“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23)
In the great country of America, we have a legal system that is founded on keeping order and giving peace to its citizens. If you get out of order, our legal system takes you in their hands and enforces the proper penalty for the crime which has been committed against society (Romans 13:1-9). It can’t be any other way. To let a criminal go without paying the penalty for his or her actions, would be a crime in itself against the great country which our forefathers founded. Actions must be weighed and consequences must be enforced.
For the most part, if a man commits first degree murder, he will suffer the death penalty; life for life. You took life, so you must forfeit your own life as consequences of your actions. You‘ve got to die.
We have a Judge that sits in the heavens, and He is Just. He can’t let anyone off from the penalty for their sins. All must pay the consequences for the actions done in his life, whether it is good or bad.
“The wages of sin is death.” We have all died in Adam. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). (See Genesis 2:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22.)
This is where the glorious message of the Gospel comes in. Jesus paid our penalty on the cross so that we might be made righteous in God’s sight (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 3:24-25). We can walk out of the courtroom justified on the ground of the finished work of the cross. Not only are we justified, but the Judge is justified as well. “To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).
When Christ walked up Golgotha’s hill, he was carrying me; and you, if you believe in Jesus. Romans 6:6 says, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed…” Galatians 2:20 says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Jesus justifies the sinner against God and justifies God in forgiving the sinner. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33)
All this is made possible by the shed blood of Jesus; Jesus is what knits God’s new creation back unto Himself. May we ever be mindful of the precious gift of God’s splendid grace.