August 28, 2012
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Shivpal Yadav, minister of Public Works in India's most populous state, was speaking to some local officials.
Thinking he was off the record, Yadav said, "If you work hard and put your heart and soul into it, then you are allowed to steal some, but don't be a bandit."
He may have thought he was speaking privately, but his words were picked up by a local TV cameraman and played on the evening news all around the country.
For those of you who haven't traveled overseas a lot, you should know there are places in the world where the nation's bureaucrats are almost expected to pad their incomes through under-the-table dealings and minor bribes. Natives take it as a given and therefore come prepared to "grease the skids," if they want to have something happen quickly, or at all.
For many years India was one such country.
Recently, popular opinion has come down hard on such practices, and leaders have been elected by putting forth a promise which said they would end the corruption.
Although Mr. Yadav said his words were supposed to have been made in private and to a by-invitation-only audience and had been taken out of context, his damage control appears to be thoroughly unacceptable to the average citizen -- most of who believe a "little" stealing is improper and intolerable.
It's a concept with which God agrees.
As our text tells us, the wages of sin is death. There are no little sins which get in under the wire. Nowhere in Scripture does the Lord say, "If you work hard, and put your heart and soul into being good ... then you are allowed to sin a little ... but don't be a really big sinner."
Nope, the wages of sin is death.
Thank heaven this devotion doesn't have to end with that thought. The wages of sin is death, but God has a gift for us: forgiveness, salvation and life eternal.
These gifts are ours not because some of us have managed to be and do good. None of us has managed to do that. No, we are saved because Jesus, God's Son and our Savior, accomplished all that we could not.
Because Jesus has fulfilled the Law's demands, all who believe on Him as Savior have His blood-bought redemption.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that in spite of my many sins, Jesus has come to save me. May my life be lived showing my appreciation to His sacrifice and Your grace. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries