“The gift of God is eternal life IN Christ Jesus our Lord.” Accepting Jesus is the same as accepting eternal life. Here’s a Bible. The Word of God is Jesus. I’m going to place a pen inside the Bible. This pen represents eternal life. If I give this Bible to you, will you get the pen, too? Why? The pen is in the Bible. Eternal life is in Jesus. If you receive Jesus, you receive eternal life as well. Do you think I might give you the pen and NOT give you the Bible? No, I will not! Do you think I might give you the Bible and not give you the pen? Nope! I will only give you the Bible with the pen. You have my word on that. And if you take Jesus as your Savior, you will get eternal life with Him. You can’t accept Jesus and not get eternal life. You can’t get eternal life without accepting Jesus. You have His Word on that!
This lesson, taken from Romans 6, teaches a child that, as Christians, we have died with Christ and He lives within us. These are concepts that adults sometimes have trouble grasping; yet children, with their imaginations still intact, can easily understand them. Theology, for limited and fallible humans, is often as much a matter of being able to imagine the truth as it is being capable of understanding it.
Remember that because Adam sinned, we all sin. And the punishment for sin is death, isn’t it? But we also know that Jesus died to take our punishment. He could do that because He was a flesh and blood Man and as a Man could represent us; but He was also God and never sinned, so He didn’t have to die to pay for His own sins. If I die, I die for my own sins and can’t die for anyone else’s. Jesus died for everyone’s sins, everyone who ever lived and anyone who is ever going to live.
Romans chapter 6 explains this even further. It says in verse 3, “We who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death.” Now, it’s important here to understand what the word “baptized” meant to the Jewish people. It means to be immersed in water, but more than that, it means to pass through death into new life. Ever since the nation of Israel passed through the waters of the Red Sea, out of slavery and into a new life of freedom, the idea of passing through water, through death, into a brand new life had been expressed through baptism. This idea can be traced even farther back to the time of the flood, when Noah passed through the flood waters unharmed and into a new life. So when Paul says we were “baptized into Christ”, he means we passed through death with Christ. The next verse says, “We were buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead. . . we too may live a new life.” This is not talking about water baptism. This is saying that we share in Christ’s death. That essentially, we died with Jesus on that cross. And because we share in His death, we also share in His resurrection. This is hard to understand, I know, but it’s important to know these things in order to understand how Christ’s death gives us life. Paul goes on to say: “If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection. . . . Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him.”
Paul goes on to explain that, since we died with Christ, we are dead to sin. What does that mean? Dead people can’t sin, can they? Dead people can’t do anything! If you are tempted to sin, you should remind yourself that dead people can’t sin! If you accept Jesus’ death as your own death, you are also accepting His life as your own life. Can Jesus sin? Of course not! So if you are tempted to sin, you must remind yourself that you are living Jesus’ life now and He can’t sin.
Here’s another way to look at it. Before we become believers, we are slaves to sin. We HAVE to sin, because sin owns us. But when we believe in Jesus, He sets us free from sin. Sin no longer owns us; Jesus does. We no longer HAVE to sin. Unfortunately, sometimes we still choose to, though. Why do you think that is? There are many reasons why we might choose to sin, but there is one really good reason to choose not to sin! You belong to Jesus now! He won’t force you to obey Him, but don’t you want to? He gave His life for you, and He gave His life TO you. Doesn’t He deserve your obedience in return? After all, He knows what is best for you. Sin is never best!
The sixth chapter of Romans ends with a verse that I’m sure is familiar to you all. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Does anyone remember what “wages” are? It’s payment. If you do some extra work for your mom or dad, they might pay you a few bucks in return. That would be your “wage”, or “payment”; you’ve earned that money by what you did. If you sin, you’ve earned death. And everyone has sinned, so everyone has earned death. Does anyone remember what “death” is? It’s separation. When your body dies, it’s separated from your soul and spirit. When your body dies, you are separated from the people here on earth. But that is not true death, because you are not separated from God when your body dies. True death is separation from God. That’s what hell is. Hell is where God is not. In hell, people are not only separated from God, but from everything that God is: love, peace, joy, beauty, goodness. God does not want that to happen to anybody! He wants everyone to live forever with Him. That’s the “gift of God”. Eternal life isn’t a “wage”. It isn’t something you can “earn”. It’s a free gift, and anyone can have it. How do you get this gift from God? cHere, I have a gift I want to give to Johnny. How can Johnny get this gift? He just has to take it, doesn’t he? Do you think Johnny believes I’ll give this gift to him? If he believe I will, he can come and take it from me. See how easy that is? You just believe and accept. That’s the free gift of salvation.