by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 6 Paragraph # 3 Study # 5 September 25, 2016 Humble, Texas
23 For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1901 ASV Translation:
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I. The Issue of "Wages".
A. The word is used specifically of the "wages" that soldiers earn for being soldiers.
1. Luke 3:14 -- here the "wages" may be more than "money"; it may well include the food and weapons and garb provided by the government.
2. 1 Corinthians 9:7 -- Paul deliberately appeals to the provisions made for soldiers so that they may go to war without having to provision themselves. The context is specifically about the "freedom" a soldier has to not be burdened by the requirement to provide for himself because he is too involved in his primary task to be splintered by the need for food and raiment.
3. 2 Corinthians 11:8 -- here the idea is to have others provide the necessities of life so that Paul could go about his ministry efforts without having to foot the bill himself (though he often did just that to protect the reputation of the Gospel). This removes the idea of the word from our idea of "wages": it is the "provisions made for living" that is key to the word.
4. In Romans 4:4 a different word is used to describe what comes to one who "works". It is translated "reward" in the Authorized Version because "rewards" can, apparently, be the outcome of either "debt" or "grace".
B. In our context.
1. At issue is the "use" of the members of the body by the inner spirit to pursue its own goal(s). To be splintered off into other pursuits when that inner spirit wants one primary "freedom" is to weaken the potency of the pursuit of that "freedom". Thus, "The Sin" provides the necessary provisions so that the body has no other necessities laid upon it, and "The Righteousness" has a different method of provision also for the "committed body parts".
a. The Sin is really only interested in one goal: to supplant "God" in one's own life.
b. But the soul and body of those trapped within this "spirit" issue have requirements in order for "life" to progress and the members of the body are pressed into service to see to these needs.
c. The problem is that the actions taken by those members lead only to death and not the healthy sustenance of the person.
2. The "provisions" of The Sin are deliberately categorized differently than those of The Righteousness. Those of "The Sin" are the actions of the members of the body that have been yielded to it and they are called "provisions of life"; but, those of "The Righteousness" are not specifically identified except under the category of a "grace-gift" called "Eternal Life".
3. In this context, the idea of "fruit" is the key to understanding the "wages"; "fruit" is the outcome of deeds done (see verse 21) and death is the outcome of this "fruit".
C. The concept of "wages" is restricted to The Sin.
1. These "wages" ultimately produce one "provision": Death. In other words, "provisions" that are understood to be "for life" are not.
2. This is the great swindle: Death for the obedient.
II. The Issue of the "Grace Gift".
A. The specifics of the definition of a "grace gift" are revealed in Romans 5:15 where the "grace gift" is clarified to be a combination of "the grace of God" and "the free gift by [that] grace". Romans 12:6 reestablishes this by repetition while omitting "the free gift" and simply ascribing the "grace gift" to "grace...given to us".
B. No matter how one "spins" it, the entire outcome of the "faith" process of "hearing/yielding/ presenting/actions taken" is rooted in "grace" [Note well Paul's declarations in 1 Corinthians 3:10 and 15:10].
C. All of this "grace" is declared to be either "in" or "by" "Christ Jesus the Lord of us". The issues involved are well known, especially the fact that Christ Jesus is "Lord" over us as One Who neither needs, nor accepts, our "permissions" in respect to the distribution of the "grace gift(s)". A "Lord" is the authority over whatever/whoever is identified in the text/context without manipulation by others who might seek to interfere.