Sin Brings the Penalty of Death
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6.23
Sin not only deserves punishment, but it earns a very specific penalty. Even if you grasp the fact that you are a sinner, and that your sins needs to be addressed, you probably do not think of your verdict as death. Why? Because death is a harsh response. It is a result reserved for the scum of society. Death is a final, irreversible, absolute sentence that has eternal implications. You can’t come back from death. You don’t work your way out of death. There is no second chance.
There is something completely unsettling about this. It means that either God is entirely unfair in His reaction to sin (which is impossible because He is just), or that your reaction to sin is incomplete. That you view sin as something less than what it is. That you believe that your sin is not really that bad. It means that your view of sin is different than God’s, since He is the one who attached the penalty to the crime.
If sin, any bit of sin, earns a punishment as severe as death, than sin might be more offensive than you think of it. Sin is enough to earn for you eternity separated from God. And if sin is that bad, than you as a sinner are equally tainted. You are not a good person. You are the worst person you can imagine: rapist, child molester, murderer … whatever it is that you think deserves death; that is you.
This is not to drive you into deep despair, but to help you to recognize the depth of grace. If the free gift is eternal life, imagine what had to be done in order for this gift to be offered. It is a free gift to you, but the debt still had to be paid.