The wage of sin is still and always death, But...
Romans 6 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In today’s text it says: Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? By grace, through the cross, we are no longer ruled by sin. Sin is no longer our master if Christ is. In Matthew 6:24 Jesus says: "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” What applies to wealth also applies to sin. No one can serve God and still be ruled by sin. By the cross we are freed from the power of sin, it is no longer a master over us. We are mistaken though if we believe we can master sin. James 1:13-16 says: Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. When we yield to temptation and lust believing that we can participate in sin because we have mastered it, we are mistaken. We allow sin to once again rule over us and sin, when it is accomplished, brings forth death.
The text says: The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Death is always the wage, what is paid for, what we receive from sin. When someone sins, something dies. It may not be physical, eternal death. None of us, even those redeemed by the cross can live completely free from sin. Grace is that Jesus died for sin, once for all. He died so that we wouldn’t have to. Yet when we sin, something does die. It is often relationships which die as the wage of sin. Jesus died so that we could be reconciled to God, but if we continue to be obedient to our lusts and sin, our relationship with God is affected. We cannot serve two masters. If we love sin, we do not love God. The psalmist says: Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight. (Psalm 51:4) David made that statement after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and was responsible for Uriah, her husband’s death. David was right though in his assessment, all sin is against God and God only. But, the wages of sin, can be death to many things. Sin, although it is against God, can bring death to human relationships. We need to understand and recognize that while we are forgiven by God, through grace and the cross, something always dies with sin. Often it can be human relationships that suffer and die when we choose sin. Sin also brings death to our spirit and our spiritual relationship. We cannot serve or yield to the Holy Spirit in us if we are obedient to the spirit of the world. Jesus says: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) Much of the church today has lost its power because it has mistaken grace for permission to continue in sin, rather than redemption and freedom from it. Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the church has lost its witness for Christ. The gospel, the good news is that because of grace, Jesus died to free us from sin, not to sin.
The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. The gift of eternal life and abundant life in Christ is free to us and for us. But it did not come without a cost. The wages of sin is death. To presume on grace, continuing in sin is to nullify the gift of life and redemption Jesus paid so high a price for. The text says: Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Daily, even moment by moment we must choose and so receive either, the wages of sin or the free gift of God, grace through Jesus Christ to live in obedience to Him.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit; thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Like the psalmist I acknowledge that it is against You and You only that I sin. I recognize that in spite of grace, the wages of sin is still death. I choose life through the free gift of Your love and grace. I choose to serve You and You only. I ask that You would bring the power of the resurrection to any and all things that sin has caused death in my life. Like the psalmist I say, Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation; Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Your praise. Amen.