last few decades our country has under ‘free spending” politicians built up a National Debt that is in the multiple Trillions of dollars. Each of us have inherited our portion of that National debt and it reaches into the thousands of dollars that you and I owe to lenders or at least to catch up with the printing of paper money.

Now, the debt that we owe God which is death, does not begin in the Book of Romans, it began back in the Book of Genesis, in Chapter Two of Genesis, when God planted a garden eastward in Eden and put Adam in the garden to tend and keep it. Then The Lord God commanded the man saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” So we know from the Inspired Word of God that God furnished Adam a paradise to live in, and all Adam had to do was to tend and keep it. (Genesis 2:8-17).That should not have been hard, since at that time there was no thorns and thistles in it. The ground was not cursed at this time and it produced all that Adam needed with little effort on Adam’s part.

(Genesis 3:17-19). It is interesting to note that there were two trees that were mentioned to Adam here, first, the Tree of life, then the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God did not bar the fruit of the Tree of life to Adam, but He did the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil,(Genesis 2:9).

Adam and Eve were created in innocence, since they did not know good from evil when they were created. In fact, they did not know good from evil, and hence were not accountable, until they disobeyed God’s warning not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That is when they died instantly their Spiritual death and began the act of physical death. From the time that God drove them out of the Garden because of their sin, they no longer had a Spirit that could or would commune with God.

Since everyone who reads this lesson came through the seed of Adam and the Womb of Eve, we are all inheritors of their sinful nature. We are people who are not fit for heaven; because we owe God the debt that accrues from sin. Remember the Scripture that we used to begin this lesson, there in Romans 6:23, which says, ” The Wages of sin is death,’! wouldn’t we all be ship wrecked if God had stopped right there; but praise Him, He didn’t, He went on to say ‘ “But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” that proves that all of us were born with a debt (death, because we had a sin nature which was bound by Satan, and everything that we did, was counted as sin because we were sinners); however, our God who is Gracious and Merciful, promised us at the same time that He informed us of our debt of death, that He has a gift of eternal life. Now, don’t celebrate until you become interested in shedding your debt, by seeking God to find how we get that wonderful gift of eternal life. Million’s and even Billion’s of people, this morning or today, stand unmindful of that promise of eternal life in Christ Jesus. What about you’ Have you had your debt cancelled by the blood of Jesus Christ’ It isn’t hard; but neither is it automatic. It is not something that you can wrest from God, not something that you could ever be good enough or have enough money to earn. Not something that some group of well-intentioned people who call themselves Christians can bestow on you. You can’t get it in order to look better to the community, or to be a better husband, father or friend, although when you do it God’s way; and really are regenerate (born from above), you will be all of that. There is only one way that you will ever get that gift of God that gives you an inheritance in heaven for eternity, and that is the way that God sets forth in His Word the Bible. If you are Biblically literate you know that God sent His Son Jesus Christ to the earth to make “THE” way for those who will obey His commands, to live in such way that glorifies God. We find Jesus Christ from the very first days of His ministry that would lead to that cruel cross and his humiliation and death to redeem those who would truly obey Him, as He draws His disciples.

From the first, Jesus began to assemble a group of disciples, and as He called them to Himself and His cause, by saying “Follow Me”, and He is still calling disciples today with that same call of ‘Follow Me’. Christ promised these men that He would make them fishers of men.(Matthew 4:19). When one group of hearers asked Him, ‘Where are you staying’ He invited them to “Come and see’ (John 1:37-39), Christ still invites people to learn about him, to Come and See. There is only one place that Jesus Christ can be found with all that is involved in receiving that gift of eternal life, and that is the Bible.(Romans 10:17). Do you have a Bible or can you procure one’ I recommend that if you have one you begin to pray and ask God for guidance, because the Bible cannot be understood by the mind that is carnal, it will make sense only after much prayer and study and striving; but the gift is worth the time and effort. So much for the wages that we owe for right now: let’s look at the gift of God. We know and saw from scripture that we indeed owe the wages of sin because ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. We can glean the scriptures from Genesis Chapter Three, and we will find the gift illustrated there.

