For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
I. THE GIFT.
1. Life. Life, eternal life, and life everlasting, are very frequent designations of the salvation of the gospel (John 17:1, 2). This life consists of —
(1) A right state of affection and feeling toward God, the Father of our spirits, combined with a happy consciousness of His love and favour toward us. Where this life is, there is freedom from guilt.
(2) A renewed state of the affections and will: the law of God is approved, and the love of God is established in the heart, as its supreme and governing motive.
(3) Honour and happiness, the enjoyment of true pleasure, derived from the purest sources of holiness, and love, and fellowship with heaven.
(4) A blessed activity of the soul, engaged in the worship and service of Jehovah. Where these exist, the soul lives, fulfils its proper functions, answers the ends of its creation, and realises its most true and noble bliss. We sometimes call this life integrity, which is wholeness or soundness of being: sometimes rectitude, which is erectness and strength: and sometimes sanctity, which is separatedness from evil and devotedness to God.
2. The epithet, "eternal."(1) This word denotes everlastingness of duration.
(2) But where this is, there must also be uncorruptedness or perfection of nature.
(3) And where this perfection relates to a spiritual creature like man, there must be incessancy of progress, or development.
II. ITS GRATUITOUS CHARACTER.
1. It is the gift of God, inasmuch as —
(1) No man possesses it by nature.
(2) No man could procure it for himself.
2. We are to receive it as such, in simplicity of spirit and with grateful joy. And let us learn not to look at anything in ourselves to justify our expectation of it: and let us not, when we find nothing but demerit in ourselves, be disheartened, but believe that when we were fit only for everlasting punishment, God stepped forward to grant unto us eternal life. This He has done from the impulse of His own amazing generosity and love.
III. THE MEDIUM OF ITS BESTOWMENT.
1. God gives it to us through Jesus Christ, not in an arbitrary manner, but on the ground of what He has done and suffered in our stead.
2. So, we accept it through Christ (1 John 5:11). Indeed, we may say that Jesus is our eternal life. It is by being found in Him that we have pardon and holiness, happiness and heaven. When we reach the celestial world, we shall find that there as well as here, Christ is "all in all."
(T. G. Horton.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.