What are Your Wages?

Romans 6:20-23 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Paul uses the metaphor of slavery to portray the spiritual change that occurs when we put their faith in God through Jesus. People might not like the dichotomy he presents, that you can only serve sin or God – many will protest, “I don’t want to be God’s slave, but I’m not a slave to sin either. I just make my own choices, so where is the middle ground?” For Paul, there honestly is no middle ground, and that is why he presents only two options, both of which involve a bond of obedience and corresponding freedom: serve God and you will be free from the power of sin; or serve sin and you will be free from the obligation to do right. You can certainly be free from God’s rules, but it will get you a paycheck of death.
Paul’s message is not about fire and brimstone so much as affirming that choices have consequences. He has already laid a foundation for this argument in 4:4-5 of the same letter:
When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.

This is the irony of the gospel, especially in a culture that is obsessed with fairness and earning. Jesus warns against this attitude in this parable of a landowner who pays his workers all the same wage even though some were hired later than others. I love how the NLT translates verse 15 (the landowner’s response to complainers): “Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?

Sin pays wages, but God kindly and generously gives grace. Accepting Jesus means much more than changing bosses or trading one wage for another; it means agreeing to a completely different framework for our lives.

What are you striving for? Where does it lead?

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