File this under “America’s Dumbest Criminals.”
A man walked into a convenience store with the intention of robbing it. He gave the clerk a $10.00 bill to get her to open the cash register. It worked.
With a hand in his pocket, pretending to have a gun, he demanded that the cashier give him the contents of the drawer. And she did.
He got everything–a grand total of $4.34. However in his haste to escape he left the $10.00 bill!
He Lost $5.66 on the deal.
We laugh and shake our heads at the stupid things criminals do. They make no sense. And most of the time they get caught and suffer the consequences of their crimes.
However, I wonder if most folks are really any smarter when it comes to spiritual matters?
Gateway.com reports that Romans 6:23 is the 29th most read Bible verse on-line. But are we really listening to its message?
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Consider what this simple verse teaches us.
(1) Sin is serious. Sin is an affront to God. It’s a violation of His Law. And sin separates us from the fellowship of God.
Sin scars the conscience. Stains the soul. And severs relationships. Sin enslaves us mentally, emotional and physically. Jesus said, “Whoever commits sins is a slave of sin” (Jn. 8:34). Think of the millions of people who are enslaved to alcohol. Drugs. Or painkillers. Many are in bondage to sexual addictions and perversions.
I can remember my Mentor, Aude McKee, saying, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go: Keep you longer than you want to stay; and cost you more than you want to pay.”
The price of sin? Death! The Greek word “Thanatos” is used of physical death However, it is also used, as in this passage, to describe spiritual death. Eternal death. Everlasting separation from God.
(2) The consequences of sin are negated by God’s gift. The contrast is dramatic, and emphasized with the single and simple word “but.”
Sin extracts a high price, but you don’t have to pay it. Sin can enslave you, but you can be free from its entanglements. Sin can result in spiritual death, but you can find life!
The word “gift” means “a favor freely bestowed.” It is akin to the word that is translated “grace.” Salvation is a gift of God’s grace, mercy and love. He generously has devised the means by which we can overcome Satan’s enslavement and be freed from the guilt of sin.
(3) Eternal life is possible. In fact, eternal life is the promise of God and the hope of all Christians.
Earlier Paul put it this way: “sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life…” (Rom 5:21)
Endless, everlasting life with God is part of His master plan. He desires that we reject sin, accept the offer of His grace, and receive the reward of eternal life.
(4) Jesus Christ is the answer! The ability to overcome sin, defeat the devil and receive God’s grace is found only one way–in Christ Jesus!
He is “the way the truth, and the life.” Jesus is the expression of God’s grace. He is God’s gift. His miraculous incarnation, sinless life, and vicarious death allowed Him to experience victory over death through His resurrection.
Jesus affirms, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (Jn 11:25-26).
Come to Christ. Accept God’s gift. Overcome sin. And receive the reward.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman