For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I did a little research to see if anybody has ever done a study on how many sins there are in the Bible. I also was curious to see if all the sins in the Bible have been compiled in a list. If such a study or list exists, I couldn’t find it. But I do know this. Although I can’t tell you how many sins there are or even what they all are I know when I have committed a sin…and so do you.
Long ago the Catholic Church compiled a list of 7 Deadly Sins. The list has actually been revised over the years. I find it difficult to believe that God has changed His mind on what belongs on the list so I would have to conclude that those who compiled the original must have heard God wrong. For the record the more recent version includes wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.
The Apostle Paul assembled a lengthy list of iniquities in Galatians 5:19-21.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.
Notice Paul began his list by saying that “the acts of the sinful nature are obvious.” To put that in modern slang Paul said, in regard to what goes on the sin list, “Duh!!” He then ended his list with “and the like.” In other words it wasn’t an exhaustive sin list, and you really did not need to have the list to know what constitutes sin. Sin is “obvious.”
He also included some items on his sin list that may often be overlooked. Yes… jealousy, envy, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and discord made the list. Could it be that we have a tendency to pick and choose those sins that apply to others and gloss over those that hit a little too close to home?
In the Old Testament there is a well-known passage in Proverbs 6:16-24 that lists seven things offensive to God.
There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
Back to a point that I made earlier. We don’t really need an exhaustive concordance of sins to know we have sinned against God. In fact, before you received Christ the Holy Spirit worked within your heart to convict you of sin and unrighteousness, which brought you to the conclusion you were a sinner and could not save yourself. Then, after you received Christ as your Lord and Savior, you were given an onboard behavioral monitor, the indwelling Holy Spirit.
As a Christian your conscience is guided by the Spirit. When you sin you set off the internal spiritual sensitivity alarm indicating that something is not right between you and God. The closer you walk with God the higher your sensitivity to God’s behavioral expectations.
The opposite is also true. The further you get from God the less your sensitivity to that which is offensive to Him. You know that you have sinned, but the alarm is not as great as for that person who is living in the Spirit.
In today’s focus text we read Paul’s sobering words in Romans 6:23: “The wages of sin is death.” You don’t need the list of sins to know you have committed at least one sin in your life. Previously, in Romans 3:23 Paul wrote: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” In other words, all of us have sinned and it only takes one sin to earn “the wages” for that transgression…which is “death.” What makes this death so severe is that the recipient experiences eternal separation from God.
The good news about sin is that it doesn’t have to lead to death. Paul continues: “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” When you gave your life to Christ you ceased to be a slave to sin. Now, righteousness matters. Pleasing God matters. That doesn’t mean you are perfect or can attain perfection while on this earth (perfection comes later in heaven)…but it does mean that you have a different agenda for the way you desire to conduct your life.
So, on which side of Romans 6:23 do you live? The side that says “For the wages of sin is death” or the other that declares “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord?”
If you are in group one then my challenge to you is to acknowledge that you are a sinner, repent of your sins, and then accept God’s gift of eternal life by putting your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. And…if you are in the second group and already a recipient of God’s gift, I challenge you to listen to the voice of the Spirit that resides within you. Is there sin present in your life? If so, then confess it, accept God’s forgiveness, and seek to “sin no more.”
Outside my home there is a little box with a power meter. Once a month a representative from the power company comes by, checks my meter, and then the power company sends me a bill. Figuratively God has a sin meter. In fact, I’ll be happy to show you my sin meter bill. Every month it remains the same even though there are months when my usage is up. The bill is always marked, “Paid in full by the blood of Christ.”
For more on this topic, check out this article: Freedom From a Guilty Conscience
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.