For the wages paid by sin is death, but the gracious gift of God is eternal life through union with Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 6:23(Williams)
There is no more important issue in the life of every man than knowing the way of salvation, because there are eternal consequences that lead to an eternal life with God or eternal separation from Him; heaven or the lake of fire. But some ignore it or delay it, others misunderstand it, and still more do not consider that they need to be saved from their sin.
Many today do not consider that they are sinners but see themselves as good people, especially in comparison with others they consider less worthy than they. Many try to find an alternative route to heaven, believing that their 'good' deeds, generous giving, and acts of kindness to others, will earn them a place in God's heavenly home! They would prefer Romans 6:23 to read: "While the wages of sin is death, the wages of good deeds is eternal life in heaven."
While prideful man imagined a variety of ways to be saved and invented many paths to get into heaven, God in His wisdom purposed that there would be one way to be saved, and one way alone. God determined that there would only be one way to be forgiven of sin; one way to be redeemed; one way to be declared righteous; one way to gain eternal life. And Jesus told us, "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no man comes to the Father but by Me." No man can gain eternal life and enter heaven except through faith in Jesus.
In God's perfect economy the good deeds, generous acts, philanthropic behaviour, and kind conduct that fallen man is able to generate, falls far short of the glory and perfection of our holy God, for faith in Christ Jesus our Lord is the only Way. There is nothing we can do that could earn us a place in the heavenly realm.
From God's perspective, no one is good and so not one person could merit forgiveness of sin through their good own works. Not one man has ever lived who is deserving of forgiveness of sin and the salvation of their soul, for humanity is a fallen race. We are ALL sinners in need of salvation. No one but GOD Himself is good enough to pay the price for sin.
We are a sinful people that have an inherent sin nature: "For ALL have sinned and ALL fall short of the glory of God," and that being the case: "The wages of sin is death." But praise God that the verse continues with redemptive words of hope: "But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
How important to read to the end of the sentence: "BUT the GIFT of God is eternal life THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD." God loved His creation so dearly that in His grace, He gave His only begotten Son to be born into the human race so that He could become man's Saviour, through paying the price for humanities sin through the shedding of His lifeblood - through the sacrifice of His perfect, sinless life.
It is vital, first of all, to understand that salvation is a gift from God. Salvation, which includes eternal life, is not something that can be bought or earned with our 'good' deeds, generous giving, a mountain of money, or acts of kindness. The forgiveness of sin (salvation of the soul and eternal life, which is part of the package of forgiveness) is a gift - a free gift - a free gift from God - an unconditional gift from God which demonstrates His amazing grace and unconditional love, and it is available to every-man, every sinner. The gift of eternal life can ONLY come through JESUS CHRIST our Lord.
Eternal life is open to ALL men and women. But note - there is ONE condition and one alone. Salvation is given freely THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD. Forgiveness of sins and eternal life is God's free gift which comes to all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved," Paul told the Philippian jailer, while John tells us in his gospel: "For God so love the world that He GAVE His only begotten Son so that all that BELIEVE ON HIM should not perish but have eternal life."
The payment for sin is death, but Jesus received the payment on behalf of every man when He died on Calvary's cruel Cross: "For the wages of sin is death; BUT the free gift of God is eternal life," THROUGH BELIEVING ON JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.
Loving Father, I am a sinner and deserving of eternal death and the lake of fire. I am not worthy to set my foot in Your heavenly home. But Lord, I believe that the Lord Jesus paid the price for my sins through His death on Calvary's Cross, and I accept Your free gift of salvation and eternal life in Him. Thank You for Your indescribable gift. In Jesus' name, AMEN.