Let’s define the main words in the title of this article: payment, sin, and death.
Payment may be defined as compensation or wages, and it is an indication that some service has been rendered for which one needs to be compensated.
Sin is defined as an offence, a crime, wrongdoing, or transgression deserving some form of punishment.
Death is defined as demise or passing away.
This phrase, the payment for sin is death, is part of a Bible verse. It says in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This verse is conveying the fact that we do get compensated for our wrongdoings, no matter the type or magnitude. Wrongdoing is wrongdoing, and the compensation is death.
When the Bible talks about death as a compensation for sin, it is not talking about physical/natural death; it is referring to spiritual death -- spending eternity in hell, also known as the second death. The first death is characterized by cessation of breathing and cessation of heart beat. Given time, every living thing dies eventually, but not everyone is going to experience hell/second death.
There are people who like to compare their wrongdoings to the wrongdoings of others, and conclude they are not as bad as those people. That reasoning sounds logical. However, sin is sin, and death is death. No matter which sin you commit, your compensation is death, and when another commits another kind of sin, their compensation is death as well.
I thought like this in my early teens. I attended high school with some very promiscuous teenagers; I had no respect for them, and always thought of them as SINNERS. It wasn’t until someone explained to me what I have just explained in this article that my perspective changed.
A lady named Florence, the traveling secretary for the Scripture Union, explained to me that the wages of being promiscuous were the same as the wages for telling a little lie. The light bulb went on in my heart, and I understood. The reason is that the One (God) who said don’t kill is the same One who said don’t lie. If you don’t kill but lie, you’ve still wronged that Someone!
So do you understand you are a sinner, no matter how insignificant you think your sins are? Do you understand there are consequences for your sins, no matter how insignificant? Are you ready to face the consequences? Let me remind you again; the consequences of sin is death/hell. Would you like to face that?
I’d like to think you'd prefer an alternative, and thank God there is one. The verse in Romans 6:23, continues with, “But the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” So instead of death/hell, you can have life/heaven. How do you pass from death to life? God has made provision for that to happen in your life!
In order to pass from death to life, God wants you to admit to Him and to yourself that you are a sinner who deserves death, the due payment for sin. He then wants you to accept life by believing in His only Son Jesus Christ, who died to pay the penalty for your sins. Jesus’ holiness is transferred to you, and when God looks at you, all He sees is Jesus’ righteousness. He has nothing else to hold you accountable for; Jesus paid it all! The chorus to one of my favorite hymns goes like this: Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe, Sin has left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.