Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
This passage of scripture describes what the natural result of sin is, and conversely states that the gift of God through Jesus Christ is the only antidote for its fatal effects. When the Lord declared to Adam and Eve that by eating of the forbidden fruit, they would surely die, it was not a curse that He pronounced upon them perse, but rather a delineation of the inevitable results of sin and disobedience.
Sin when left to itself, will ultimately work ruin on its own in persons, without any external interference or incentives. For instance, if God were to entirely remove satan from the human equation tomorrow, murders and robberies, crime and fraud will continue with absolutely no interruption. The problem isn't merely the devil anymore, but sin that has taken deep root in human nature, and by cultivation and inheritance, has embedded itself in our minds.
That's why the gift that God has provided in Christ is the only remedy to stop the fatal cycle of sin and death. The gift of God is not meant to grant eternal life only, but rather to accomplish a restoration of the image of God in which we were created. False systems of religion offer eternal life without a change of character, and therefore those doctrines that promise immortal life without permanent change for the better, are destined to disappoint those who subscribe to them.
For instance there is an ongoing movement in the world to promote good works outside of Christ, and many are accepting this fatal philosophy, because it does not call for repentance and renouncing of sin. Very many people are contributing to charities in very tangible ways, and these acts are to be encouraged for they do a lot of good. However, eternal life is an entirely different issue, for good works in and of themselves do not suffice to grant us immortality.
That's why it's necessary for us to understand that the Gift of God is all-encompassing, in that it eradicates the sin problem in our lives, and thereby renders us as safe recipients of the immortality that only God can give. After describing briefly the new Jerusalem that God has prepared in heaven, the apostle John goes on to clearly state who the inhabitants of that perfect city will be, so that none be misled as to who shall inherit the kingdom of God. Let's read:
Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
We should never be satisfied with a superficial work that doesn't change our characters, neither should we allow ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security based on merely good deeds. The Anti-typical day of Atonement in which we are now living is a time in which deep soul searching should be done everyday, by asking the Lord to reveal any cherished or dormant sins in our lives, and earnestly seeking that imputed and imparted righteousness of Christ, which alone can cleanse and remove all stains of sin. Let's read:
Psalms 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
We therefore end with a passage of scripture that should encourage us to make thorough work of the sacred duty of soul-searching, so that the day of final accounts will meet us in harmony with our Creator. Let's read:
1st John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
May the process of confession to God, and a turning away from sin, be our experience both now and for the rest of our lives. "Good night" and God bless!