Death Penalty for Sin, Eternal Life In Christ

Death Penalty for Sin, Eternal Life In Christ

One Bible verse that is always quoted every time the Gospel is shared is Romans 6:23. This verse says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Looking at this verse more closely made me realize one thing, and that is, we get exactly what we deserve! We receive death as penalty for our sins. “Wages” refers to a payment. When a person works, he receives a payment for his work. In the verse quoted above, it means that those whose work is “sin” receive the payment of death.

In today’s article, I would like us to look into the three important ingredients of the above mentioned text namely: SIN, DEATH and ETERNAL LIFE.

Sin: What is it? When, where and how did it start?

The Bible defines sin as the “transgression or breaking of the law” (1 John 3:4 KJV); it is rebellion against God’s will (Deuteronomy 6:23; Joshua 1:18), an act of revolution and anarchy against God’s righteous government.

Sin started in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve deliberately disobeyed God. We read in Genesis 2:15-17 that God put the man (Adam) He created in the Garden of Eden and instructs him that he is free to eat from any tree in the garden except from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because in that day that he will eat of it he will surely die.

Not long after that in Genesis 3:1-6, we read the account of the fall of man as Adam gave in to Eve’s suggestion to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that God specifically forbade and committed the sin of disobedience. And because Adam stood as the representative of the human race, his sin was imputed, reckoned and imparted to all future generations (Romans 5:12). The result is that we have all sinned and are under the judgment of God (Romans 3:23).

We were all born into this world spiritually dead and that’s why we need to be born again as Jesus explicitly said in John 3:3-5 in his conversation with Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin.

Death: The punishment for sin

What is death? It is very important we understand that death is never associated with the concept of non-existence. Instead, death always carries the idea of separation – whether in a physical or a spiritual sense.

2 Kinds of Death:

1) Spiritual death – the state of being separated from fellowship with God as a result of sin.

2) Physical death – separation between the soul and body.

Did Adam and Eve die spiritually or physically? Or both? Genesis 3:23-24 tells us that the Lord banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and so their fellowship with God was cut off. Clearly, Adam and Eve died a spiritual death. Take note that before the fall, God had a close, intimate relationship with Adam. God would come down to the Garden of Eden to fellowship with him. But that relationship was not only tainted but broken as a result of sin.

Some Bible scholars claim that Adam and Eve did not only experience spiritual death but they also died physically that day. Yes, Adam went on to live for another 930 years after being banished from the Garden of Eden, but “with the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day” (2 Peter 3:8). Assuming that Adam was 70 years old at the time of the fall, add to that 930 years for a total of a thousand years which is like one day to the Lord.Death Penalty for Sin Eternal Life in Christ.

Do you ever wonder why such a severe penalty for merely having an appetite for a fruit that looked so enticing? Why did God impose the death penalty for the sin of having an appetite for a forbidden fruit? It should be noted that the motive for Adam and Eve’s disobedience was more than just appetite, but the ambition to be “like God” (Genesis 3:4-6). Sounds familiar? It’s the same sin Lucifer committed that resulted to his fall from heaven (Isaiah 14:12-14 & Ezekiel 28:12-18).

Eternal Life in Christ: God’s gift

Going back to Romans 6:23, do you notice how the bad news comes first while the good news comes last? Often times in our conversation, we always deliver the bad news first so that we can end on a good note. Like when we go to the doctor and he says he’s got bad news and good news. Without even asking which one we want to hear first, he will go on to tell us the bad news first and then follow it up with the good news. Now why is that? Because although we need  to be aware of the reality of the bad news, he wants us to focus on the good news.

That’s exactly what the apostle Paul was doing here when he wrote to the Roman Church. Paul mentions a problem (bad news) and then introduces a solution (good news). If the bad news is death as the consequence of sin, the good news is the gift of God which is eternal life in Christ Jesus.

But what is eternal life? Is it “living forever?” Does having eternal mean we get to “live forever?” No, because no one ceases to exist when they die! Everyone gets to live forever. The only difference is the location; everyone gets to live forever in either heaven or hell.

What then is eternal life? John 3:36 NIV says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” Also in John 3:16, the very heart of the Bible, it says that the reason Jesus came to live and die was for us to have eternal life. Do you see in these verses that eternal life is a present-tense possession?

