Here we are at step 2! If you missed step one, you can view it here. Again, I ask you to hang in there. This isn’t easy for everyone to grasp, but it is essential that we understand this part to know the depths of the importance of step 3. We will try to put it into non-Biblical terms to further bring out this point. This step contains only one verse. We will explore this verse (along with what relates to it) in order to answer a second question: Why do we need salvation? The answer can be found in Romans Chapter 6, verse 23.
Romans 6:23 (New International Version)
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Let’s take a moment to take that in. The initial phrase in this verse is “…the wages of sin is death.” What do you think about when you think about the word “wage?” Two words come to my mind immediately–Work and War. And going further, I think of the words Earn and Declare, respectively. And further, Deserve and Fight. What do I mean by this? I’ll show you.
The Wage of Sin
Think of your job if you are working, or your retirement if you are in that stage of life…or even your allowance if you are not at the age to work, yet. When you work, you earn a wage (or salary) of some sort of payment. We often think of a good job or career as something that pays us what we deserve. I think teachers deserve higher wages or salaries.
Now look at the flip side. Think of the most notorious criminal you can think of. Think of someone who did the worst thing imaginable in your eyes. Now think of that person losing his or her life (whether by execution, natural, retaliation, or vendetta) right now (if they are still alive), or think back to the point that they lost their life. A lot of us would think that death was deserved. If you can’t think of someone real, imagine a random “evil” person fatally harming (or worse) your closest relative or friend. Now, how would you feel? This varies from person to person. I have heard many parents say that if someone did anything to harm their children, for example, that they themselves would end up in prison because of how they would react to the perpetrator’s act. If nothing comes to mind there, think of the driver that cut you off or drove so absurdly fast…a lot of us would wish that they at least got pulled over.
Whatever the case, we hope for punishment that matches the crime. That is our innate sense of justice. Now, in God’s eyes, every sin (no matter how small or big) is deserving of death. Everything! So telling that little lie, taking the Lord’s name in vain, or even coveting after someone else’s things will put you in the electric chair right next to the real or imaginary person you thought of just a bit ago. It doesn’t say “the wages of great sin is death” or “the the wages of the worse sins is death,” it says “the wages of SIN is death.” Since all have sinned and no one is good, we are all deserving of death in God’s eyes. That snide comment you made yesterday, or that time you let a foul word slip out of your mouth, or even starting gossip are all deserving of death along with murdering, robbery, or a crime so bad I don’t even want to mention it. When I was first learning about salvation myself, it was described to me that when we sin, we are literally AT WAR with God. Who do you think would win against God? I don’t think I have even a slight chance. How dare we declare war with God? All of us basically do it, and in His sense of justice, we are all deserving of death.
We could choose, however, to wage war against sin. As righteous as this may sound, it is equally insurmountable to win in a war against sin. No matter how hard we try, sin will continue to exist and continue to pop up in our lives. As soon as it pops up once, we are at war with God again. We don’t have the strength or perfection needed to win either war. This may seem hopeless–constantly knowingly or unknowingly waging war against two impossible foes. However, God gives us a gift–a means of conquering sin and being at peace with God.
The Gift of God
“…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
The good news in this, our need of salvation, is the fact that God provides a gift of eternal life. It is ours, should we choose to accept it. God provides what we need. This gift is none other than everlasting life in Christ Jesus. If we receive this gift, we are declared “not guilty” in God’s eyes. God starts to see us through the lens of his perfect and only Son, and our slates are wiped clean. I would like to talk about this gift, but first, we have to come to the realization of our question for this page: why do we need salvation?
In part one, we came to the realization that we are all sinners. The realization now is this: since we are all sinners, we all deserve death. If this is the bad news, I can tell you that there absolutely is good news! Please read on to Part III–How God Provides Salvation.
One good turn deserves another! I’d like to hear your thoughts, prayer concerns, or general comments. What is your story? If you need prayer but don’t want it to appear on this site, you can submit prayer requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. I pray that all who read this receive God’s peace that transcends our understanding. God Bless You.
The Message (MSG)
Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.
King James Version (KJV)
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
New Living Translation (NLT)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.