Today’s Bible Reading

The wages that sin pays are death, but God’s gift is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23

More thoughts for meditation

Our society values work so much, that until very recently, aid to families in need was tied to whether or not they worked. Paul and Jesus have a much different idea of how we get our value. We get it from God who gifted us our very lives.

I love this translation of this familiar passage. The payment for the work of sin is death. When we labor for injustice and evil, death follows. So wherever we see death in our world, we know that sin is lurking closely by. If you want to uncover the sin, look at our society and see where death is.

The contrast that Paul makes here is topsy-turvy though. Instead of assigning us to do more work, for better or different wages, he offers something else entirely. Life is given to us, and eternal life through God. We know this to be true in our hearts because we have not worked to collect the very life we live now. Our existence, on its own, is a miraculous gift. We did nothing to “earn” it. Our life isn’t the result of compensation, it’s a result of unending love.

That unending love and generosity of God is made fully known through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Jesus gifts us eternal life, and so we no longer need to toil to try to achieve it. We can freely receive it and we are transformed by it. Paul suggests that the free grace we receive is not an excuse to continue to labor for death, but to be transformed, and start acting in collaboration and allegiance with Jesus. So yes, we continue to labor, but not for our own salvation, but rather in partnership with God for the redemption of the world. So others may partake in this gift, too.

Suggestions for action

Consider your relationship with work and wages today. Are you tempted to believe that your redemption or salvation is a matter of your own labor? To lower the volume a little bit, do you think you have to work for the love from your family and friends? Today, pray that God releases you of that burden and frees you to receive love with no labor agreement. If you already feel liberated from such a burden, pray for others to be freed similarly.