but the gift of God is life everlasting in Christ Jesus our Lord Romans 6:23
Life Everlasting – When did we make the mistake of thinking that we could accumulate God’s distributed gift? Most Christians simply do not understand the radical shift that occurs when we finally start living God’s paradigm. We are so used to a world that works on the accumulation model that we simply take God’s free gift of grace and re-package it as something we accumulate. We think of it as a beautifully wrapped present that we can hold on to. So, we get eternal life. We put it in our spiritual bank account and then we live as though we have now accumulated this possession. That kind of thinking undermines God’s entire economy. Life everlasting is not something I can package up and put in a safe place of my own. It is not a possession. It is a relationship and it only has value in use. In other words, life everlasting is something I spend every day. As soon as I try to save it, it disappears. Life everlasting is nothing more than me spending all of my time with God, giving away the moments in relationship with Him. It’s not a possession. It’s an interaction.
Paul knew this secret very well. He uses the Greek zoe aionios (life everlasting) in order to point us to this critical fact: aionios is about duration. It’s about going on and on and on. You can’t box that up! You have to live it out. Life with God is life spent forever and ever. If God is the giver of life, then the life that I have depends entirely on Him for every moment it exists. It can’t be stored up for later any more than I can store up time today to use tomorrow. God’s distribution model reaches into the very core of existence. Time can only be distributed. It cannot be accumulated. There is no way to save this second and use it later. If I don’t use it when it is available, it is gone forever. That’s what God gives: the gift of everlasting time with Him, distributed over eternity, spent in every moment that I have for the rest of forever. That is eternal life.
Now you know why eternal life begins as soon as I move into alignment with God’s point of view. It begins when Jesus becomes my Lord and Savior. But it isn’t something I wrap up and put on the shelf for use when I die or when I get to the pearly gates. It is life distributed, every moment from now on as I am sharing time with God. Aionios says it all. Duration, not package. Distribution, not accumulation.
You can spend eternal life in every moment you have, now and forever. But you can’t save it for a rainy day.
Thursday, March 23rd, 2006 | Author: Skip Moen
but the gift of God is life everlasting in Christ Jesus our Lord Romans 6:23
Gift – Sin pays. God gives. Once we understand the difference, life changes direction. Yesterday we learned that sin pays for our allegiance. We earn our way to hell. Now comes the startling news. God doesn’t pay. We don’t earn our way to heaven. In fact, God doesn’t have an accounting department at all. There are no income statements and no tax forms. God operates on a completely different principle, one that is utterly foreign to this world. God gives.
The world is in the accumulation business. Power, wealth, status, influence, knowledge; it really doesn’t matter what it is. Accumulation is always based on earnings. Why? Because accumulation is ultimately about me. If I understand God’s economics, it is impossible for me to accumulate. Of course, I can store for awhile, but my operating motive is distribution. I only retain in order to be able to give in larger amounts. In God’s economy, I can never retain in order to hold. Accumulation violates the very nature of God on two levels. First, it works against God’s gracious benevolence in all of His actions toward me and secondly, it insults God’s authority over me. God made me to be like Him. And God gives.
Here’s the contrast. Sin pays. I earn my wages. I buy my own meal ticket to destruction. But God gives. I don’t earn anything that comes from His hand. God’s meal ticket is a banquet I don’t deserve.
What kind of life do you want? Earn your way by accumulating the wages of self-destruction or let God give you His undeserved benefit. Of course, if you accept the gift, it comes with an economic commitment to reflect the giver. That’s why Paul uses the word charisma; a word that only describes benefits distributed by God. God’s gift is stamped with the character of God, the giver. It is not intended to be accumulated. It is designed to be given. In God’s economy, what you are given must be given again.
Accumulate destruction or give away life. Those are the choices. God runs a zero-balance checkbook. Do you?
A story: When God’s distribution economy takes over your life, things happen. To see what happened to my friend Anthony, take a look at this.
Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006 | Author: Skip Moen
The wages of sin is death Romans 6:23
Wages – Sin pays! Paul desperately wants us to see that sin is the paymaster of living our way. Sin gives you your wages for your time and effort. It’s just that the wages sin pays are death.
Too many times we read this verse as a statement about God’s punishment for our sins. But that is Greek thinking, not Hebrew thinking. In the Greek legal system (like ours), punishment is separate from guilt. We go to court. We are found guilty. Then we receive a sentence, the punishment. This view see sin in two parts: act and consequence. But this is not Hebrew thinking.
The Hebrew view recognizes that sin is both deed and consequence. Sin automatically includes its own wages. Wages are the inevitable byproduct of the deed. So, if I work for the paymaster of this world, I will automatically earn what sin pays for my labor; namely, death. This is the natural law of the universe. Actions always include their consequences.
Because we have a Greek view of sin, we think that forgiveness can separate us from this natural order. We are forgiven of the guilt, so we assume that God erases the consequences. Not so. The consequences of my actions carry on, even when the guilt is forgiven. Jesus died accepting the inevitable consequences of my sin. He exempted me from the punishment by substituting his body for mine. Sin still paid, but it paid him instead of me.
Even when the eternal consequences have been paid for by Jesus, quite often the temporal consequences still fall on me. That’s why my being forgiven might still mean that I go to jail, get hurt or suffer loss. I put the consequences in motion as soon as I commit the sin. I can often restore the damage, but I can’t erase it.
The point is riveted home with Paul’s choice of the Greek word opsonion. It comes from the action of buying what we eat. Sin buys you a meal called death. When you sin, you are quite literally spending what you earn on eating your own destruction, both here and in the future. When you sin, you’re buying garbage.
What meal are you buying today?
Wednesday, April 14th, 2004 | Author: Skip Moen
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Free – “Free” used to mean something special. But modern life-style advertising has done a tremendous job of corrupting this word (along with a lot of others life “pure”, “safe” and “guaranteed”). Now “free” is really a ploy for “it looks like you are going to get something without strings attached but we are really seducing you until we get your personal information. Then we will do a “bait and switch” sell.” Free just isn’t “free” anymore.
Yesterday I conversed electronically with a Christian friend in Poland. He told me that one mission organization he supports offered a free book just for asking about their missionary effort. After a month of advertising and hundreds of hits, only 40 people made the request. No one believes that it is really free. They think it is a scam in order to solicit funds. Do you suppose that Satan applauds when we allow fundamental truths like “free” to be so corrupted that no one trusts the meaning? How would we ever understand Paul’s claim in this verse if the word “free” really means “packaged like a gift but is really a bait and switch”. Does the slogan “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” apply to God’s gift of grace?
The word in the Greek text is charisma. It really means “gift” but it carries two important nuances. The first is that this gift is offered without any strings attached by the giver. The emphasis is on the one who does the giving. God does not require anything from us in this offer. You don’t even have to fill out an entry form. The second nuance is that this gift is bountiful. It is complete. There is no “bait and switch”. You don’t find out later that you need to have the other part to make the gift work.
But here’s the catch. The gift is free for you but this gift was not free for God. The only reason that this is a free gift is because God already paid for it. So, this is not an advertising give-away. This is the most precious thing in the universe. It was also the most expensive thing in the universe. But you get it free because someone else purchased it in full.
There is a debt built in to our “free” salvation. It is a debt we could not pay. Let us never forget that God knows the real meaning of free – it cost Him His Son.