Paul is redundant, quite often. He appears to be trying as hard as he can to make the churches understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. He writes, “For sin pays a wage, and the wage is death, but God gives freely, and His gift is eternal life, in union with Christ Jesus our Lord.” Paul contrasts an earned wage with a free gift; he contrasts sin and death with eternal life and union with Christ. The benefit of the free gift, says Paul, is holiness. In contrast, the benefit of sin is death.
Paul says this is a matter of slavery: either slavery to sin or slavery to righteousness. “You used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.” (Romans 6:19,NIV)
Paul writes of being “dead to the law through the body of Christ.” (Romans 7:4,NIV) “By dying to what once bound us, we are released from the law so that we may serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” (Romans 7:6,NIV)
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” concludes Paul. He is trying again to make the church understand the simple gospel of Christ; that the free gift of God is salvation from sin, the development of righteousness leading to holiness and eternal life.
God Himself says, “Come now, let us argue it out.” He knows that we will continue to have difficulty accepting that salvation is a free gift of God to those who believe. He knows that some of us will argue with Him and with each other that there must be something else to it. We must do something! No one gives away such a gift, especially not the Someone who hates sin so very much.
But God says, “Let’s settle this matter!” He argues quite eloquently, “Though your sins are scarlet, they may become white as snow; though they are dyed crimson, they may yet be like wool.”
And yes, He does say, “Obey with a will.” And He does warn, “Refuse and rebel” and you won’t “eat the best that earth yields.” (Isaiah 1: 18-19) There are consequences to disobedience! Every true Christian knows this! Our Lord says, “Once again, I will act against you to refine away your base metal as with potash and purge all your impurities.” (Isaiah 1: 25)
God calls us to “walk in the Light of the Lord.” (Isaiah 2: 5) God warns again, “Mankind shall be brought low, all men shall be humbled; and how can they raise themselves?… Man’s proud eyes shall be humbled, the loftiness of man brought low, and the Lord alone shall be exalted on that day.” (Isaiah 2: 9, 10-11)
On that day, who will be exalted? Not mankind for all his efforts to be good, do right, abandon evil. No, the only one who will be exalted on that day will be the Lord Jesus Christ, who died to save mankind. Amen. To God be the glory.
Paul is convinced that “if one dies for all, then all die.” The One who dies is Jesus Christ. Since He dies for all, then we who live because of Him “should no longer live for [ourselves].”
In Christ, we are “new creation[s].” (2 Corinthians 5: 17) In Him, we are “the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5: 21)
The righteousness of God comes “through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all sin and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift.” (Romans 3: 22 – 24, ESV)
Our salvation is a gift. And, this gift is free as Paul repeatedly proclaims: “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many die through one man’s trespass, much more has the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abound for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brings condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification.” (Romans 5: 15 – 16)
Paul is not concerned with being redundant, and so encourages us with this truth: “The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6: 23, ESV)