For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 6:23 NIV
Paul here contrasts two things. What I deserve. And what God offers to me. What I deserve is death because of my sin. There is nothing I can do to compensate for my sin. I can do nothing to earn salvation.
But the good news is that God offers me a gift. The gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus. This gift is not something I could earn. If it was, it would not be a gift. Instead, it is based on God’s grace that he extends toward a fallen humanity. In Ephesians 2:8 Paul also talks about this gift of God. In that passage he identifies the gift as salvation and that the gift is an act of grace. It is something that he freely gives to us.
This gift is given to all who believe. The passage in Ephesians identifies faith as the means of receiving God’s gift. Romans 3:22 also identifies faith and believing as the means of receiving the righteousness of God. Paul tells the Philippian Jailer to ‘believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved (Acts 16:31)’. God gives his gift to all who will receive it by faith.
The Gift of Eternal Life
And the gift is eternal life in Christ Jesus. I think we often misread this expression and just see it as saving that the gift of God is eternal life. But it is more than just eternal life. It is eternal life in Christ. It is a loving and personal relationship with my savior and redeemer. A relationship that will never end or grow old. And it is a relationship that I have now, not something that I have to wait for in the age to come. John 17:3 identifies eternal life as knowing both God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.
What a amazing and undeserved gift that God has given to us.
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