Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Free Gift of God

The famous Rom. 6:23 reads: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (translation mine). This is a well-worn and oft-quoted verse. But have we understood is aright? What is this "free gift of God"?

Well, isn't it obvious? Isn't it "eternal life"? Yes, it is. But it also isn't. It must be so in the same way that "the wages sin is death" in the first part of the verse. For these are parallel expressions. And in the first part of the verse it is clear that the wages of sin results in death. In other words, it is not that the wages of sin is defined as death or equals death.

And so likewise it seems best to understand the second half of the verse as saying that the free gift of God results in eternal life. And if this is correct, what then is "the free gift of God"? I believe that the parallel in Rom. 5:17 provides a clue.

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