The Onus … It’s On Us
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
I’m sure that for many of us, one of the first verses we were taught to memorize was Romans 6:23. Along with: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
For me, hearing this verse before my salvation and memorizing it after my salvation had a profound impact upon me.
No one really needed to tell me I was a sinner. I don’t even think I knew “sinner” was the Bible term for it but, I instinctively knew I wasn’t a “good boy.” And, thank God, I eventually came to acknowledge that before Him, accepted Christ, and got saved.
So … how did I know I wasn’t a “good boy”?
I believe I’ve related some of this before but I’ll share it again. Don’t know exactly why but, going through Romans again made me think of it.
I’m not sure when we stopped, but my mother always had me pray the “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep” prayer. We’d ask God to bless our whole herd. Even though my parents never went to church, my mom felt it necessary to pray this prayer before bed.
One night after having prayed this prayer my mom tacked on something new — and it shocked me, though I never told her. Perhaps it was after I started in Kindergarten (or even into first grade) that she dropped the bombshell. She had me add on: “And help me be a good boy, Amen.”
She had, in essence, told me what the Bible said: I’m a bad boy; I’m a sinner.
I’m sure she knew the term sinner. I’m pretty sure she knew, as any person living in that era of America would have known, she was a sinner. She was no worse than others and perhaps she was even much better than some. But I knew that she saw something in me at that early stage and didn’t want me to go down a path of sin.
I think we’ve lost that sort of parental insight in the times in which we live. What was clearly understood as a life of sin in my parent’s generation is consider outdated, antiquated — even, mean spirited and judgmental these days.
Today, sin couldn’t be more blatant than it is and yet very few people recognize and label sin as sin anymore. In our national mindset, there no longer seems to exist a moral fiber of what is right or wrong, sinful or Godly, decent or obscene. Simply put …
Nothing is sin any longer. It’s all personal preference. — No Bible, no standards.
Before you go on thinking I’m blasting the lost world only …
Perhaps some of the blame falls on us, God’s people.
Paul tells in Romans 12:1-2 (another set of verses we’ve all memorized) how to mark out our life as different from the world around us so that we’ll be a force to hold back the encroachment of societal sinfulness.
1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
You see, the onus IS on us, God’s people, to persevere in our own lives to model and maintain a Christlike life. We can’t do that if we’re, in appearance and practice, not much different from the lost society around us.
Have we lost our edge? Our light? Our salt? Our uniqueness as the purchased possessions of Christ?
Do we really understand, and comprehend, that there is such a thing as sin and that it carries with it temporal and eternal consequences = “wages”?
What is our mandate? What is our task? What is our calling?
For some reason, my mind went to these verses from 1 John 2. Let me share them and then close this out.
1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
We who are the “little children,” ie, saved folks, John refers to are to be fleshing out the reality of what he states in these verses.
He says that we who are saved from sin will still do battle with our own personal sinful propensities until we see Jesus. What is our source of strength to continue on in this battle? It’s the same for us after salvation as it was before our salvation: “Jesus Christ the righteous.”
We looked to Him for our salvation. We still look to Him to help us live out our salvation.
But it doesn’t stop there.
We have an obligation before God, ourselves and the lost world around us to walk-the-walk if we’re going to talk-the-talk. We are “to walk, even as He walked.”
Jesus walked as He walked because He truly believed that the wages of sin is death. And not just temporal death, but eternal death. He was so in earnest about this that He gave His life in death. He literally died to Himself.
Without sounding sacrilegious: Jesus knew the ONUS was ON HIM. He knew He had to die to save the world.
The answer to the wages of sin problem is ON US. We are to present to the world the standard of righteousness. And that standard is “Jesus Christ the righteous” living His life through us — to such an extent that the world, if even in a small way, sees Christ living in us and out to them.
The Onus … It’s On Us.