What does it mean that the Wages of Sin is Death? (Romans 6:23)
What does it mean in the Bible that “the wages of sin is death”?
Romans 6:23 reads: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Wages, Physical Death and Spiritual Death
A wage is a payment you receive for work or services you have rendered. A wage is the fruit of one’s labor. It is a payment that one deserves.
The phrase “the wages of sin is death” refers to the fact that living in sin carries a heavy price. Sin has consequences. Sinful living comes at a cost. So if we embrace and enjoy a lifestyle of sin then we will ultimately receive the due payment (wage) which is death.
However the “death” mentioned in Romans 6:23 does not only speak of physical death, but it mainly refers to a spiritual death or the second death, which is eternal punishment in hell.
Rejection of Jesus Christ as personal Saviour in order to pursue a lifestyle of sin and rebellion against God will ultimately lead to the second death.
Revelation 21:8 says: But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.
Without sin, there would be no death. Unfortunately the reason why death exists is because of the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-24).
Romans 5:12 reads: Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
The sin of Adam and Eve brought both physical death and spiritual death.
Furthermore, every human being will one day face physical death because of the existence and repercussions of Adam’s sin in the world.
How to Avoid Spiritual Death
We have all inherited our sin nature from Adam and therefore we will all experience physical death.
However we can avoid facing spiritual death or the second death if we repent and become born again.
We can receive forgiveness of sins and salvation through Jesus Christ who offers eternal life to mankind as a free gift.
Therefore if we believe in Jesus Christ and receive Him through faith as our Lord and Saviour, we will experience the free gift of eternal life and avoid eternal punishment. Sin brought death, but the remedy for sin is Jesus Christ.
Again the other part of Romans 6:23 reads: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Emphasis Added]
Ephesians 2:8-10 says: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. [Emphasis Added]
Eternal forgiveness and the gift of eternal life is found in the Person of Jesus Christ who died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. By His grace Jesus paid the debt for sin that we cannot pay through the shedding of His blood on the cross and then rising on the third day to prove His victory over sin and death.
Jesus became our Substitute. He paid the price of our sins on our behalf. He took our punishment and satisfied the wrath of God on the cross. Christ did it all so that in exchange we can believe and receive eternal life as a free gift through placing our faith in Him as Lord and Saviour.