The expectation of many who accept the reality of God and who anticipate the judgment of God is that on the balance of positive and negatives their life will be sufficiently meritorious to gain heaven and eternal life, such is the frequent religious perspective of many a religious mind. Romans chapter 6 verse 23 presents the fallacy of this idea. I is one thing to move from life into death by means of sin, it is quite another to move from death into life by means of self effort! Some human aspirations may be achievable, but even in the physical sphere many are not.
Every before Paul penned the words of Romans chapter 6 verse 23, Jesus had already turned this simple of idea of religion on it's head. Heaven and eternal life are neither attainable, nor can they be an expectation of reward, earned by a life well lived. It was Jesus who:
- Raised the standard by reminding us that goodness is uniquely the attribute of God; "there is none good but God"
- Took our place! It was Jesus who took upon Himself what He did not earn nor deserve that we might be given what we did not earn nor deserve. His was the suffering and punishment and death that ours might be salvation, blessing and life.
- Forgave sins. There would be no need for God's gracious forgiveness of sins if such absolution could be earned by man.
Death we can easily aspire to but eternal life can only be received as an unearned gift by faith.
From a gospel message preached by Dr J Stewart Gillespie at the Bridgend Gospel Hall, New Cumnock.