- Wages of Sin is Eternal Death – We read in 1 Cor 15:56 that “the sting of death is sin…”. In this verse, as well as many others in the Bible, we notice that God is linking death to sin. Because of this fact, we know that God is not referring to physical death but to spiritual death, which is ultimately the eternal “second death”, or Hell. Jam 1:15 also expresses the same idea as it pinpoints the origin and progression of all sin: “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death”. Another significant passage is Rom 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. The reason this is so is because sin, by biblical definition, is the transgression of God’s Law, as stated in 1 John 3:4, an exceedingly relevant verse: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law”. You and I are fully aware that when we break one of the laws of our land there will be consequences, and in the case of sin the consequences are eternal in duration and intensity. The Bible informs us that we cannot serve two masters “sin unto death” and “obedience unto righteousness”. Rom 7:5 explains, “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death”. To be “in the flesh” signifies that we are not saved; however, to be “in the spirit” is language that refers to somebody that has become a child of God. In John 3:6 the Bible declares, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” and verse 7 continues, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again”. The Bible has so much to say with regard to our sinfulness, and by the same token, much to say about God’s love – the only solution to our sin problem.
Rom 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Rom 5:12: “Wherefore, as by one man [speaking of Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned…”
Rom 6:16 “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”
Gal 6:7-8 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
Rev 21:8 “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
- No Mercy Without Judgment – Our sin is like an insurmountable debt of infinite proportions that can never be paid, as Mat 18:34 explains, “And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him”. Everything in the Scriptures shows us that God is not to be trifled with or lightly esteemed. It is no wonder that the Bible uses such horrific language as “…Vengeance is mine, I will repay…” found in Rom 12:19; and Heb 10:31, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”. Eternal God is a God of Law, and the Bible is His Law Book. God created the universe and established His physical, moral, and spiritual laws according to His infinite wisdom and sovereign will. He enforces His rules for His righteous purposes and for His glory according to His standards of perfect justice. Every sin we commit is a transgression of God’s Law, as we read in 1 John 3:4. Therefore, every sin is judged by God Himself, in the Person of Jesus Christ, as John 5:22 declares. The “wicked” in Psa 9:17 are all those from all the nations of the world who are unsaved on Judgment Day: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God”. Hell is terrible, and it exists because God created man to be accountable to God for his actions, because God’s perfect justice demands payment for sin. However, before God will send anyone to Hell that person must be tried and found guilty of committing a crime. Sadly for us all, a guilty verdict is certain, as James 2:10 states: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all”. Ultimately, God alone gives or takes away physical life; but what is infinitely more important is the state of our soul, according to Mat 10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell”. Only those whose names are written in the “Lamb’s book of life” (Rev 21:27) will be spared the eternal anguish of Hell, which is figuratively called the “lake of fire” in Rev 20:15, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire”. Remember that references to “fire” and “smoke” in the Bible are often used to symbolize the wrath of God. Consider the testimony of Him, Who as the Judge of all the earth, is soon to appear to both try and condemn all who have not been clothed with His glorious righteousness in the sobering words of Rev 19:11-21. Is God justified in His anger? The answer is definitely yes! Gen 18:25b asks the rhetorical question, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Rom 3:5b-6 poses the question, and then proceeds to answer it: “Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?” Ultimately, everything that God does is for His Own glory. And that is certainly true of His anger, which will be vindicated.
John 5:22 “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.”
Acts 17:31 “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man [Lord Jesus Christ] whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”
Luke12:4-5 “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him [God], which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.”
Rom 9:22 “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction…”
Rev 19:11-16, 20-21 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. 20And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.”
- He Hath Poured Out His Soul Unto Death – So, where does mercy come into the picture? God’s Laws are a reflection of His righteousness, and God has bound Himself to execute judgment righteously. That means there can be no “plea bargains” and no “pardons” at the Judgment Seat of Christ – the penalty for sin must be paid. But God, by His grace, love, and mercy, did pay the penalty of eternal damnation for His people through the atoning work of Jesus Christ at the cross. What exactly did Christ offer? The Lord Jesus Christ was made sin and became a curse as He poured out His soul – that is, His life – for those whom He came to save. Now, that is the greatest act of mercy in the history of the world. God’s Mercy is Predicated on the Atoning Work of His Son as we read in Heb 2:17. 1 Cor 15:22-25 asserts: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive”. In other words, all those in Adam die and all those in Christ shall be made alive again. Who are these “all” that are recipients of God’s mercy? We read these words in Mic 7:18, “…and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage”. The “remnant of his heritage” refers to those whose sins God has forgiven – those upon whom God has bestowed His gift of salvation. First and foremost, it was the will of God, as we see in Gal 1:4. Secondly, it was the love of God as Rom 5:8 and Eph 5:25-27 states. Thirdly, He had to do what man was utterly incapable of doing as Tit 3:5 reveals. Fourthly, it was done in humble obedience, as Php 2:8 indicates. There is a specific moment in time that God applies His Word to the heart of each individual He plans to save (the elect) and gives him spiritual hearing. That is when God makes him a true believer. That is when he passes from “death” unto “life”. That is the moment of the spiritual “first resurrection” of the soul of each believer from the dead, as we see in John 5:24-25. John 11:25-26 emphasize the fact that true believers, who have been spiritually resurrected from “the dead” (that is, from their natural spiritually dead condition), will never have to face eternal death again because God has given them eternal life, as we read in Rom 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. To summarize, man either pays the penalty of the second death himself or Jesus Christ the Savior pays it for him. There are no other options. However, if we are not saved during our temporal lifetimes, we will have to stand for judgment and experience the “second death” in the “lake of fire”, where there is no hope of salvation forevermore. The good news is if Christ is your Savior, then He was laden with your sins; He stood for judgment in your place; He was found guilty; He paid the penalty for your sins; and you have eternal life that can never be lost. The bad news is if Christ is not your Savior, you will experience the “resurrection of damnation”; you will stand before the Judgment Throne of Christ; you will be found guilty; and you will pay the penalty of the “second death” yourself. That is the two-edged Gospel message of salvation. It is indeed “a matter of life or death”.
Matt 1:21 “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins”
Matt 20:28 “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
John 10:11,15,17-18 “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep…As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep… Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
Heb 2:17 “Wherefore in all things it behoved him [Jesus Christ] to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people”
Gal 1:4 “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world: according to the will of God and our Father.”
Rom 5:8 “But God commendeth [exhibits] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Eph 5:25-27 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word: That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Php 2:8 “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself; and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Tit 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
Mic 7:18 “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.”
Psa 86:13 “For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.”
Isa 53:12 “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
1 Pet 3:18 “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit…”
John 5:24-25 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”
John 11:25-26 “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?