The Wages of Sin

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, March 18, 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.”

Easter is right upon us so this week and next week I want to emphasize this verse. Today, I will address the first half of this verse: the wages of sin is death. Then next week, on Good Friday, I will have a post on the free gift of eternal life.

Today’s post is not a pleasant one, nor it is a politically correct one. As we are preparing to celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, we need to understand why he came to begin with. If you have followed my posts for Worldview Warriors for a while, you have heard me reference the origins debate between Biblical Creation and Evolution a fair amount. I do that for a reason. If Genesis is not historical truth as written, then the entire Gospel is built upon a myth and cannot actually be lived. Can one believe an Old Earth and live a true Christianity? Sure, but their belief in an Old Earth is irrelevant to the fact that Genesis records the actual history of the origins of universe and mankind.

In Genesis 3, we have the first mention of death. God had previously warned Adam and Eve that if they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they would die. They did eat of the tree. For Eve, she was tricked. For Adam, however, it was outright rebellion against God’s commands. We need to understand what sin really is. Sin is not a mistake. It is not a boo-boo. It is not a ‘misjudgment’. It is not an error. Sin is disobedience. It is rebellion. As C.S. Lewis more accurately put it in Narnia, it is treachery. And God made very clear that the due payment for such deeds is death.

But Adam and Eve did not die that day. Did God lie or fail to carry through on his promise? This is a major charge against God himself as this violates his character. There is a part of Genesis 3 often missed. Someone DID die that day - it was an animal. God killed the animal to provide clothing for Adam and Eve. This is the very first picture of the Gospel in the Bible. In order for man to survive the just penalty for sin, someone had to die in their place. Now animals cannot complete the picture, because man is not an animal. It took a man to fulfill this picture: Jesus Christ.

Adam and Eve’s sin brought death into the world. Both were evicted from the Garden of Eden, particularly access to the Tree of Life lest they eat of it and live forever. That is actually a blessing, a mercy by God. Because if they had eaten of the Tree of Life in their sinful state, they would live forever in that sinful state: eternally separated from God and eternally cursed. The only way to escape that curse is through death.

Why can’t there be any other way? Jesus himself asked if there be any other way when he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. Eastern cultures think of bonding agreements in terms of covenants. It’s different than our Western thinking of contracts. Because God is eternal, he makes everlasting covenants that last from generation to generation. We can boil down the covenants to two simple statements: Obedience leads to life, disobedience leads to death. God is not a brutal dictator, but he is a pure, holy, and just God.

Our problem is that we flat out do not take sin seriously. I know I don’t, or certainly not as serious as I should. God is loving and merciful. Do not get me wrong. But how often do we go do what we want to do and think, “God will forgive me anyway because his love and grace is greater than my sin.” It is true that God’s grace exceeds our sin, but that does not give us a right to continue in it.

Sin is rebellion against God. Many of us think of the Big 10, also known as the 10 Commandments. Yes breaking those are sins. Those are a big summary of the whole Law, enough that God had Moses place them in the Ark of the Covenant. But sin can be simplified even more than just breaking one of these Ten. What I have learned in my studying of the Bible, sin in a very simple, one-statement nutshell is this: “I want to do things my way.” Twice Proverbs says “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” The main theme of the book of Judges is, “Each man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

Every time man has tried to do his own thing, it never ends well in the long run. It may seem just fine for a time, but going against God’s ways will eat away at you. We look for our fixes to our problems and while they can mask them, it never makes them go away. And that fix becomes less and less effective so we try to find something stronger. It is a continual spiral towards death and destruction.

It is not just that. Romans 1 makes clear that there are often times that sinful lifestyles are not merely a direct choice but a judgment from earlier choices. If we reject God’s ways long enough, he will give us the desires of our heart: to live without his guidance. If we refuse to listen to God’s guidance, he has no obligation to protect us. He will hand us over to the way we want to live. The culture we have today is a result of the sins of the generation before us, however the generation we have today is doing even worse sins than the generation before us. We are living in judgment and in reality it is only a matter of time before God’s cup of wrath for America is filled.

Are we taking sin seriously enough? It is obvious our nation is not. We flaunt our sin, boast about our immorality, and are shaking our fists at God, daring him to bring the final judgment. How foolish to dare God to bring his judgment? The same people that whine and complain about how God wiped out civilizations with a Flood, with the conquest of Canaan, and killed people on the spot for their sin are daring God to do the same to them. It will not be pretty when that day comes… and it will come.

But hope is not lost. While the wages of sin is death, God holds his wrath back as long as he can because he does not want to see us perish. He offered us a way to escape the ultimate judgment. I will write about that next week.

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