“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
The paycheck of sin is death. That is what we’ve earned. And yet, many of us struggle with the teaching that momentary sins would receive eternal death – it seems awfully extreme. It is a common question: “If God is love, why can’t God overlook sin?”
- Johnny has disobeyed his parents all day long but expects to get rewarded with ice cream at the end of the day.
- Suzie is hoping for a pay raise or promotion at her next review, even though she routinely ignores her boss’ instructions and does things her own way instead.
- Bill doesn’t understand why he failed his math exam. After all, he recently discovered a whole new way of doing math that’s better than the “old way” of the past.
These simple examples reflect the justice and love of God. It would not be right or “good” for Johnny, Suzie, or for Bill to be rewarded. They have all disregarded human authority who has been rightly placed over them. And if it is good for us to receive appropriate discipline by human authority, why would God overlook our sin?
Sin is a bigger deal than we often realize. Parents of young children often explain sin as a “mistake,” but this significantly minimizes the gravity that is sin. Instead, it’s best understood as rebellion and rejection of God. At its best, sin ignores God’s law and does its own thing instead; at its worst, sin purposely rejects God’s law in place of something it has decided is better.
Adam and Eve’s sin was severe enough to bring death into the world, to rupture the intimate relationship between them and God, and to shatter (but not destroy) the image of God within them. Keep in mind, their sin was a simple act of disobedience… “eat this fruit even though God said not to.” Even those sins that we often accept as “simple sins” (not the biggies like murder or adultery) are rebellion and rejection of God’s authority and kingship over our lives.
When we understand sin for what it is (war and rebellion against God’s holy authority), then we begin to understand why it cannot simply be overlooked. You can read more about Two Kinds of Sin in my blog post here, which will help you better identify the roots of sin in your life.
The good news of the Gospel is this – that “the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” God made a way for salvation, restoration, and adoption as children of God. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). God did not overlook our sin… he paid for all the sin of the children of God… so confess your sin, believe in Jesus Christ as the only savior, and commit your life to God.
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin,
so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:21