The Gospel in One Verse

Posted: April 18, 2013 by Dillon in Theology
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“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 6:23

I believe this single verse has the entire Gospel packed into it.  Let’s do some unpacking!

We’re going to have to start with some definitions.  Let’s define “wage” as the payment for work done.  Sound reasonable?  If I work in a coffee shop and do my job correctly, my “wage” is the payment I get.  In the same way, this verse is saying that the wage (or payment) of sin is death.  Now this might be a little confusing because, obviously, we’re still alive.  But what is being explained here is a little more complex.  Death is being used in this verse with a dual meaning.

First, it implies a spiritual death.  This is the kind of death that everyone can and does experience.  That insufferable feeling of emptiness and lack of purpose that everyone feels at some point.  It could also be described as separation. The other meaning of death is a little more involved theologically.  If we look back at the beginning of creation, before the fall, there was no death.  Because sin was brought into the world through Adam and Eve, death appeared. So, quite literally, the payment of sin is having to deal with death.  But let’s look at the idea of separation.


I’ll confess I have a lot of fun using illustrations when I explain something.  But in this picture, you’ll see that we are literally separated from God due to our sin.  The chasm being represented shows just how far away we are from God. And the worst part?  There’s literally nothing we can do to cross that gap.  No amount of effort will ever be able to fix that separation.  If the story ended there, it would be the worst news ever.

But it doesn’t end there.

The gift of God is eternal life.  God has granted us a gift.  The beautiful thing about gifts is that they’re undeserved. Can you think of anything we could do to impress God?  Because I can’t.  The verse tells us that the gift is eternal life. Similar to death, this doesn’t necessary refer to physical life.

If you remember, we can describe death as separation.  If death is separation, then it follows that life would be the opposite of separation.  But how does this gift work?  The answer is Jesus.

The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our lord.  Without getting bogged down in intense theology, let’s take a look at this idea.  Jesus came to earth as God in the flesh.  Jesus, the man walking around Galilee 2,000 years ago, was fully man and fully God.  Because of this, Jesus was the only man in all of history who never sinned.

Remember, the wage of sin is death.  The payment for sin, the consequence of it is death and separation.  Jesus came and took that payment on our behalf.  Jesus came to earth and laid down His life so that we would no longer be separated from God.  Because of this gift, this completely undeserved, beautiful act of sacrifice and love, we are able to have fellowship with God.


Instead of being on the left where sin is our ruler, Jesus has created a bridge linking us to God.  The greatest act of love is to lay down your life for someone (John 15:13) and that’s exactly what Jesus did.

But it’s not passive.  In order for a gift to be a gift, it has to be accepted.  I could offer you a gift all I want but if you don’t actually accept it, then nothing changes.  This gift from God has to be accepted.  It requires understanding your sin, understanding that you deserve death as the wage from your sin, and understanding that Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, paid that price for you.

It’s hard to intellectually understand this.  But it’s even harder to understand it in your heart.  Once the reality and weight of the Gospel hits you, it will literally change your life.  Put your faith and trust in the gift given by God.

Is this something that resonates with you?  I urge you to consider everything that I said.  If you are ready, confess to God that you are in need of a savior, and you recognize that a savior was provided to you in Jesus Christ our Lord.


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