Third Sunday after Trinity – Sunday
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord. – Romans 6:23.
The real and completely just punishment with which God threatens those who hate Him and transgress His commandments is death. “The wages of sin is death.” “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” God said to Adam in Paradise, when He forbade him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17).
What is death? Let us add another Word of God to show us what death in the fullest sense includes: “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this Law to do them” (Deuteronomy 27:26; see also Galatians 3:10). The curse of the Law, eternal damnation, goes together with death. So the wages of sin includes God’s wrath and disfavor, temporal death, and eternal damnation. The curse of God is upon the transgressors of His commandments; through temporal death they enter eternal death, everlasting condemnation in the fires of hell. It is a terrible thing to hate and oppose God, He who is Holiness and Righteousness itself, and to transgress His commandments. No creature can do that and go unpunished. – But there is a great and gracious deliverance. “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.”
In Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, there is grace for us sinners, tremendous blessings, even eternal life. In Jesus Christ, the love of God embraces us in time and eternity, and abolishes death. But this is a gift, a free gift of God; we cannot merit eternal life by our works, as we have merited death. God gives us everlasting life in heaven, freely and without price, by His grace in Christ Jesus alone. He offers us this gift through His Word of the Gospel. And we, we Christians, who, by the gracious working of the Holy Ghost, working through the Gospel, believe in Jesus Christ and accept this gift of God, have eternal life.
PRAYER – Holy and righteous God, merciful Father; by my sin and transgression of Thy commandments, I have deserved death. Thou sayest it, O truthful God, and I know it. But, O God, Thou hast also said that Thou givest me eternal life through Jesus Christ, my Lord. And it is grace alone that moved Thee to draw me to my Savior, and thus to make me an heir of eternal life. Now, graciously continue this work in me, O God of mercy, and help me to abide with my Savior in true faith and so to obtain life everlasting. Amen.
With broken heart and contrite sigh, a trembling sinner, Lord, I cry;
Thy pard’ning grace is rich and free; O God, be merciful to me!
I smite upon my troubled breast, with deep and conscious guilt opprest;
Christ and His Cross my only plea; O God, be merciful to me!
(Hymn 323, st. 1-2; TLH)