Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is one of the more famous verses in the whole Bible, but it’s still worth fresh attention and meditation. To this point Paul has been using the image of slavery in talking about our relationship to sin, but here he at least says we get paid a wage for it – but what a wage! This is a truth the devil does his utmost to hide, which is all the more reason for us to trumpet it everywhere. The problem is, until our spiritual eyes have been opened, we don’t recognize the death that is reigning in us even while we’re walking around. It’s kind of like taking a poison a little bit at a time, perhaps thinking we’re “building up immunity,” when actually we’re adding up to the fatal dosage. The only antidote to that poison is the blood of Jesus Christ. That an antidote is available is the best news in the whole world! The problem is that most people don’t recognize the poison for what it is. Mankind has always been on a quest for eternal life, probably in an instinctive desire to restore what was lost in the Garden of Eden. Burial rituals in different cultures can be a fascinating study, with the Egyptian pyramids as an extreme example. All those human efforts are ultimately futile, and that includes the “scientific” efforts today to extend physical life to 120 years and beyond, and even to “record human personality” in digital form so that we could live forever, essentially, as computers or android robots. Those who have had what are called “Near Death Experiences,” including my wife, testify to the futility of that. It’s like we’re striving to keep living in a dirt-floor hovel when we are offered a luxurious mansion! The thing is, this isn’t just a “pie in the sky by and by” thing, because eternal life in Christ begins the moment He is enthroned in your heart. Eternal life in Christ, far more than quantitative, is qualitatively infinitely above anything we can achieve on our own. Since we can’t earn or achieve it, God offers it to us as a gift, as Paul says here. We are to be good stewards of the life we have here, but going from this to the next, for those who are in Christ, is pure joy and glory.
I’ve had a cousin and her daughter die just recently, the cousin at an advanced age with Alzheimer’s, and her daughter with MS. For both of them it was a huge release, and since they were both believers, a glorious graduation. For those left behind, particularly the daughter’s husband, there is sadness, but not for the two “graduates.” I have lost count of the people I’ve “seen off,” and there has been a wide variety. For active believers, there has even been joy in the process. For those with no faith, only sadness. For the majority, there has been a relinquishing of them to God’s judgment, because He alone knows the content of our heart. For myself, I have a joyful anticipation of my graduation, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy life here and now. However, I certainly experience a lot of things I won’t miss when I’m gone! Meanwhile, I have the privilege and responsibility of sharing the Gospel with as many as will receive it, so that they too may join me in the eternal life that God offers.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me be faithful in every moment of the eternal life You have given me, in this body and after, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!