“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren” (James 1:14-16).
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned - (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law)” (Romans 5:12,13).
We humans categorise misdemeanours, and tailor the penalties accordingly. However, God does not grade the transgression of His laws, consequently the penalty for contravening any of God's laws is the same, death.
In Genesis chapter 2 is a record of the first “law” God ever set down, when He told Adam not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, together with the penalty for disobedience.
“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die’” (Genesis 2:16,17).
What happened next is in Genesis chapter 3.
“Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: ‘Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life . . . In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return’” (Genesis 3:17-19).
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
“For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).
Wages are earned. The truth the Bible tells us is that we all earn death because we sin. The stark message is that we deserve to die because we fail to keep God's laws. Thankfully, we learn from the Bible of a hope! God has made provision for our sins to be forgiven by belief, baptism and faith in Jesus Christ.
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(Quotations are from the New King James version of the Bible)