Great Gospel Texts: Romans 6:23

We are mere mortals. In life and in death we do not rise above the status of mere mortals. Generations have sought the elixir of life, but found nothing. There is no magic potion that will give you eternal life – but there is another way. Let us understand first what makes us mortal, what brings us into death. It is our nature – our selfish, proud nature – that brings us into death. The apostle Paul tells us this: “for the wages of sin is death.”  Break that phrase apart a little and see why it is our own nature that brings death upon us:

Wages – what we earn by our behavior

Sin – all actions stemming from selfishness and pride

Death – eternal separation from all that is wonderful and good

We earn death through our selfishness and pride. By being human, our natural inclination is to serve ourselves first and make sure our own needs and desires are fulfilled, often to the detriment of others. God hates that because He has a character of love and self-sacrifice. He knows that selfishness and pride produce sorrow, destruction and ultimately death. God will not allow those motivated by selfishness and pride to dwell in His glorious heaven. Only eternal death awaits those who continue in such.

Some think of death as a peaceful dream or as a voyage to another adventure, but it is nothing of the kind. Death is the dreadful darkness that descends upon condemned sinners and separates them from all they love most – never more to feel the sun on their faces, hear the birds sing sweet melodies, or enjoy the embrace of loved ones. Death is eternal separation from the Almighty God for all those who in selfishness and pride refuse to follow Him in truth, righteousness, love and peace.

But for those who humble themselves and sacrifice their selfishness and pride, the apostle Paul follows that first phrase with these lovely words: “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” There is no elixir of life, but there is life in these words.  Look closely at the words of this second phrase:

Gift – something we receive through the sacrifice of another

Eternal life – everlasting enjoyment of the splendor of God with the hosts of heaven

Jesus Christ – the humble, self-sacrificing Savior of the world

In our natural condition, we are unable to earn eternal life, but God, in His love, gives us eternal life freely through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. God’s greatest desire is that we would be free from selfishness and pride and become like Him so that we might spend eternity with Him. God will not allow selfish, proud individuals into heaven, but He has the power to give us a new nature and a new life – a nature and life like His.

Listen to the whole of Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (KJV).

In selfishness and pride we are mere mortals condemned to an eternal death. But those who turn to God and receive eternal life through Jesus Christ have a glorious future in the celestial palaces waiting for them.