We recently had our Vacation Bible School and I had the great honor of being able to teach one of the teen classes and participate in the “closing ceremony”. The lesson for the final day was based on the parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35). The lesson plan called for first referencing Romans 6:23 which highlights the fact that the wages of sin is death and then Romans 3:23 that says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. These two verses carry so much weight, but maybe it is the frequency of how often we read or hear these verses that we tend to forget what impact this has on us as sinners. This is the reason we all have a sin problem. This is the reason that we all carry a death sentence with us for the sins we have committed. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin; and so death upon all men, for that all have sinned”, Romans 5:12. You see, these verses carry two references with them, physical death and spiritual death. Romans 5:12 gives us the reason why death came into the world by the actions of Adam in the garden of Eden. Prior to the sin of Adam, man had access to the tree of life and the guarantee of an immortal life. So, from Adam on, all men will experience physical death unless you are alive at the return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is the reason good people die an untimely death and that a child can be called home before they even had the opportunity to sin. Physical death was brought into the world by Adam and the tree of life was taken from us. It is inevitable and there is no escape from it. Spiritual death will also come to all who have sinned. This is the death that we all should be truly scared of. Physical death is the end of a temporary life, but spiritual death is an eternity of being separated from the Creator. Physical versus spiritual is temporal versus eternal. There is nothing we can do to save our physical life because the price for Adam’s sin must be paid by all. The wages of sin is death. So what hope do we have to save our spiritual life? Anyone who has sinned must pay the price for that sin and that price is death. The wages of sin is death. It is important to point out here that these verses do not distinguish between minor sins and major sins. There is no difference in the eyes of God. It is easy to say if you murdered someone you should receive a spiritual death penalty. But what about something minor like a small white lie or not taking an opportunity given to reach out to someone struggling with a spiritual hurdle? The wages of sin is death. The example I used in the teen class is knowingly speeding while driving. I know the speed limit and I chose to exceed it. The Bible teaches us to follow the law of the land, Romans 13:1-7. Therefore I have sinned. Now let us look at the solution that God gave us for sins. He sent His only Son to die for our sins. The wages of sin is death. I chose to break the law and have therefore sinned, and that sin carries the sentence of death. As a Christian, when I ask for forgiveness I am asking Christ to pay that price for me. Now, when we tie this back to the unforgiving servant, we put into context of what the magnitude of God’s forgiveness really is. I chose to speed and break the law. I asked Christ to die for that sin because even that sin carries with it the penalty of death. I asked the teen class “would you be able to forgive me if I knew that when I decided to drive 1 mile over the speed limit that your mom would have to die in an electric chair to pay for my sin?” This is what we are asking God to do, forgive us when we carelessly choose to sin and ask Him to let His Son die for our sin. This is the bargaining we do every time we sin, and let us not forget that sin is a choice. Now we see how much God loves us. God would let His Son come and suffer His own physical life and die the shameful death upon a cross. Christ will say yes, I will die for your sin so that you may have eternal spiritual life. God will say I forgive you for what you have asked Me to do because of a choice you made. Then I asked the teen class, “Let’s say you had forgiven me for speeding that resulted in your mom having to die in an electric chair and now I choose to speed again and now your dad has to die in an electric chair, would you be able to forgive me again?” Peter asked Christ “how many times should I forgive my brother, seven times?” Christ answered seven times seventy which is saying in essence as many times as he asks, Matthew 18:21-22. This is how faithful God is to us when we repeatedly sin and ask that Christ pay that wage for us. 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us from all unrighteousness.” How great of a love is that? We see now that all sin comes with a penalty, and that penalty is death. Every sin committed will be paid for with a death. Now we have to ask who will pay that penalty. It will be us spending eternity separated from our God who created us, loves us, and gave us a way to prevent this spiritual death. How sad will it be to pay that price and know that Christ already paid it for us? Or, we can accept the payment Christ made for us on the cross by becoming a Christian. Romans 6:23 says “for the wages of sin is death” yet ends with “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” How great of a gift is that?