Romans 6:20 When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul is comparing slavery to sin (v.20) and slavery to God (v.22). One leads to death, the other to eternal life. What I’m appreciating most about this passage this morning is its use of present tense to describe both death and eternal life (v.23).
As a Western Christian I have tended to understand the consequences of sin and the gift of eternal life as something that will happen in the day of judgment – sometime in the future. But that’s not what Paul suggests here. He is saying that both death and eternal life are present realities resulting from slavery to sin and/or to God.
So as I’m thinking about myself this morning in light of this passage I can see a bit of both realities. I’m sorry to say that sin has not left me yet. I fall short of God’s will and ways every day. And if I’m to understand this passage correctly death is the result. Not necessarily complete mortal death, but a diminishment of what my life could be without sin.
But eternal life is also a present reality. By the grace of God I am free to live a life that is generous, loving, forgiving, patient, and so on. It’s an invitation to live in the reality of eternity rather than in this present finitude. To live in hope no matter what my present circumstances may be. In part, this is what it means to live as a child of an eternal God. So this morning I’m pondering how I can live out of this reality.