Rev. Jonathan Latham

Rev. Jonathan Latham

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

In a free society, the idea of working for wages is considered the natural and honorable thing to do. Wages are something of value offered by one person to someone else for services rendered.

Most people desire to find a profession where they can succeed and procure compensation enough to make a good living. Thus, earning something is typically achieved by trading time, effort and/or skill for money or goods.

On the other hand, a gift is something received without having earned it. Perhaps it is for a birthday, a Christmas present or some other special event.

Unfortunately, there is a tendency to give something with the expectation of a reward.

For this reason, due to the mutual understanding that one day the recipient will return items of similar value, gift-giving is a lot like friendly bartering.

However, the most authentic present is given from a heart of love to someone not expected to reciprocate. The only requirement of such a gift is that the recipient accepts it.

Most people believe that an eternal life of joy is something one must earn. Being a “good” person, doing religious activities, or giving time, talents and treasure to their place of worship will ensure entry into everlasting bliss.

Tradition and most religions have convinced society that if they have enough good works on their side of the scale, it will outweigh the bad things they have done in life.

Therefore, “Good Karma” will somehow unlock the door to Heaven. They approach the end of life hoping they have invested enough positive living for the scales to tip in their favor.

Unfortunately, a works-based belief system leaves one in doubt as to whether they have done enough.

After all, how much sin is too much? How many good deeds are required to ensure a place in Heaven? What is the ultimate price for avoiding Hell?

The Bible says that our best is as “filthy rags.” We are sinners without merit for salvation, and, therefore, no one can earn it. It says in Ephesians 2:8-9, “…it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Thankfully, the only requirement for receiving this gift is to accept it. God gave His only Son, Jesus, that whoever will trust in Him for salvation from sin will have eternal life.

The loving gift of salvation from God beats sin’s deadly wages any day. Have you chosen to receive this gift of eternal life?

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