Death Penalty for Sin Eternal Life in Christ.

Eternal life is not something that begins only when we get to heaven. Sadly, many Christians mistakenly assume that the goal of salvation is the forgiveness of sin to avoid hell. Sure, not perishing in hell is an important part of what Jesus came to do. But there’s a lot more to our salvation than getting our sins forgiven so we can be with God in heaven instead of hell.

As mentioned earlier, spiritual death is separation from God that came about as a result of sin. Sin which was a barrier that stood between man and God had to be removed and that’s exactly what Jesus came to accomplish. So now, sin is no longer standing between us and God because we have become a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Jesus defined eternal life in John 17:3 as “knowing God.” But what does the Bible mean exactly by the word “know?” Let’s look at one particular Bible verse where the word “know” is used in the same way as in John 17:3. Genesis 4:1 says “Adam knew his wife …” Adam didn’t just know Eve intellectually. He had an intimate, personal experience with her. This was speaking of a relationship between a man and a woman in the most intimate way possible.

Death Penalty for Sin Eternal Life in Christ.

So when Jesus said eternal life was knowing God, He was speaking of having an intimate, close personal relationship with Him and His Father which we can have right now. We do not have to wait for heaven to be able to enjoy eternal life. Jesus did not come to die so you won’t go to hell. Jesus died for our sins in order to have our broken relationship with God restored as to how it was before sin entered the world.

“True eternal life begins with a relationship with the Lord.”


Romans 6:23 addresses both the consequences of sin and the deliverance from it. The wages (just payment) for sin is death. However, God has given us a gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. This gift is not something earned or deserved, but is given freely. The Bible is clear that Jesus is the only way to be free from the bondage of sin and death and to the Father (John 14:6).

Sure, Adam’s disobedience has put everyone under God’s curse and due to receive the death penalty for that sin, but Jesus’ obedience made us righteous (Romans 5:18-20) in the sight of God and can now receive His gift of eternal life.

Do you want to receive God’s gift of eternal through Jesus Christ our Lord? Do you acknowledge that you are a sinner in need of a Savior? Would you like to have a personal, intimate relationship with God, declared righteous by God and not suffer death penalty for your sin? God has set before you today life and death and He wants you to choose life (Deuteronomy 30:15 & Deuteronomy 30:19).

The choice is yours!

Recommended Resource: Knowing God By J.I. Packer

J. I. Packer’s Knowing God has become a classic of the Christian faith. Why? While it gives us information about God with clarity and grace, it does much more — it aids us in actually knowing Him, in building our relationship with Him, and helps draw us closer to Him in love and worship. This 20th anniversary edition of Packer’s classic has new Americanized text, reader-friendly type, and a new preface. Study guide not included.





8 Replies to “Death Penalty for Sin, Eternal Life In Christ”

  1. Alice,
    Wonderful article.
    Is it so important for us to learn this information.
    I love the way you described the two forms of death.
    Few people know about spiritual death.
    It is very important for people to know about spirituality.
    One can be spiritually dead and physically alive. When that is the case, many things go wrong in their lives.

    1. Hello again Linda, thanks for coming back.

      Indeed, few people know they’re spiritually dead and need to be regenerated by repenting of their sins and placing their faith in what Christ has accomplished on the cross for us. I think this is because we often equate spirituality with religiosity. Many people think they’re saved and are on their way to heaven just because they practice certain rites and rituals which they think are pleasing to God. “Walking dead” best describes many people today, they’re physically alive but spiritually dead.

      While physical death seem scary, spiritual death is many times more scary because it means separation from God. In this world today, the righteous and the wicked both enjoy the good things and blessings that come from God because of His mercy and grace. Imagine not having any of these in the afterlife. Because this is what hell means – separation from a good God. There could be nothing good without God.

      We all deserve the punishment of hell but because of God’s great love for the world, He Himself paid the price for us in full so that we may be reconciled back to Him.

      I hope this message of eternal life in Christ will reach more people who are in the darkness so they too will be spared from the death penalty for their sin.

  2. Thank you for your clear and concise explanation of what sin is and why we need God.

    I think sometimes we only hear about sin is bad and God is mad. But that is totally not true. And with your clear explanation many people will understand their need for a saviour and come to know his loving grace and mercy. Keep up the good work!

    1. Until we realize we’re lost in sin and are separated from God, we will never acknowledge our need of a Savior. All too often people only think of murder, rape or theft as sin and do not understand that we were all born into this world with a sin nature because of Adam’s disobedience. I know because that’s how I used to think, but thank God for His amazing grace that saved a sinned such as I.

      As Christians we must continue sharing the Gospel message so that they too may receive God’s gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

      Thanks SJ, shalom and God bless!

  3. Being a Christian myself, I can definitely vouch that this article hits the salvation nail right on the head. Pretty cool that you have such an understanding of the Gospel, Alice. It’s really so simple, complex at the same time. Or maybe, better said, the main point is simple, but the details have a LOOOOOT of details. lol

    Of course, since you are quoting chapter and verse throughout, you may find some turned off by this – those who find adhering to one book as a source of direction kind of narrow-minded and one-dimensional. But regardless, you did outline the salvation plan succinctly and with grace, so…I wouldn’t change a thing. Unless of course you have a change of heart in the TYPE of person you’re trying to reach. That’s always the most important when writing…knowing our audience!

    I’d like to hear your personal story somewhere in this article to help enlighten it. I find people sometimes weary of facts and quotations, but when I tell something that happened to me, they at least always listen through to the end. Probably because our experience is something that no one can refute.

    Anyway, nice to hear the Gospel presented so well. Keep being a good student of the Word!

    1. Hi TJ,

      Thanks for your encouraging comment.
      I agree that there will always be people who get turned off when we keep shoveling in the truths of the Bible in pointing out man’s needs for salvation. Nevertheless, we need to just keep on sharing it as we have been commissioned to share it to everyone.

      So here’s my story:
      Before I came to fully surrender my life to Christ, I never realized how lost and pitiful I was because I thought I was a good person; I thought I was fine because I wasn’t doing anything wrong against other people. To me, what was considered sinful are the acts in violation of the Ten Commandments outlined in the Old Testament. I was a nominal Christian back then, a Roman Catholic, to be more specific. I considered myself better than the others because I wasn’t committing murder, adultery, I wasn’t stealing and all that.

      Little did I know that I was lost in sin and separated from God; that I was on my way to hell. Thank God He reached out to me even when I wasn’t seeking for Him and rescued me from the death penalty that is due for everyone who doesn’t accept God’s gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus. I was dead but made alive in Christ, I was lost and now I’m found, hallelujah!

      I am now enjoying God’s gift of eternal life even while I am still in this world, eternal life which is knowing the Father and His son Jesus who gave Himself to pay the penalty for my sin. I will forever sing how amazing the grace of God is for rescuing me from the dead.


  4. Great article. Sin is breaking Gods’ law. We cannot practice sin and go back with Jesus when he comes. Our love for God has to be greater than our inclinations and our desire. No matter how sin makes us feel good it is heading to death. Most people don’t realize that the wages of sin is death until it is too late and they have passed from this life to the next, they then see that the wages of sin is true and real death. Sin feels like pleasure but it is only for a season because on payday, sin always pays with death. A lot of bad things happen today because of sin. We should always try to avoid sin because sin carries a high price, sin is not always forgiven and sin brings forth shame. We should get to know the scriptures and avoid the wrong doings.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this post. I really learned a lot.

    1. Hi John,
      Thanks for pointing out how sin almost always makes people feel good. That is so true! There are even those who are proud of what they’re doing although they know it’s wrong because they say, “Well, it’s just human.” And they’re right! We’re fallen that’s why we are prone to sin. The Bible says we have becomes slaves to sin. But praise God, there is hope and that is the promise of eternal life in Christ Jesus.
      A person who got born again should not feel good anymore about sinning because the Holy Spirit who is residing in him will convict him of sin.
      Sin always leads to death, that is, separation from God. The question we always hear people ask is, “Does a person who has truly been born again continue to commit sin?” Until we will be with our Lord Jesus, we will not be perfected, especially so that we are still in the flesh but this should not be our excuse for transgressing God’s law. How then do we avoid sin? By keeping or hiding God’s word in our heart (Psalm 119:11).
      Thanks for stopping by!

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