My first job as a young child, probably like most children, was a paper route. I collected on my work every two weeks and if my clients were not behind on their bill, it cost them $2.40. Now, my paper route was a pretty easy one, as all my clients were in one building…, it was a 6 floor, elderly building – an old folks home.
Unfortunately, due to memory loss with some of my clients, they didn’t always remember NOT paying me…, and so I’d have to show them proof that they really did owe me for multiple weeks that they were behind on their bill. It was tough convincing elderly people, as a 10 or 11-year-old that I wasn’t cheating them, and they really owed me the wage that I was seeking from them.
Young children understand what a wage is, especially if they are working for a wage! Young children also understand what gifts are, too. You see, I knew my clients by their room #, and not by their name. #501 was the lady who never believed that she was ever behind on a payment and it was the same story every week. But then there was 103, a sweet 90 some year-old lady…, who always gave the best Christmas bonus. It was always brand new, crisp singles – twenty of them, as a Christmas bonus. You know why I remember that? Because it was money and it was a gift and everyone loves gifts!
The bible talks about wages and gifts, too. In fact, what it says about wages is quite sobering. It states that “The wages of our sin is death.” And we are not talking about the kind of death where your heart stops beating and your body gets placed into a casket and hauled off to the grave yard! No, when the Bible talks about our sin’s wage deserving death, it’s talking about everlasting death, hell. I told you it was sobering.
It’s sobering because I know that I’m a sinner. I confess it nearly every day and sometimes multiple times in a day to my Lord. In thought, word, and deed, I fail to live according to the will of my God! I’ve failed to love him with all my heart, soul, and mind. And I have not loved my neighbor as myself. For this, the Bible says I deserve death, and that truly makes me sad, every time I hear that message from God’s Word.
And if that’s the only message I heard from God’s Word, I would certainly despair and give up on God, religion, and faith altogether. But it’s not the only message, is it? Not even close. Immediately after the Bible states that the “Wages of sin is death,” there is a huge, “But” that interjects itself into the verse. Let’s listen: it says, “But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
It’s a gift because it’s not deserved. You see, the Bible teaches us that “God so loved the world that he gave to us Jesus.” And Jesus came to represent us before his Father in heaven under God’s Law. Now, Jesus, never sinned once but was a perfectly obedient servant of God, who always put him first, and loved his neighbor as himself, something I nor you have ever come close to doing. But Jesus did it for us, as our substitute. And then he died on a cross as a one-time payment for all of our sin.
This is what this all means. Though my wage for my sin is eternal death; Christ came in my place and paid for my eternal debt by his death on the cross. That’s God’s gift to me and its his gift to you, too.
Share that gift with someone you know. Tell them that sin has been paid in full that a Savior has come and given them the gift of forgiveness and therefore the gift of eternal life.
Blessed day and week!