For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Are you like me in believing I ought to pay for some things, but others things I should get for free? Let me give you a few examples:
* I expect to pay for my seat on an airplane, but ... I think my suitcase ought to ride for free.
* I expect to pay for gas at a service station, but ... I believe air for my tires should be free.
* I expect to pay taxes to the government, so ... I don't expect to be charged entry to a National Park.
Still, looking at that list, I have to be thankful I'm not a woman in Zimbabwe who is giving birth to her child in the hospital. In a nation where the average income is $150 a year, hospitals routinely charge $50 to deliver a baby. While that cost is high, a baby's delivery is something for which you expect to pay. But, in Zimbabwe some hospitals charge a woman $5 for every time she screams during delivery. Even worse, they won't release the child until the charges are paid.
Yes, some things in life have to be paid for, and other things ought to be free.
At the top of the list of things for which a person must pay is the price of his sin. People are terribly wrong if they think they can violate God's will and commandments and get away without making restitution. There are no loopholes, no hidden escape clauses, no wiggle room.
Scripture is clear: "the wages of sin is death."
Sadly, even the best examples of humanity are unable to pay that price. Try as we might, struggle as we will, throughout our lives the debt for our sin keeps growing. Without assistance we would live and die with the balance sheet showing a giant, outstanding debt being owed to the Lord.
Thankfully, the Lord also believes there are things in life which ought to be free. At the top of God's list of free things is forgiveness of sin. Of course, forgiveness is free only for us. God's justice demanded our debt had to be paid. Seeing our helplessness, the Lord sent His Son into the world as one of us. Here, Jesus took our place and throughout His life and with His death, paid the debt our transgressions had incurred.
Now, with the Savior's third-day resurrection from the dead, our debt has been wiped out and all who believe on Jesus as their Savior are forgiven and freed. Because that is so, St. Paul didn't end his sentence with "the wages of sin is death." No, because of Jesus' blood-bought forgiveness the apostle could continue: "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
All of this explains why you and I should be eternally grateful we have a God who believes there are things in life which need to be paid for and other things which ought to be free.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks Jesus has paid a debt I could not pay. May I live my life in appreciation of the price He paid so that I might be freely forgiven. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries