May 16, 2018

Topic Day|Eternal Life

God's Free Gift

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.

God's Free Gift

Bio | Matt McGann

Hey, everyone! My name is Matt McGann. When you read this devo, I will be nearing the end of my sixth year teaching middle school band. I love getting to work with the middle-school/high-school-age group, and I currently lead a group of students in Shoreline, Watermark's high school ministry. I also serve in Shift, Watermark's grief recovery ministry for students in grades 3-12. In all of these circles, I tend to be known for my cheesy sense of humor. (How does Moses make his coffee? Hebrews it!)

Central Truth

Even our strongest efforts leave us separated from God, but Jesus' sacrifice on the cross restores that relationship by paying the price that we couldn't pay!

Devotional | Eternal Life

If God asked you why He should let you into heaven, how would you answer? My answer looked totally different five years ago.

I identified as a "Christian" growing up, but I thought faith was based on...

If God asked you why He should let you into heaven, how would you answer? My answer looked totally different five years ago.

I identified as a "Christian" growing up, but I thought faith was based on doing good things so that God would be pleased with me. I went to church and Sunday School every week, said my prayers, and even played in the band during our youth service. My desire to measure up manifested in the way I chased after approval from those around me, whether it be classmates, teachers, or colleagues. Before long, I became exhausted and anxious to the point of feeling paralyzed. A perpetual worry and stress came from my inaccurate view of salvation—a view that completely contradicts what God tells us in today's passage.

I learned there's no way that I could ever be good enough on my own, as "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Because we all have sinned and fall short of God's standard of perfection, the first half of Romans 6:23 tell us that the payment, or the "wage," we deserve for our sin is death, which in this context means an eternal separation from God.

That may seem like bad news, but it's not the end of the story! The second half of the verse reads, "but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." There's nothing that we can do to earn a right standing with God, but His gift of salvation through Jesus' death and resurrection is free; there's nothing that we have to do to earn it! We just have to accept this gracious gift. And the result is eternal life—life with Christ both now and eternally.

As I understood this truth, I felt the waves of anxiety start to diminish. I didn't have to be afraid of rejection from those around me because nothing could change God's love for me. I still struggle with sin, such as people-pleasing, but because of the freedom I have experienced through what Jesus did on the cross, my shortcomings no longer define me, and the Lord is changing me into His image.

Eternal life begins the moment you trust in Christ, and it never ends. It is the richness of a walk with Christ now, and the glorious certainty of being with Him forever.

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Discussion Questions

1. Have you ever responded to this free gift from God of eternal life in Jesus Christ? (Romans 6:23, 10:9-10)

2. Today's verse shows us that we cannot reach a right standing with God on our own, but there are still areas where we are prone to be self-reliant. In what areas of your life are you prone to try to earn God's love?

3. Do you believe that your sins are so great that God couldn't possibly forgive them? Know that Christ's sacrifice on the cross covers all sins. Because of this, when you have trusted in Christ for your salvation, there is nothing you can do to ever separate yourself from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39)! How does that assurance change your daily walk with Christ?

9 Comments available

Michael Scaman 8 months ago

Romans 6:23 is short summary. Short summaries have advantages and disadvantages. They are a bit like a movie trailer. You get a feeling of the movie from the trailer, a brief intro, but the brief summary is not a substitute for seeing the movie or reading the whole book.

I think it’s important to try and wrap your head around the whole book and also see how it fits in the whole Bible. I agree with DA Carson that 'the gospel is not the little thing that tips one into the kingdom but the big thing by which you live all of life?

Michael Scaman 8 months ago

Rm 6:23 is a good reminder of several things. Wages are earned and due. The fruit of sin is death. Eternal life is free.

Hugh Stephenson 8 months ago

GM Matt. Moses’s coffee? GOL (groaning out loud).

Marinating in the contrast between “wages of sin” and “free gift of God”. This leads me to mercy - not getting what I deserve” versus grace “getting what I don’t deserve”. Tragically, I knew all this. It was head knowledge. It took the “severe mercy” of God to get me through the journey from works to mercy to grace. From John Piper-

Can you get to surrender without severe mercy? I know that I could not.

Q3 - The sin I thought was too great to be forgiven was abortion. What could be worse than participating in the death of your own innocent, unborn child? Every man that comes to us in Forgotten Fathers has this same struggle. Only a relentless journey of seeking to know who God is can bring true healing.

Sue Bohlin 8 months ago

Hi Matt! Thanks for loving well the “electric chihuahuas” you teach!

Seeing that today is a topic day, I sat and thought about eternal life for awhile, especially the fact that we don’t have to wait for heaven, we start to experience it the moment we are born again. Like a newborn baby starts to experience life outside the womb with her first breath of air. Or, even better, the moment in The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy’s world flips from black and white to color. Eternal life is a HUGE difference!

Jennifer Borgne 8 months ago

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your earnings for what does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness [the profuseness of spiritual joy]. [Jer. 31:12-14.] Incline your ear [submit and consent to the divine will] and come to Me; hear, and your soul will revive; and I will make an everlasting covenant or league with you, even the sure mercy (kindness, goodwill, and compassion) promised to David. [II Sam. 7:8-16; Acts 13:34; Heb. 13:20.] Behold, I have appointed him (Him) [David, as a representative of the Messiah, or the Messiah Himself] to be a witness [one (One) who shall testify of salvation] to the nations, a prince (Prince) and commander (Commander) to the peoples.” Isaiah 55:2-4 AMPC Isaiah 55:1 AMPC

Jennifer Borgne 8 months ago

… simply for the self surrender that accepts the blessing. WOW. This perfectly describes the release I felt when He shined His light of truth on what was really filthy rags: my DECADES of effort to subconsciously prove I was somehow worthy of His death. Thank you Jesus for this beautiful word picture tucked away in Your word!! Note: It was equip disciple 2 that lead me through this portion of my journey with Christ (shout out to Angela Andrews) Will post the verses that are immediately after: because it points at Him!

Jennifer Borgne 8 months ago

Good morning Matt! Thank you for a lovely summary of this incredible verse, and the beauty it offers. All joking aside (“Hebrews it!?” indeed eye roll-y, yet the first thing to make me giggle today), your choice of wording, specifically “the waves of anxiety started to diminish”, reminded me of what I felt when I came across the Amplified verses in Isaiah 55:

“WAIT and listen, everyone who is thirsty! Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Yes, come, buy [priceless, spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price [simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing]. [Rev. 21:6, 7; 22:17.]

Christopher Hyland 8 months ago

Good morning and thanks Matt. Having grown up Lutheran I was for a long time trying to do all the right things to be accepted by God and so that my life would work out. I figured to get things to go my way I needed God on my side. Well that didn’t work out so well and that drove me in the other direction of just living for the world and sin. That was a bad decision. thank God He redeemed me and taught me His infinite love and inexhaustible grace.

Lindsey Driscoll 8 months ago

Matt, thank you for reminding us of the free gift of eternal life. A free gift is good news, praying we share that today.

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