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Because of sin all the children of men die. Ву one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” But there is another death spoken of in the holy scriptures as the wages of sin, which is called, the second death, everlasting destruction, everlasting punishment, shame and everlasting contempt, and eternal death. This is the death which is indeed the wages of sin; and will be the portion of all who know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is described to us under the figure of a lake which burneth with fire and brimstone,29 as a place of torment from which there is no release or escape for ever and ever; where the wrath of God abideth on the children of disobedience; where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.30
Did we really believe that such an awful'state hereafter will be the consequence of a life of sin here on earth, surely sin would be as hateful to us as death is alarming. Are there any among us who are living in the practice of sin ? Let such consider the nature of the wages for which they are working. And if they would avoid receiving the wages, let them at once leave off the work. See how hateful sin is in the sight of God; for He hateth all workers of iniquity, and will destroy them ; and turn from it, that it may not bring you to ruin. Turn to Him, who calls sinners to repentance, 31 and implore His grace to pardon the guilt of your past offences, and to deliver
27 Rom. v. 12.
28 2 Thess. i. 8.
29 Rev. xxi. 8.
30 Mark ix. 44. 31 Matt. ix. 13.
from the dominion of sin in future, that you may not receive its wages in eternity.
. Are there any among us living in the love of sin, while through the goodness of God they are restrained from the practice of it, by the circumstances in which they are placed ? See what a viper you are nourishing in your breast, which, while you cherish it, is devouring your vitals. Oh! seek Divine grace to enable you to cast away what is so truly loathsome and so destructive; that being made free from sin, both from the love and the practice of it, you may become servants to God, and be delivered from that dreadful misery which will overwhelm the ungodly and the sinner32 in that dire abode where pardon and repentance are not to be found.
Blessed be God, His holy word points out a way of escape from the wrath to come,33 even for sinners that deserve to endure it. This is spoken of in the text as the gift of God. The means whereby it is bestowed, is said to be through Jesus Christ our Lord. And the gift itself is called eternal life. Let us then turn our attention from the awful subject which we have been considering, to the pleasing one which is here set before us. And while we consider it, well may we say, Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift »34 for the gift of His only begotten Son to be our Redeemer, and for the gift of eternal life by means of His redemption. The persons upon whom this gift of God, the free gift of His grace, as the word denotes, is bestowed, had been formerly, it appears, living in sin, in the transgression of the law of God, yielding their members to uncleanness and to iniquity, the servants of sin, destitute of righteousness before God. But they had, through Divine grace, been made free from sin, their transgression had been forgiven, their sin covered, their iniquity not imputed 35 to them; they had become servants to God, being endued with righteousness, whereby they were admitted into His sacred presence, and enabled to serve Him acceptably with reverence and godly
32 1 Peter iv. 18.
33 1 Thess, i. 10.
The means whereby these blessings, and the gift particularly mentioned, are bestowed, is through Jesus Christ our Lord. Through faith in Him pardon is obtained, because in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace,
wherein He hath abounded toward us.37 Through faith in Him sinners are admitted to the enjoyment of the favour of God, because Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.38 It is thus alone that transgressors of the law of God are made free from sin, and become servants to God, and are brought into a state of holiness, in which they are enabled to yield their members to be servants to righteousness, as His obedient children. All mankind having sinned, and come short of the glory of God, having forfeited heaven and eternal happiness by their iniquity; we must, every one of us, be justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,38 or we cannot be accepted in the Divine presence. The glorious gospel of the blessed God makes known to us that, In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.39 He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up38 to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption, to be the propitiation for our sins,39 to endure that wrath which His holy law denounced against the transgression of it, that by the shedding of His precious blood remission might be granted to them that believe in His name; and that for His righteousness' sake they might be accepted with God, partake of His favour, and enjoy His blessing in time and in eternity. If we see that all the blessings we enjoy flow to us through Jesus Christ our Lord,
34 2 Cor.ix.15. 35 Psalm xxxii.1,2. 36 Heb. xii. 28. 37 Eph.i. 7,8. 38 Rom. x. 4; iii. 23, 24; viii. 32.
we cannot but love Him who daily loadeth us with benefits, the God of our salvation ; to and study to manifest our love to Him in every possible manner by which His glory may be promoted. Let us seek to have the atoning blood of the Lamb of God applied to our consciences by faith, that we may be cleansed from all sin, and the peace of God which passeth all understanding may keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus ; that we may be strengthened with strength in our souls to run with patience the race that is set before us, and to fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal life, whereunto we are called.42 Thus we shall be enabled to go on our way rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and rejoicing also in hope of the glory of God, through faith in His name.
That we may attain to this unspeakable blessedness, is the great object to which the text directs our attention, when it says, The gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Eternal life is the great blessing here set before us; happiness which shall know no end; an exceeding and eternal weight of glory; a crown of glory that fadeth not away; a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge shall give unto all them that love His appearing. In these terms it is described to us in the word of God. Oh! that our desires and expectations were
40 Psalm lxviii. 19. 41 Phil. iv. 7. 42 1 Tim. vi. 12. 43 2 Tim. iv. 8.