Life is an extremely serious matter, because the opposite of life is death. And just as life continues on forever, so also death continues on forever. The obvious choice would be to choose for life, because that is where happiness and fulfillment and everything good exists.
Death on the other hand, is quite the opposite, and even worse, especially because just as the duration of life is eternal, so also the duration of death is eternal.
And here we have the reward, or better stated, the wages that result when rejecting life and choosing death.
There are only two choices for your future. The first is life, and the second is death.
Again, the obvious choice, one would think, would be for life. However, the choice for life comes with a set of rules for making that choice. And the rules are very simple, believe in Christ and you have eternal life.
Anything and everything else, is a choice for death.
The word for wages, simply means, that which is purchased to be eaten with bread, such as fish or vegetables or meat. And in Paul’s day it was a reference to the pay of the Roman soldier, because it was the custom to pay the soldiers with these sorts of things. A wage refers to that which a man earns or deserves, or his proper pay, or what he merits because of his own effort.
And when you live your life apart from faith, then in effect, you live your life in sin, or the sphere of no faith. And the wages of sin, is paid in the form of, death.
Wages are not arbitrary or undeserved. Wages are paid in the form that is actually deserved. Therefore, no pain is inflicted on the sinner, or the unbeliever, as it were, which he does not deserve.
No sinner, or unbeliever, will ever receive death, that is not unjustly deserved and earned.
In Ezekiel 18, God states, that the soul that sins, shall die. And this sin, is a reference to unbelief.
Death, stands in contrast to life.
Life is eternal, and therefore death also, is eternal. Life is never-ending, and therefore death will be never ending. And that death of course, which we are describing, is that of eternal condemnation, and eternal separation from God, and from life.
Also in contrast to wages, is the gift.
Wages are earned, however, gifts are not earned.
Man does not earn salvation. It is a gift given to man, by God, where man cannot earn nor deserve the gift. It is by grace, and grace alone, because of faith.
The words for eternal life, are those same words rendered everlasting life, from the previous verse. There can be no doubt as to the duration of eternal life. And likewise there can be no doubt as to the duration of eternal death.
And, whereas one cannot be terminated or altered or ended, so too the other cannot be terminated or altered or ended.
Life is a serious matter. The opposite of life is a death that continues forever with no way out.
Unfortunately, too many people do not take life seriously, do not take their spiritual life seriously, do not take the requirements of daily Bible study seriously, because they live in pretense and delusion, both of which amount to nothing more than selfishness and the lack of commitment to that which God expects.
There is only one source of eternal life, and that source is through Jesus Christ, who is Lord and Savior, who accomplished the work of salvation, which is freely given to humanity, for the mere thought of faith.
How a person, who thinks around the clock, can live their entire life, day after day, year after year, decade after decade, and refuse to believe in Christ, seems to be beyond understanding.
Since so much is on the line, one would think that believing in Christ, which takes virtually no effort whatsoever, but a mere thought, would be the one thing that everyone would do.
To refuse to believe, places the biggest risk that anyone could ever take, because none of us know when we are going to be called out of this world. So, time is of the essence.
Believe in Jesus Christ right now, because five minutes from now, or five hours from now, or five days from now, may not be there for you. And when your heartbeat stops, and you leave this world, it will be too late.