Today’s Scripture: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. RomansĀ 6:23

Three criminals stood before the judge. They had been apprehended during a jewelry robbery. As the evidence was presented, the stolen jewelry was laid before the thieves. The first had grabbed as much as he could stuff into his bag, the second took a handful of items, and the third had taken a single necklace. As they were convicted, the third thief complained that his crime wasn’t as bad as the others. Then the second thief argued that he was still better than the first. The judge responded by saying that they had all committed the robbery so they all deserved the punishment. It wouldn’t be right to convict only the first thief and allow the others to go free. They had broken the law so they had to suffer the consequences.

Just as the judge had to convict all of the thieves, God cannot allow any sin to go unpunished. His justice requires that every sin be dealt with. It doesn’t matter whether or not our sin is as bad as our neighbors. We are all guilty, and the punishment is death. No matter how insignificant it may seem, no sin can enter Heaven because Heaven is perfect.

God’s holiness requires that sin must be punished, and God’s justice requires that no sin be ignored. Thankfully, God doesn’t stop after saying, “the wages of sin is death.” God’s mercy, love, and grace offered a way to pay for our sins. Through no merit of our own, we can have eternal life though Jesus Christ.

Death is required to pay for sin. God sent His Son to die in our place on the cross. His love for us was shown “in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (RomansĀ 5:8). Through His death, the payment for sin has been made. If we accept it, we can have eternal life.

It doesn’t matter how bad we have been, Christ paid it all. Our ability to enter Heaven is not based upon whether or not we are better than another person because we have all fallen short of God’s perfection. We are all guilty, but the penalty has been paid on the cross. Let’s share the good news with someone today.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder