For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith." For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
God is absolutely and infinitely holy. This word highlights not only that He is sinless, but also that He is separate, meaning in a category by Himself. All that He thinks, says, and does is free from any imperfection or sin.
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"
The Bible uses incredibly strong language to describe our state apart from faith in Jesus Christ. We are slaves to sin. We are enemies of God. We are spiritually sick...but more than that, we are spiritually dead. Sin includes all that we think, say, and do that is inconsistent with the character of God. However, it goes so much deeper than that. Scripture teaches that everything that is not from faith is sin. That means that our very existence--before faith in Jesus Christ--is sin. This is a reality for every single person on the planet.
"For the wages of sin is death..."
The nature of sin is that it separates. It separates people from one another, and more importantly it separates us from our holy God. We find ourselves enemies in need of reconciliation, slaves in need of rescue, and dead in need of life. The Bible says that the paycheck we deserve because of our sin is death. Not just ceasing to breathe one day, but we're talking separation from God both now and eternally. If we die and our debt of sin (which is perhaps best understood as high crimes against our holy God)...if that debt isn't paid, we will spend eternity apart from God and under His wrath. If this doesn't sound desirable, there are only two options.
Payment for sin
"but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life."
One option is to try to pay my sin-debt myself. The problem is that I can never be good enough to meet God's standard. I've already blown it. So if I choose this option, I'll spend forever trying to doing it myself and the debt will never be paid. Therefore the only true solution is submission. I must in all genuine humility acknowledge that I am a sinner in desperate need of a Savior. God's holiness is expressed by His pouring out His wrath against sin in justice. However, His holiness is also expressed by His sending His Son to earth to live and die for sinners. In the cross we see the perfect picture of holy justice and holy love. Jesus lived a perfectly obedient life and willingly laid down his life--not for sin that He had committed for even though He was tempted in every way, still He was without sin. He laid down His life on the cross, taking on Himself the weight of the sin of the elect, and bore the very wrath of the Father for that sin.
Expression of faith
"...if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, 'Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.' For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For 'everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'"
Some will reject these facts as fantasy. Many will acknowledge them to an extent, but stop short of admitting that Jesus is the only way to the Father. Others will see Jesus and not just believe in Him as an historical figure, but they will place their faith in Him that He died...on the cross...in their place...for their sins. This is saving faith. When we realize that our only hope of right standing with our holy God is by humbly trusting in the sacrifice of His Son on our behalf...we...are...saved.
"But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Jesus said that He had come to give life to the full. He said that whoever believed in Him would not perish, but would have everlasting life. Some mistake this life for heaven. Don't confuse the two. Heaven is not eternal life; it is just where we spend most of it. Jesus defined eternal life as knowing the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He sent. Knowing Him--this relationship of faith, love, and obedience--this is the Life! That is why placing our faith in Jesus is only the beginning of a life that is all about making much of God and also a life where you are maturing as a disciple of Jesus and making other disciples of Jesus in turn.
If you would like to talk to one of our Elders about embracing this gospel message and following Jesus Christ, please email Kyle Cheatham.