Ron Graham was called home on March 14, 2013. He began writing this commentary before his death and had asked me, Nathele Graham, to continue his service to our Lord by finishing what he began.
“For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). If that doesn’t scare you then you aren’t paying attention. There is no big mystery about the meaning of a wage. It is something you get for something you have done…usually used in a good context of going to work and being paid for that work. But this says that sin has a wage. That wage is death! Well, what then is sin?
Strong’s Concordance defines it in a few ways, such as: “to miss the mark or to err,” but the one that fits best here is: “That which is done wrong, sin, an offense, a violation of the divine law in thought or in act.” Ouch, in thought or in act? Divine law? Read Leviticus and the Sermon on the Mount and see how easy it is for humans to do this. We all sin because it is in our human nature. That isn’t an excuse, but each and every one of us sins daily.
So, what is the wage of this sin? Death. That doesn’t sound good, but let us once again look in Strong’s Concordance and see how it is defined. Again, there are multiple definitions, but two apply here: “The misery of the soul arising from sin, which begins on earth but lasts and increases after the death of the body in hell” and: “The miserable state of the wicked dead in hell.”
Does anyone want to earn those wages? It is easier to sin than you think and it isn’t something one has to decide to work for to earn. Do you ever get angry? Maybe you have a bad cold and you want to sleep in, but your neighbor’s son decides that is the time to wash his car while he has his boom box blasting. You get angry. Being angry is normal, isn’t it? Just being human.
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:21-22).
“Raca” means empty, or an empty headed man and was a term of reproach in biblical times. (So, back to the boom box.) You lye there and think to yourself “What an idiot!” Guess what, you’ve just sinned. The neighbor hasn’t done anything wrong in washing his car, but you get angry and think him an idiot. What does Romans 6:23a, say? Yep, “The wages of sin is death.”
Do you feel discouraged? Is there any hope? Of course there is hope, and hope only comes through Jesus Christ.
“But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 6:23b.
I like Strong’s definition of the word, gift: “The economy of divine grace, by which the pardon of sin and eternal salvation is appointed to sinners in consideration of the merits of Christ laid hold of by faith.” In other words:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
There is nothing we can do to save ourselves. Christ paid the full price and took the wages of our sin on the cross. Then He gave us the gift of salvation. We cannot earn salvation; the gift has to be accepted, but it is offered freely. We must recognize the fact that we are sinners and that Christ is the only way to salvation. From the example above you can see how easy it is to sin. But when Christ’s free gift is accepted we have a pardon.
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
We all have heard of people sitting on death row who have committed the most heinous crimes but they have accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation. Can they really be saved? Their sin is so great. People tend to see one sin as worse than another, but God sees sin as sin.
It seems reasonable to be angry with the neighbor’s son for disturbing your peace, but according to the Sermon on the Mount─anger, killing, and name-calling are all punishable. Yet, Christ died for that lost soul on death row just like He died for you and me. No sin is stronger than His love.
“You just don’t know how bad I have been. Not even God can forgive me.”
No sin is stronger than the love of Christ. The apostle Paul was not a very nice person before He met Christ on the road to Damascus. He consented to murder and was on his way to continue his rampage against Christians. Then he met Christ and his life was changed. Some people think there is a time limit to accept Christ or else it is too late.
It’s too late?
Where does that idea come from? It is a satanic idea planted by the father of all lies─Satan himself.
“Well, it’s too late for me to repent, I know God will never forgive someone like me.” This person believes the enemy of all of mankind over God. The enemy says “Why even try; you’re way too far gone to ever expect God to forgive you. You’re only kidding yourself.”
But God says, “It isn’t too late. My love is stronger than any sin you ever can commit.” It is only too late if you haven’t accepted Christ before you die.
The enemy’s lies are many. If a person hears someone say that it’s too late to repent or their sin is too great, seeds of despair are sown. The enemy is making a bit of progress in growing his lies. So the lie is repeated and pretty soon we have a whole generation of people believing the enemy’s lies instead of God’s truth. Sin is a fact of life.
Whether one has accepted Christ’s full payment on the cross, or whether they are still floundering, everyone sins. Christ forgives all sin so why not believe the truth rather than die in your sin?
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
God hates sin, period. He can’t even look on sin. Until we are taken Home we will continue to sin. When we sin we need to go to Him and confess what we have done. He loves each of us even though we are all sinners. There are some who believe that once we have accepted Christ we no longer sin. Oh, if that were only true! Scripture indicates otherwise:
“If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:1).
We need to see our sin and confess to Jesus. It only needs to be a simple but heartfelt prayer that says you’re ashamed of sinning. “Jesus, please forgive me for getting so angry with the neighbor because of the boom box and I know he isn’t an idiot. Help me to show Your love to him.”
It’s simply amazing how God’s love far surpasses any sin. God can bring even the most hardened criminal to their knees with one simple phrase “I love you, and I have forgiven you.”
This is what He tells us even while our lives are immersed in sin. Ignoring God’s truth while believing Satan’s lies brings condemnation upon us. It’s hard to remove our selves from the grips of condemnation. Those folks who remain under the influence of Satan have difficulty dealing with the truth that there is a God and that He takes delight in fulfilling His promises.
God forgives us of all our sins the moment we first believe that His only begotten Son died for the sin of the world─that includes our past, present, and even our future sins. God has made that promise abundantly clear in His Word. Along with His forgiveness, He promises us everlasting life.
The fact of the matter is too many people have never had that promise explained to them. They only know what they’ve heard others repeat; it’s a parroting phenomenon. Joe hears Tom say he has sinned too much to be forgiven, then Joe tells Jane, and Jane tells Susan, and so on. Before you know it there are a lot of folks who believe the lie. The phrase “God won’t forgive someone like me,” is repeated until finally people actually believe this lie rather than believing the truth that there is no sin stronger than the love of Christ.
We, the born-again family of Christ followers need to break that cycle of lies. We need to explain the truth to these folks so they will at least give the truth some thought. When they get right down to the nitty-gritty of the truth they will see that they’ve been bamboozled and that they can be forgiven. After all they’ve already crossed a huge barrier to the truth – they know there’s a God, they just don’t know Him.
With a little help on our part they can know Him before it’s too late. No one knows when he or she will die. If a person dies before they have accepted Christ’s gift, then it is too late. What if the boy with the boom box jumps in his car and has a fatal wreck? If he hasn’t accepted Christ it is too late for him. Maybe instead of getting angry you should have explained who Jesus is to him.
Even a casual study of God’s Word shows that there is no sin so great or grievous that Christ’s shed blood can’t cover. There’s only one unpardonable sin. This should come as a relief to all those who have been duped by the enemy of God concerning sin. The only unpardonable sin is the rejection of the gift that God has offered freely to every human through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
Even as He hung on the cross, Christ looked down upon those who had mocked Him and pounded those spikes into Him and said “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34a).
Paul understood God’s mercy. He knew his sin had been great, but he also knew he still sinned daily.
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (1 Timothy 1:15-16).
Not even Paul’s sin was stronger than God’s love. When we say yes to His Son, Jesus the Christ, God no longer sees our sins, only our righteousness through Jesus.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” (Romans 6:1).
Paul has been talking about sin and grace. To our sin-loving minds we could jump to the conclusion that the more we sin, the more grace there will be.
“God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:2)
Our attitude to sin needs to be the same as God’s. We should hate it. We all sin, but we need to recognize it when it happens and ask for forgiveness and try to eschew sin.
No sin is stronger than the love God has for us. If you are human, you’re forgiven when you accept God’s atoning sacrifice for your sins. Rejecting Jesus Christ as the propitiation for all your sins is the one sin that God will not excuse. It is your choice. Don’t blame God. He has paid the price and offered the gift, but if you reject it you have made your choice to spend eternity in eternal death.
Accept His free gift right now, today, and you have the rest of your life to work with God on ridding your life of sin…is that 30 years or only 30 minutes? You’ve listened to God’s enemy long enough. Now it’s time to listen to God. God speaks to His children through His Word. To hear God you must first change your mind about God. God is; He isn’t a myth. He has always been and always will be. Reconciling yourself to God is not a difficult process.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).
There is no sin stronger than, His love.
“Yes Lord, I believe.” When that phrase replaces “God will never forgive me,” you’ll be changed in an instant and from that moment on you’ll embark on a new life journey, a new life in Christ. He has forgiven me and He will forgive you. Only the foolish, stubborn, stiff-necked darkness dwellers remain in unbelief and remain unsaved. But that’s not you, right?
God bless you all,