“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Romans 6:23 (NIV)
Have you ever negotiated a salary? The goal in these negotiations is to ensure someone receives fair wages. If you’re negotiating on your behalf, you want to be paid what you feel is rightly owed to you based on your work. If you’re the employer or represent the employer, your goal is to make sure the employee receives the compensation their work has earned them. However, the idea of fair compensation may be vastly different depending on which side of the table you’re on.
Today, I have a bad news/good news situation for you. First, the bad news:
In the salary negotiation that took place at the table of eternity, the fair and just wages for your life and mine was determined to be death. Now, many people do not agree with this assessment. Many believe they’re “good” people, that they’ve done enough good to outweigh the bad, that their performance and works has earned them eternal life as compensation. They base this assessment on a human standard of comparison and a scale of balance between evil and good works.
But the problem is the standard is not human; it’s a holy and perfect God, and the scale can never be tipped to good, because “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned” (Romans 5:12 NLT). Romans 3:12 (NIV) declares, “There is no one who does good, not even one” because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NIV). Ephesians 2:3 (NIV, emphasis added) makes it clear that “we were by nature deserving of wrath.”
That’s the bad news. Here’s the good news: “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” That’s the gospel right there! We rightfully deserve death and hell, but God, in His infinite mercy and boundless love, sent Jesus, His perfect, sinless, righteous Son into the world, to do on our behalf the work that leads to life. Ephesians 2:8–9 (NIV) so beautifully states, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Friends, Jesus has negotiated a new wage for all who believe in Him, a wage based on His completed work of redemption. And by His Spirit, we can walk in true good works, the works that God has prepared for us. So, let’s get to work!
DIG: Have you ever felt you received unfair payment for something you did? How did that make you feel?
DISCOVER: As it pertains to our eternal destinies, why is death the only fair compensation? If you are a believer who has been saved by grace, who has received the gift of God through Jesus, how are you living in light of this gift?
DO: Today, share the good news of the gospel with someone in your life.