Today's Reading: Romans 6:19-23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. If you want to know what God is all about, the verse above lays it out nice and simple: When we do things, we earn death; when God does things, we get gifts. Try to live by keeping the commandments: You'll earn and get what you deserve--eternal death. Trust in Christ, and there is the gift of eternal life, unearned, given freely to you in Jesus.
If YOU are the subject of the sentence, that's death and hell and eternal judgment. If JESUS is the subject, that's life and forgiveness and salvation and glory.
The world operates on the principle that you get what you deserve in this life and in the next life. That's BAD news, because nobody deserves mercy or grace or having their sins forgiven. Just think of all that we do to earn God's wrath: despise His Word, get bored by church, talk about others behind their back, disrespect our parents, daydream about stuff we don't have or try to get things without working for them and saving up for them. Over and over, against God and against our neighbor. Sins like that get paid back. With death.
But God isn't in the paying wages business. He's in the gift giving business. That's why Jesus comes into this world unasked for, to save sinners who don't even know how bad their condition really is. Jesus comes to give gifts. He preaches. He teaches. He dies for sinners. He rises again. He ascends. He sends the Spirit. He gives you a pastor. He baptizes. He absolves. He feeds us with His body and blood. Gifts, gifts, and more gifts!
If you ever find yourself thinking about your life and the Lord and such things, and you become worried that someday it's going to be payback time, then pay attention to Romans 6:23. Jesus is in the gift giving business. Go back and make a list of all that He gives you and still gives. Done yet? Didn't think so. Always (endless) gifts from God. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
The gifts Christ freely gives He gives to you and me To be His church, His bride, His chosen, saved and free! Saints blest with these rich gifts Are children who proclaim That they were won by Christ And cling to His strong name. (LSB 602:1)