The Wages of Sin is Death: What Does Romans 6:23 Mean?


Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” King James Version (KJV)

TranslationRomans 6:23
ESVFor the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
NASBFor the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
NIVFor the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
NLTFor the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Wages of Sin is Death: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

6:21-23 The pleasure and profit of sin do not deserve to be called fruit. Sinners are but ploughing iniquity, sowing vanity, and reaping the same.

Shame came into the world with sin, and is still the certain effect of it. The end of sin is death. Though the way may seem pleasant and inviting, yet it will be bitterness in the latter end.

From this condemnation the believer is set at liberty, when made free from sin. If the fruit is unto holiness, if there is an active principle of true and growing grace, the end will be everlasting life; a very happy end!

Though the way is up-hill, though it is narrow, thorny, and beset, yet everlasting life at the end of it is sure. The gift of God is eternal life.

And this gift is through Jesus Christ our Lord. Christ purchased it, prepared it, prepares us for it, preserves us to it; he is the All in all in our salvation.

Romans 6:23 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

23. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through—”in”

Jesus Christ our Lord—This concluding verse—as pointed as it is brief—contains the marrow, the most fine gold, of the Gospel. As the laborer is worthy of his hire, and feels it to be his due—his own of right—so is death the due of sin, the wages the sinner has well wrought for, his own.

But “eternal life” is in no sense or degree the wages of our righteousness; we do nothing whatever to earn or become entitled to it, and never can: it is therefore, in the most absolute sense, “THE GIFT OF God.” Grace reigns in the bestowal of it in every case, and that “in Jesus Christ our Lord,” as the righteous Channel of it.

In view of this, who that hath tasted that the Lord is gracious can refrain from saying, “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen!” (Re 1:5, 6).

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