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Romans 6:23-6:23
Key Verse: 6:23

Through Jemmie’s message, we could see man’s desperate and hopeless condition and inevitable doom due to our sins. God’s righteous judgment is certain and dreadful. However, amazingly the gospel has been preached. The gospel is the only hope and way for us to change our eternal destination. Now let us learn what the gospel contains and how it works for us.

Romans 6:23 declares amazing message of God, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We are so indebted to God because of our sins. This verse clearly teaches two aspects of God. He hates sins but loves sinners. For those who offended and insulted you, have you ever prepared a gift rather than thrown a punch? But God prepared his gift for sinners who are subject to his righteous judgment and eternal condemnation. That gift is eternal life in Jesus. Eternal life was originally given to the first man, Adam as long as he keeps God’s single command. God desired to live with his beloved creature forever with joy and peace. However, man’s disobedience shut the way of bearing such wonderful blessing. Since then, men desperately and eagerly wanted eternal life but they only faced the reality of life full of troubles and of the judgment after death. Knowing this life and the loss of eternal life, men are agonized with deep sorrow. One rich young man came to Jesus asked “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (MK 10:17) An expert in the law also asked the same question “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"(LK 10:25). Jesus also said “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet lose his soul?” (MK 8:36)

But sinners are unqualified to achieve eternal life. These days, money power and oil power is strong. But it can not buy eternal life. Neither do human effort and good moral standard. Although Canada is one of the best countries to live in this world and provides free medical system, she does not offer eternal life. People want to work at a good company which offers good package but it does not have eternal life in it. But God prepared it for us as his gift. Since we are so undeserving of God’s love, this is truly great gift for all of us. But more than the gift itself, how he prepared is so amazing. God made tremendous effort and heart breaking work and made decision to send us his one and only son Jesus.

John 3:16 describes this grace of God very well. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 is the core verse of the whole bible, showing God’s amazing love and promise. This world is not lovable at all. It is flooded with terrible sins to the eyes of Holy God. Someone said “If I have power like God, I will sweep out this world two times a day.” This world is hopelessly perishing in sins like a person who is waiting for his death in incurable illness. But we are amazed at what God has done. God saw this world with his mercy. He expressed his great love through giving his one and only Son to save this perishing world. He promised that whoever believes in Jesus shall have eternal life. Can we find any other love and promise greater than this in this world?

Now, someone may ask how we can have eternal life in Jesus. Who is he?

First, Jesus is the lamb of God. In John 1:29, John the Baptist exclaimed when he saw Jesus “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” The Lamb of God refers to the lamb that was sacrificed during the Passover. Israelites killed the passover lamb and painted the blood of the lamb on their house door frame and post. In this way, they could survive in the midst of God’s judgment on Egypt. Since then, they could come to God through sacrificing lambs without blamish. However, this was just temporal way until the perfect one would come. God promised that he would send the one who can resolve our sin problem. God told Adam about his redemptive plan in Genesis 3:15“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." Isaiah 53:4-5 says “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” When John the Baptist saw Jesus, he recognized him as the lamb whom God himself had prepared for the salvation of the world. Sinless Jesus, the blameless Lamb of God came to take away the sin of the world. Indeed, Jesus took away all sins of each individual. He took away the sin of the adulterous woman, sins of selfish tax collector Levi, doubting Thomas, and Peter who disowned Jesus three times. There are no sins that he can’t take away from us. No matter how heavy, complicate and dirty they are, he will forgive as we come to him.

Do you know what the heaviest thing is in us? Someone said “it is eyelids when we fall into a doze” But, our sins and guilty feeling is heaviest since it presses our hearts most hard. It is true. For example, King David committed sins of adultery and murder. What he did was covering up of his sins and zipping up his lips. But he confessed in Psalm 32:3-5 “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD"--and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” God promised to us “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson they shall be like wool.” How can this miraculous thing happen? As John the Baptist said, it happens when we look at Jesus who takes away our sins. Jesus is the very object the eyes of sinners are fixed on.

Second, Jesus is the only Mediator. 1 Timothy 2:5 says “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” We may wonder why we need a mediator and why Jesus is the only one. Due to our sins, we became God’s enemies. We can’t approach God. We need a mediator who can help us reconcile with him. How can sinful and imperfect men stand before God who is holy and perfect? In the book of Job, Job groaned when none could understand his suffering. Although he wanted to defend before God, he knew that a mortal man like him can not stand before the Holy God. In his despair, he cried out (Job 9:32-35) “He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.” For such helpless sinners, God initiated reconciliation work through the mediator Jesus. Jesus is perfect God and a perfect man so that he knows what God wants and what man needs to restore relationship. Through his work as the Lamb of God, he brought peace between God and sinners. Only through him, we can come to God and know him. So Jesus said “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Thank Jesus for becoming the mediator for you and me.

When we believe in this Jesus, what happen to us? He changes our dwelling place from death to life. We are saved from death and now belong to the world of life. John 5:24 says “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my words and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned. He has crossed over from death to life.” Under the power of sin, we lived in the world of death and suffered under fear, regret, condemnation, sorrow, despair, fatalism, restlessness, and hopelessness. Yet, one lived such life can be saved if he humbly hears Jesus’ words and accepts God and Savior Jesus. Such person can also have eternal life from that moment and begin to live totally different life from the past because he has crossed over from death to life which is full of hope, peace, and joy eternally. Death is the status of being disconnected with God so we groan under the power of sin and death. But in Jesus, we are connected to God and live in the kingdom of God where true life works in us. We are ruled by his love and peace. Although we face troubles momentarily, we have hope and faith to overcome them and God leads us in his best way. Eventually, we will enter the everlasting life. Truly blessed man is the one who has crossed over from death to life!

In the world of life, we are free from any condemnation. So, Paul exclaimed in Romans 8:1 “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Paul was a notorious Christian persecutor and travelled to catch, imprison, and even kill Jesus’ followers. But when he believed Jesus and followed his words, his life was completely changed. He lived in the world of life and bore beautiful fruits of life. Jesus’ word has power to deliver us from death into life.

In order to do that, Jesus paid the price for our sins through suffering and death. Acts 2:23-24 show what Jesus has done for us. “This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge. And you with the help of wicked men put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” This message given by Peter to Israelites, described how Jesus became the Lamb of God. People of Jesus’ time saw and experienced his love and care. However, they betrayed and put him to death through the cruelest way. Innocent Jesus was falsely accused, wrongly judged, severely flogged and nailed to the cross. Men murdered the son of God. However, even in this evil work, God fulfilled his purpose on Jesus. His suffering and death was God’s great salvation plan making him as a ransom sacrifice for our sins. The wages of sin is death. As blameless lamb was slaughtered to deliver Israelites from God’s judgement on Egypt, Jesus shed his blood to save sinners from their eternal damnation. Through his death, Jesus paid full price for our sins. When we believe this Jesus as our Lamb of God by faith, we are truly set free from our sins.

More amazingly, Jesus’ death was not the end of the story. God raised him from the dead. Jesus rose again after three days. He won the victory over the death. Death has an absolute power over men. It swallows everything and its grip is strong. However, God freed Jesus from the pain of death. This resurrection of Jesus was the climax of the history for God’s salvation plan was completed and Satan was defeated. Through this wonderful work of God, we are certain that his death was indeed for redeeming us from our sins and death, giving us new life in God and leading us to eternal life.

With human knowledge and wisdom, biological death is understandable and acceptable while resurrection is considered as just a story or myth. It is because people do not acknowledge God’s power. But as death is true, so is resurrection. Jesus is the evidence of resurrection. What’s more? His resurrection became a first fruit that would be followed by many others. 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 says “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”

When we depend on this power of resurrection, we can also experience God’s victory in our practical problems. All men suffer from the agony of death which includes fear and sorrow etc. Sometimes, people suffer meaninglessness and fear through the loss of their beloved ones. When fear seizes our hearts such as fear of men, study, failure, we can not study or work properly. But, when we depend on Jesus who defeated the power of death, we can live a victorious life. St. Paul exclaimed (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Thank and praise Jesus for giving us such a wonderful victory.

Through this victory, we can have a living hope. 1 Peter 1:3,4 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, kept in heaven for you.” The Message version says “What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven-and the future starts now!”

What a great gift we have through Jesus’ death and resurrection! We have new birth (brand new life) and living hope. In Jesus, we become a new person who calls God Abba Father. We are privileged to call God Father and became his children. In Jesus, we can have a living hope and inheritance. No more sickness, pain, sorrow, and worry. True happiness, joy and perfect peace and glorious life will be given to the children of God. This true hope can’t be compared to all hopes that are temporal and deceptive in this world. Thank and praise God for preserving such a great gift for us. This is the gospel. The gospel of Jesus has a power to save us from our sins. Jesus’ death and resurrection change us to become God’s children.

I thank and praise Jesus for leading me to hear this beautiful gospel. Jesus is my mediator and the Lamb of God. I was born in a family believing Buddah. But I was born again in God through Jesus’ words. When I was young, people considered me as a good boy. But inwardly, I was very much agonized by my sinful desire and life troubles. I suffered from my fatalistic thinking and meaninglessness. Philosophical books, religious activities, video games, pleasure, study, friends and family could not help my inner agony. In order to run away from my trouble, I joined the army where I would receive hard physical and mental training to make me stronger. However, unexpectedly, I was assigned to guard prisoners at a juvenile prison. I saw all different kinds of criminals. To me, their life looked hopeless. I thought that I am better than them. During my time there, God led me to study the bible. Through the words of God, I deeply saw myself as a hopeless sinner. I lived in an invisible prison due to my secret sins. But Jesus words “Neither do I condemn you, go now and leave your life of sin” set me free from my guiltiness of sins. I could accept him as my Saviour. Since then, God has led me thus far to serve the work of this wonderful gospel that changed my life from death to life. When I depended on the power of the resurrection, God led me also experience his victory in my challenges in school study, job and family life. I may continue to live a life to bear God’s grace and honour the name of Jesus.

In conclusion, our sin problem is the most serious matter in us, destroying our life and bringing God’s dreadful judgement. However, Jesus came to us as the Lamb of God and only mediator to save us. Through his death and resurrection, the price for our sins was paid and we can have eternal life. Praise Jesus for his wonderful work of salvation for you and me.

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