Crown Him the Lord of Life
January 11, 2012
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”Romans 6:23
Verse three of the majestic hymn “Crown Him with Many Crowns” speaks of life–eternal life–made possible by the death of the Creator of life. This was followed by His retaking life and returning in victory from the grave. The hymn expresses it well.
Crown Him the Lord of life, Who triumphed o’er the grave,And rose victorious in the strife For those He came to save.His glories now we sing Who died and rose on high,Who died, eternal life to bring, And lives that death may die.
As in our text, eternal life is a “gift of God,” made possible “by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10). The penalty for sin had to be paid, and so “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3). But in order to fully vanquish death and offer forgiven sinners eternal life, He “rose again the third day” (v. 4) “wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
Then, “when he had by himself purged our sins, |he| sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3). “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? . . . Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55, 57).
Although eternal death has been vanquished, we still face physical death. Yet there will come a day when “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
Romans 6:23 has two rewards, Death or Eternal life
Wages of sin is death. Again the apostle emphasizes that the coming of death into the world resulted directly from the coming of sin into the world (note Romans 5:12, et al.). God warned Adam that this would happen, and it did (Genesis 2:17; 3:17-19). There was thus no death in the world before Adam; otherwise, it would be meaningless to say that death is the price of sin. It would also be pointless for Christ to die for the sin of the world, if death already was pervasive throughout God’s creation before sin came in. Those who accept the geologic-age system, with its supposed characteristic of billions of dead and fossilized animals in a groaning world of suffering and decay, are in effect accepting the concept of a sadistic God (or else no God at all), for the loving and wise God of the Bible would never create such a world as that. Evolutionists claim that some such system of suffering and death brought man into the world, but God has made it emphatically clear that man brought suffering and death into the world by his sin. He has also made it clear that Christ’s suffering and death were accepted by God in payment for the sin of the world, a marvelous act of love whereby all suffering and death will eventually be eliminated from the world (Revelation 21:4-5).
Gift of God is eternal life. The “gift” is better rendered “free gift.” Although the death of His Son cost both Father and Son infinite pain, it is all offered to us as a free gift, by His grace. It only becomes a gift in reality if it is accepted, of course, and the tragedy is that most people will never accept it.