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.
- Romans 6:20-23
Verse 23 is the summation of all that Paul has been saying throughout Romans 6. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We earn death, but God gives life. That is the message of the gospel in seven words. The simplicity of it should not deceive us. There are depths here that we will never fully plumb. At the cross, we died. In the resurrection, we rose.
N.T. Wright says, “The Messiah’s resurrection means that those who are ‘in the Messiah’ now stand, and must walk, on resurrection ground.” When we see the miracle of the grace we have received, we stop thinking it as cheap and start seeing it as precious. We look and see the golden path to follow. The free gift is free because Jesus paid the ultimate price. It is free because he bore the wrath of God on our behalf. If we ever begin to think we earned grace, we have misunderstood it. If we ever begin to use grace as an excuse for sin, we have misappropriated it. If we ever start to grow tired of grace, we have lost the marvel of it.
Grace for the Christian brings a new power to obey. Jesus gave us life in exchange for death. The greatest treasures in the world stacked on top of one another and handed to us with a golden certificate of authentication would not be worth one ounce of grace dripping from the throne room of God. If we have one dew drop of the grace of God, we have enough treasure to fill the oceans a thousand times over. Would we ever think of wasting earthly treasures on rusty experiences and worthless thrills? How then could we think of spending God’s grace any differently?