Look with me at verse 21 and we find there, “Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.” God had found Adam and Eve naked and hiding from Him in the Garden and He gave them the gift that covered their sin for a time. That coverings were from animals that God had sacrificed and taken their skins, and covered their nakedness. That covering was a shadow of the shedding of the blood of the Seed of the woman, that we find in verse 15 of Genesis Chapter Three. That Seed of the Woman points us to Jesus Christ whom the Father sent to take the place of those who would obey Him on the cross, and died, to redeem them from sin. (John 3:16-21; Hebrews 5:8-9). The gift of life that those who have been born again from heaven is Jesus Christ Himself. In Salvation we are recreated In Him (Ephesians 2:10). Then we are told in (2nd Corinthians 5:17), “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new Creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

The state and the position of the regenerate Christian is ‘In Christ.’ We are in Christ and Christ is in us. If we look at the gospel of John, Chapter 17 and verse 21, we find Jesus praying His High Priestly Prayer to the Father in Heaven, and this is just prior to the Cross, and Christ prays “That they all may be one, as You Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they may be one in Us, that the world may believe that you sent Me.” Then the Apostle Paul wrote as he was inspired by God, in (Galatians 2:20), “For I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Can you say that, just as Paul said it here’ Have you been Crucified with Christ and is He in You; and are you living every day by that faith that obeys all that Christ has commanded’

That Cross and what it represents to those who have any empathy for themselves, and for what God has done, which was offer up His One and only Son, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, the God man, to be nailed on that cross where you and I deserved to be nailed, and endure the humiliation and pain and death that you and I owed for our sinful lives. Christ who was God in the flesh, died nailed and beaten and spat upon the cross to be a curse for us. He bore the indignity and hurt that was ours, and He did it so that we could be redeemed from the curse of sin, and become the righteousness of God in Him (2nd Corinthians 5:21). Does that matter to you or are you so taken up with the devil’s business in this world that you don’t care’ God’s One and Only Begotten Son, gave up heaven and came to this sin sick world to make a difference in the lives of particular sinners. By that I mean that God knew a particular people, people by name from every nation tribe and tongue. Notice, I said God knew a people, we do not know who was elected before the foundation of the world, and the only way anyone will ever know if they are chosen by God, is to find themselves so dissatisfied with their sinful lives that they cannot live any longer without God.

Remember, Christ came to save sinners. We were all sinners; but not many are willing to own their sin, and fall before Jesus Christ as our only hope and follow God’s directions that are clear to those who study His Word, the Bible. Notice now, I said that Christ came to save those whom He redeemed with His blood as He died on the cross (Hebrews 5:8-9). These will all receive an effectual call of God upon their hearts and lives, a call that cannot be resisted, and the Bible tells us that whom He calls were, those who He foreknew or loved, before the foundation of the world. God has not left us their names or any mark that will say they have been foreknown. Incidentally, we are told by the Bible that ‘Whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified (Romans 8:29-30).Now, what does that mean to the individual that God saves’ What does He look like’ Well, He looks like the sinner, that God called to be a Saint (Romans 1:7), however he has a glow that lights up the area that he occupies. He still has all the features of humanness except He is different, radically changed because it is evident that He has been with Christ. He will be a Child of God instead of a creature of God. He will have a newness of life that not many others do not have, and He will be a man with a mission, and that mission will be to teach others to obey Christ.(Matthew 28:19-20). You may ask what do Saints do’ And the answer is that they obey all that Christ has commanded. The Words Saint and Holy are basically the same. The saint is Holy, set apart for God’s use, and believe me, God uses those whom He makes holy.

Listen dear brothers and sisters, I have been around a long time and I have heard this little song that too many Church members sing: you know the words ‘they go “Oh, we can’t live the life that God wants us to live; we are not saints, we are sinners. Well, if you have been thinking and singing that little song, and you want to inherit heaven for eternity, I suggest that you tighten up your act. We are called to be Saints, not sinners! I cannot find anywhere in the Bible where God gives us the gift of Salvation and then allows us to take back up a life of sin, and have it all brushed aside with oh, I’m a sinner. Some Presbyterians are good at that, and in fact too many of their elders seem to want to deny anyone into their group without having them say that they are sinners. I will share with you a snippet from one of the Presbyterian’s Theologians, His name is R.C. Sproul and in his book titled ‘Now that’s a good question’, someone asks him a question about can any saved person be perfect’ You will find his answer to that question on page 243 of his book that we mentioned above. Just let me share his answer with you since many of you will not have the book. Dr. Sproul’s answer to the question “can a person be perfect'” was ‘Theoretically, the answer is yes’. He goes on to explain that the New Testament tells us that with every temptation we meet, God gives us a way to escape that temptation (1st Corinthians 10:13). What he was saying in that statement, was we could live above sin, but we just don’t want to! Let’s agree with God in that He, in salvation, has given us a new birth, placed us in Christ Jesus, given us a new heart and a renewed mind, indwelled us with His Holy Spirit, and promised to work in us both to will and to do of His good will (Ephesians 2:10; Ezekiel 11:19; Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 1:13; Philippians 2:13). Jesus commands us in Matthew 5:48, to be “Perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” Now you may be free to argue with God dispute His Son Jesus Christ; however, I believe that every true Christian is perfect’and that is because we are being perfected by the only One that can do that, and His Name is Jesus. I know that there are many good people, and I believe they are saved but they will argue that they are sinners.

I have asked several of them what sin they were guilty of, and none of them owned up to any particular sin. They all said ‘I just know that I am guilty of something.’ Only sins that God has said are sins, are sins, we cannot make up some sin, in order to be able to call ourselves sinners. Christians can and do sometimes sin, but that does not make them lost people, all a Christian has to do if they sin is to agree with God that it is a sin and repent of it. That does not make it proper for any preacher to stand in the pulpit and accuse everyone of being sinners and then admitting that they are the worse sinner in the Church. If you had a toothache, would you go to the worst dentist in town to have it dealt with’ If your car breaks down do you seek out the worst mechanic in town to repair it’ If you have a young daughter do you want her to marry the worst bachelor in town’ That is absurd and what preachers should be doing is challenging their congregations to holiness and calling them to be saints. This continual bragging, or it seems that way to me, about being a sinner is not what we as preachers are called to do. Read 1st Peter Chapter one and verse 15, where the big fisherman Peter wrote under the inspiration of God’ “Be Holy , for I am holy.”. Hebrews 12:14 exhorts us to “Pursue peace with all people , and holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Romans 8:1 assures us that “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Let’s get on the right path, that path that God has laid out for us. God laid our a high road or path for us and we have been brow-beaten, and made to believe that we must travel the low road.

I perceive the problem to be that, decades ago, men began to leave the precepts, and commandments of the Bible, and as congregation grew little by little to have no fear of God, and now really have come to the point that they do not believe that God can keep them above sin. Argue with that if you will, but at the judgment bar you will not be able to plead ignorance. We have allowed men whose ‘intent’ might be good but who did not fear God enough to know His Word and Will, to dumb us down and in fact, most today kind of enjoy hearing a mishmash of flowery words that does not promise much, confronts nothing or no one, offers nothing, costs nothing and will be worth exactly nothing at the judgment. All too often that’s the brand of preachers we prefer. The old saying from years ago that says “When the Word of God is preached straight off the page, in context, without apology and explained with out any way for the hears to miss it’s meaning, then there will always be some who are sad, some will be mad, and some will be glad. I don’t have to tell you that most church members go to church on Sunday and leave without ever having any real feelings about what they heard. We have become like goats, everybody already has his mind made up about what he believes and nothing that a preacher says (or the Bible says will change him). God’s people are not goats’.they belong to the devil: God’s people are His Sheep and they hear His voice and they follow Him(John 10:27-30). Very few people today carry their bibles with them to church and even when pew bibles are available people just don’t go to the trouble of opening one. They pay some one to preach to them and they selectively believe whatever they want to believe.

Knowing God means knowing your Bible, and struggling to understand it, the Bible is not optional because if anyone is capable of reading and understanding the Word of God they will under the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit, desire to read and understand it. I’m not saying that the Pastor has no responsibility, what I am saying is that his responsibility is a shared responsibility between preacher and hearer. We are generations that have been over communicated about most everything. We have the telephone, the telegraph, the television, the internet, face-book, and twitter. We have competing news anchors who share their opinions rather than real hard news and much of the news in our day here in America is not worth hearing.

We even have false prophets who spend millions of dollars to present to us a gospel that is not a gospel. We are so easily impressed by some man or woman, with improved skin, and manufactured teeth, and a prosperity gospel that we send them a lot of our hard-earned cash and by doing that we are participating in their sin. In closing of this lesson concerning the wages of sin and the gift of God, I would encourage you all to begin to humble yourselves before God, and that should not be hard because He is the Almighty who spoke all that we know into being and who has provided His own Son to die in our place so that we might be saved. When you have humbled yourself before God, begin to pray and ask God to show you your own heart and the depth of your depravity. Then seek the face of God and the only place you will find God is in Your Bible. Judge yourself by what the Bible teaches and then turn away from all of your sin and perhaps God will hear you.

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob