Pauls Footsteps #317

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NLT 

Footsteps #317 as you read vs 20-22 ask yourself what you are ashamed of and what you are proud of? The answers to those questions say a great deal about who you are. God wants to guide each of us down the path that leads to eternal life. Who are you when no one is looking? 

V23 is about as blunt as one can get. “The wages of sin is death,” The text goes on to note that “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Just as there are two paths (Rom.6:19), and two types of shame (vs20, 21), and two different freedoms (v22), so there are also two quite distinct destinations (v23). 

The Bible is quite explicit that the two destinations are clearly related to the two paths, the two shames, and the two freedoms. God is not arbitrary. All persons, in the face of the knowledge they possess (Roms.1&2), choose the path they want to walk through in life, but each path has a specific destination. Every choice, every action in life leads somewhere. And God in His wisdom and greatness allows people to select the route that they will individually follow. Our choices are ours (free will), but the outcome of those choices is already decided, (predestination). 

V23 warns us that the end of the line for the path of sin is death. What does he mean by death? It can’t be physical death, because everybody, all the way from the sincerest Christians to the most unrepentant sinners, dies physically. 

Paul is contrasting death with the reward of the righteous – “eternal life.” He does not have earthly life and death in mind here, but eternal life and eternal death. Death is not eternal life in some other ‘fiery hot place.’ 

The Bible consistently speaks of the final end of the wicked as “death” and “perish”  rather than continual suffering in an eternally burning hell. Thus Scripture describes them as “consumed” by the lake of fire at the end of time (Rev.20:9RSV). That passage goes on to refer to that event as “the second death” (v14). In a similar manner, Malachi says that fire at the end of time will “burn them up” (Mal. 4:1). 

God does not reward man’s freedom to choose with torture throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity for making the wrong choice. That would make him the ultimate terrorist.

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