“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
The dirty little secret that we all carry deep down inside of us is the simple fact that we are all sinners. We have all transgressed the law of the holy, omnipotent, and sovereign God. However, our pride leads us to rationalize our sin and minimize it in our vernacular with such phrases as “Nobody’s perfect.” Or “We all make mistakes.” The problem with that perspective is that when we rationalize our sin, we simple perpetuate the rational lies of sin.
I firmly believe that the fruit of the Garden of Eden was not an apple, but is in fact more akin to the pomegranate. While I don’t believe this specific fruit exists in the world anymore, the pomegranate itself is a very interesting fruit. It comes with a deceptively hard shell and has a crown on the top. Inside there a hundreds of smaller seeds, each subtly sweet, but with a hint a tartness.
Sin is much the same way – it is deceptive and feeds your sense of authority over your own life and actions. But most sin is mostly “small” things, subtle and attractive to the taste but with just enough tartness to make you recognize the sourness of the experience.
Sin is not simply a question of right or wrong. It is a matter of life and death. All the way back to the Garden of Eden, Adam knew the consequences of his sin before he even committed it. He was a creature made from dirt who defied God’s word because of the deceptive promise of the serpent that fed his pride and ego: “You will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The word “knowing” in this verse has multiple layers of meaning. First there is the intimate experience of knowing the difference between good and evil. This is the same word used to demonstrate the picture of Biblical intimacy between husband and wife – the intimate joining together in an eternal bond that redefines our existence as separate individuals. In this instance, Adam and Eve became intimately and eternally bonded to the consequences of their sin, and thus passed the curse down to their children and the rest of humanity.
The word also connotes an authoritative declaration. The word
ya-da indicates that the person not only knows, but declares this knowledge publicly with authority. It is similar in scope to the declaration or decree of a king. The dictation of law by executive fiat. The self-declared definition of what is good and what is evil. This is the very definition of moral relativism as it exist today.
The fact of the matter is simply this: only God has the authority to define what is good and evil. He created this cosmos and by that reckoning, His holiness demands that authority. As a result of our transgression, we earn our consequences – both temporal in the here and now, and eternally in the hereafter. Our sin earned us our spiritual death and separation from our relationship with God. It also earned us our physical death and brought corruption into our existence by our own choice. We earned our consequences and we cannot escape it.
In fact, that is one of the biggest problems with the world today – the lack of understanding of consequences. As humans we act like our actions have no bearing on anyone else. We do not want to take responsibility for our “mistakes” or our sin. We simply want to experience grace, without anyone having to pay a price. But grace does come with a price, but it is a price that is paid by someone else so that you might be able to experience it.
The consequences still stand.
But we do not get to experience the gift of grace until we repent of our sin and accept His grace and forgiveness. He has taken the punishment for our sin upon Himself through His Son. We must recognize that He paid the price for our sin. He took the wages that we earned upon Himself in order that we might have the greater gift of grace. While the free gift of God is eternal life, it requires the acknowledgement that Jesus Christ is our Lord. There is no separating the two.
Sin is an act of our rebellion. Death and separation is the price we earn. Grace is an act of His sovereignty. Eternal life is the gift He bestows. And it’s life here and now as well as beyond this world.