For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
I learned this verse as a small child. Did you? I was taught that this was the Gospel in a nutshell, the foundation of salvation by faith. But like many things I memorized, the beauty and meaning was absent until I lived a lot more life.
This verse alone is the reason many people ignore the scriptures and the revelation of God in nature. Their personal theology is this.
My sin earns me death.
My righteousness (good deeds) earns me life in heaven.
If they believe in God, the spend their life trying to tip the balance of the scales on the righteousness side. All their striving has to earn them something in the eyes of a loving God, right? But God’s theology is this:
Your sin earns you death.
Your righteousness earns you death.
What kind of God is that? All my attempts to love, be charitable, serve in the church, perform heroic acts for my family, these earn me death? Yes, because the problem of my sin nature has not been addressed. I can’t undo the penalty of death no matter how hard I try.
God is not unreasonable nor uncaring. Because my righteousness can not earn me anything but death, Jesus stepped in the picture to offer Himself as a sacrifice on my behalf. On the other side of Calvary, he offered me the gift of eternal life. There was a stipulation ~ I had to own the truth of my lost condition. I had to agree with God that my sin and my righteousness weren’t good enough. Only then could I embrace Jesus as my Savior and accept His death, on my behalf, as a free gift. This alone gave me eternal security.
My future is based on this, Lord. You – plus nothing else. Today, you owe me nothing but everything you give, which is everything you have, you freely give because you love me. This fixes any arrogant bent of my heart. I stand in a humble place. Amen