The Gift of God

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, March 25, 2016 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

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

Last week I talked about penalty, the wages of sin. It seems like a hopeless situation because every person is guilty of breaking God’s Laws. Every person has rebelled against God, wanting to do their own thing, their own way. It’s treachery. We executed Benedict Arnold for much less, yet we try to excuse ourselves when it comes to God’s standards. Why? Because we do not take sin seriously. We don’t see it as a big deal, yet the Judge does. We have no regard to the criminal in our justice system that seems to not care about our laws. We usually want them to get the max penalty when they show absolutely no remorse for what they did and just want to get off the hook. Yet how often do we do the exact same thing when we are the ones facing God?

The Judge of all things is going to bring what is due, but he loves us so much that he does not want us to endure that. Bill Seng recently wrote about God’s love, how he will go and fight for us. We have to remember we have an accuser who acts as a district attorney. Remember that Satan was cast out of heaven for his rebellion and is doomed to hell with no chance for redemption. So he accuses us when we sin because if God is holy, pure, and just, he MUST punish sin.

But if for no other reason other than to smack the devil upside the head (there are more), God said, “Watch what I’m about to do.” He sent Jesus to this earth to live as one of us and to take the penalty we are due. God’s justice was satisfied and man had an escape route. But too many people stop with the good news right there. Take the time to watch this Gospel presentation by Eric Ludy.

Too often people settle for just “get out of hell.” After all, nothing else matters, right? Get to heaven for eternal life and anything else is extra details, right? If that is the mentality, I do believe we have missed the point of Christianity. It is so much more. This mentality is just a “get out of hell free” card and that is not what Jesus died for. It is part of the picture, but not the whole picture.

Jesus died to deal with the problem of sin. For the very reason he had to come to begin with: the separation between us and God. He died so we no longer have to deal with our sin. If we have the picture of salvation being just getting out of hell, what separates that from selfishly getting whatever you want for free? That mentality is humanism dressed in religious terminology. Salvation is not about what we can get out of it. It is about what God did for us. It is about God, not about us. We are the reward the Lamb slain deserves.

If we are saved, that means we are born again. We have a new nature, new desires, new goals. What we enjoyed in our sin no longer should be enjoyable. If it is, we should examine ourselves and find out if our claimed salvation is legit. I am not saying we won’t sin. We still will sin. We may still struggle in sin. But we shouldn’t. I have things I struggle with and have for decades and I hate it. I hate that I am, but that sinful old-self keeps lingering trying to get more and more of it. Am I saved? This I know. My salvation has nothing to do with a confession of faith I made. It has nothing to do with the sincerity of a prayer I said. It has everything to do with what Jesus did and I depend on him every day for what I do. And when I don’t, that is when sin gets the open door.

Is salvation real? Or is it just a religious claim we make? Do we just believe it? Or are we living it? This is a free gift to us in the sense that we can do nothing to earn it. But it is not without a cost. Our salvation cost the Son of God his life. And if we are to participate in this free gift, we need to lay down our life as well. This does not earn it like a job earns wages, like our sin earns us death.

This gift must be received. It is a New Covenant. But in order for the New Covenant to be activated, we must die to the Old Covenant: the law of sin and death. We must put sin to death, nail it on the cross. Again it is not something we do to earn salvation, which means it is not works-based. Laying your sins down at the cross never does the work of salvation; it is Christ who did that. Read 1 Corinthians 15. If we, by faith, die in Christ as he died, then as he rose from the dead, so shall we. Jesus had to die physically and spiritually. Likewise, we need to die physically and spiritually. But like Christ, if we have our complete trust in him, as he rose physically and spiritually, so shall we rise. Our spirit was raised the moment of salvation, the moment we were born again as Jesus laid out in John 3. We still will die physically, however because of our faith in Christ, we will raise again, with incorruptible bodies that await the New Earth.

However, if we do not accept the gift, if we do reject God’s offer and still insist on living our own ways, then this gift will not apply to us. We will still be under the law of sin and death and we will face the judgment under that law instead of the law of grace, with a defense attorney in Christ. Jesus bought us with a price beyond what any of us can imagine. If we snuff our noses at him, and give him the finger, should we expect mercy when it comes to Judgment Day?

I opened last week’s post with Genesis. Adam and Eve had two choices: the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. One tree led to life; the other tree led to death. Adam and Eve chose death. But now the choice has been offered again. Life or death? Death to the lifestyle leading to death and entrance to eternity in intimate relationship with Christ? Or continual living our own way, doing our own thing, and being responsible for our choices alone? The choice is yours. I have chosen life. It’s not easy, it’s not always fun, but it is worth it, because I know where this path leads, and I know where the alternatives lead as well. Which path are you on? Choose life.

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