May 15, 2018

Don’t Ignore God’s Fire Alarm!

Romans 6:23

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23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In Context:

18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Don’t Ignore God’s Fire Alarm!

Bio | Hunter Childress

Hey, friends! My name is Hunter Childress. I have been the husband of my much better half, Anna Childress, for almost 18 months now. Anna and I were introduced during the third class of Watermark's Equipped Disciple, where we both learned to memorize today's passage from Romans. Over the last four years, I have served many of your energetic kiddos as a Classroom Leader and Coach in K1-RACE, Watermark's children's ministry for kindergarten and first-grade students. 

Last, but certainly not least, I would like to wish all the mothers out there, including my own, a Happy Mother's Day this past Sunday. I love you, Mom! 

Central Truth

We all are sinners. Fortunately, life is not about what we do, but what Christ has done for us. Because we sin, we deserve death. However, we can receive the free gift of eternal life when we believe in Jesus Christ and trust that He died on the cross for our sins.

Devotional | Romans 6:23

Do you remember in elementary school when you learned about cause and effect sentences in English class (the combination of action and reaction)? For example, teachers give you a warning before a final outcome, such...

Do you remember in elementary school when you learned about cause and effect sentences in English class (the combination of action and reaction)? For example, teachers give you a warning before a final outcome, such as, "If you don't study, you will fail." The effect of failing is a consequence like summer school or retaking the class. Another example is the pesky fire drill we practice in school or at work. The fire drill prepares us by issuing a warning and may also protect us from a real danger in the future. The first part of verse 23 is a warning that the effect (or consequence) of sinful behavior is death.

I believe Paul is summarizing his thoughts in this verse with the notion of a cause (two masters to follow, sin or God) and two possible outcomes (death or eternal life). Romans 3:23 states, "[F]or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." James 2:10 instructs us, "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it." Therefore, we all are sinners; and, because of this, the wages we receive from our sin is death.

Do you want to ignore the fire alarm of God's warnings? I wouldn't think so. The root cause of the separation between God and man is sin, so God sent Jesus to die for your sins. What can you do to spend eternal life in heaven with God? John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." Answer: Admit you are a sinner. Believe that Jesus died for you! Confess your sins to God, trust that He forgives you, and receive the FREE gift of eternal life with Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Lastly, I am thankful for God's amazing grace shown by a comma, and not a period, after the word death in this verse.

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Discussion Questions

1. We can either be "slaves of sin" or "slaves of righteousness" (Romans 6:19). Think about areas/desires in your life leading you to be a slave of sin instead of righteousness. What actions can you take toward sanctification?

2. What are the contrasts that make God's salvation incredible (2 Corinthians 5:21)?

3. What does true freedom look like? Is doing whatever you want true freedom? Explain.

12 Comments available

Elizabeth Lariscy 8 months ago

Thank you Hunter for your great devo! I love Q3. It allowed me to dive deep into by thoughts of my love for our great King! His love and His goodness is overwhelming! True freedom come only from Him! Hallelujah!

Michael Scaman 8 months ago

Fighter verse song for Romans 6:23

I think a good point was made in the Men’s early morning Roman’s summit. Although Rm 6:23 is mostly used as a part of a gospel presentation, the verse it’s from a section mostly on sanctification.

Michael Scaman 8 months ago
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Ronnie, it’s great that Mitt Romney is quoting Peter’s epistles. One hopes he moves toward a better understanding of who God is and how one ‘finds favor’ with Him in the gospel.

Jody Curran 8 months ago

I love the comma-period comment! Very clever - I’m reading Batterson’s book The Circle Maker and had just read “never put a period where God uses a comma” Great minds, I guess. Good job

greg jones 8 months ago

Eternal life is hard for me to fathom. I’ve only experienced life in a finite context so far. The closest I think I come to it is, God, why do…God how can…God when will…God where is… Death is hard for me to fathom in the context of eternal life. Viewing life in a finite perspective I think death as opposed to enteral life today might sound like this, why, does God…how, can God…when, will God…where, is God…? That I can comprehend explain and experience today, beyond that is a faith in an eternal life.

John Hill 8 months ago

Great job with the devo Hunter. Your emphasis on the comma, vs a period gave me pause. Small things can make a BIG difference in our lives. Accepting Christ and believing the word of God may be small steps for us to take, but those small steps make a BIG difference!

Michael Scaman 8 months ago

Yes, God restrains with warnings and even says in Revelation that in a sense part of the “perseverance of the saints is the lake of fire”. Still I think the large way he draws is with coords of love and ‘perfect love casts out fear, he who fears is not perfected in love’ So perhaps, fear is partly a vehicle to move the elect to a place of no guilt and a place of peace.

Habakkuk dealt with the trauma of evil in the world, of the judgement of God and getting past it, overcoming it by faith in a sense and quoted in Romans and Galations.

Ronnie Oldfield 8 months ago

Super devo Hunter, thank you. The paths of sinful living are many and varied but all lead to one destination-death. Thanks for reminding us of the only path of righteousness- Jesus.

Just yesterday we were reminded by Mitt Romney that this is at odds with the world view. 1 Peter 2:20b reminds us “But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God”.

Surely your bold statement today of undeniable truth has found favor with God. I pray all who read this journey entry today have eyes that see and ears that hear.

Thank you.

Hope Harris 8 months ago

I am struck this morning with the heavy price of sin death. Sin takes a toll on us and in the end costs everything. In contrast free gift of eternal life; frees us from the exacting toll of death and births new life within us.

Mind boggling, that I held so tightly to the wages of sin rejecting the life giving gift of salvation for so long.

Sue Bohlin 8 months ago

Thanks, Hunter! Today I am rejoicing with gratitude, along with you, for the “blessed comma” and the “holy but.” I think God is pleased and honored when we stop to thank Him for the small things of grace, like punctuation and conjunctions, as well as the huge things of grace, like Christ’s death and resurrection.

Hugh Stephenson 8 months ago

What did my free gift used to be? What was my fruit? My “wages”?

I thought it was total freedom and independence. As Keller notes, it was really “brokenness of life”.

Then, this from Strong’s - Wages is “opsōnion”. “…the eternal compensation (divine recompense) of the unrighteous, in keeping with their earthly deeds”

Keller - “… sin is a master who always pays on time, and in full.”


Keller says to not be controlled by feelings or appearances but by “the realities the gospel tells me about”. My paraphrase, “I am who He says I am”

Q1 - Actions: Remind myself to remind myself. I have gradually slipped away from intra-day prayer and listening to worship music in the car.

Q3 - True freedom for me comes from a deep knowledge of the goodness an kindness of God.

Lindsey Driscoll 8 months ago

Hunter - thank you for the devo to wrap up chapter 6! I too am thankful for the “, but” in the Bible. Q1- i’m continuing to meditate on being a slave to righteousness. One thing I’ve been dwelling on is that making my thought life a slave to righteousness means constant prayer.

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