Since the time of Adam and Eve in the garden and their very first sin, every human who has ever been born (with the exception of Jesus) was born into sin. Because of how common sin is in our world, we have come to view it less severely than God does. I have even heard people question the love of God and the goodness of God because of the presence of sin in the world.
The argument goes something like this: “If everyone is a sinner, then how could a loving God condemn people and send them to hell?” Or more simply, “How can a loving God send people to hell?” This kind of thinking makes out our sin to be no big deal. This logic says that God’s love should cover every sin and no one should ever be held accountable. The conclusion of this logic is called “Universalism.” In Universalism everyone goes to heaven and no one goes to hell. God’s love overcomes sin for every person. This may feel good but it ignores God’s holiness, His justice, and the clear teaching of scripture!
We are all familiar with Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We love to think on the second part of this verse. We seldom linger on the first part – the wages of sin is death. But let’s dive into this verse.
Wages – what are wages? Wages are something that you earn. If you have ever had a paying job then you understand this concept. When you get your paycheck from your employer it is not seen as a gift! You worked for your paycheck. You earned your wages. Wages are earned and the pay we get is deserved! The wages of our labor is the money that we use to live in this world.
Wages of Sin – When we sin (and we all do) we earn something as well. The Apostle Paul is very clear in this verse that our sin earns us something. It is something that we deserve because we have earned it. The wages of sin are something that must be paid just as our wages from our job must be paid.
Wages of Sin is Death – What every person deserves, what they’ve earned because of sin, is death. This is the bad news that comes before the good news of the Gospel. Everyone deserves death because of sin. You earned it. I earned it. We all earned death and it is what we deserve.
How we view God and how he deals with people really depends on how we view sin. There are really only two options.
1. If we see sin as no big deal, then God will seem like a cold, hard, and distant God who is not loving when sin is punished.
2. But if we sin as it really is – an affront to a Holy God – then we’ll see our God as incredibly loving because we never deserved His love. We don’t deserve it, we can never earn it, our God simply offers us His love because He is loving.
I am not amazed that a loving God would send people to hell. I am amazed that a Holy God would sacrifice His Son in order to save any of us!!!
Consider these verses from Romans 5:6-8
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
In these verses you and I are described as weak, ungodly, and unrighteous. We were still guilty sinners when Christ died for us. The contrast between verse 7 and 8 is remarkable. Perhaps for a good person someone might be willing to die – but…that was not us. We were not good people while we were still sinners.
So as we think about sin – let’s see it as God does and as the Bible does. We have to see the “darkness” of sin in order to see the “brightness” and beauty of the Gospel. Because God is holy, sin must be punished and because God is love, Jesus came to rescue us sinners!!!
All praise to our amazing God!