The Wages Of Sin


Jeff Paton

Part 4




There is a hell to shun, and a heaven to gain

The Wages of Sin is DEATH!

(Stop before payday!)  

Much of the problem in the Church and society today is that we do not take the terrible effects of sin seriously. Shallow theological thinking concerning sin has led us to a powerless and licentious Church. Unless we come to grasp the exceedingly sinfulness of sin, few of us will rise above mediocrity in our Christian lives.

The issue is important, in fact it is vital! If we are wrong about the effects that sin has upon us in our relationship to God, we could be fooling ourselves about our relationship to God. We cannot assume that we have a relationship with God based upon our feelings and experiences; it must be based upon the fruit of Christ working in and through us. It is not whether we "feel" saved, but upon what God’s verdict is upon us! Can one be "saved" and refuse to forsake sin? Is a salvation based upon our feelings of salvation reliable apart from the sin issue? This we will look and see.

Some, if not most preachers today, speak of sin as something that is not all that horrible. “God has taken care of it, so we do not have to worry about it.” Such preaching and teaching as this has grave repercussions. If we deaden our hearers to the seriousness of sin, and convince them through mental trickery that they are safe in the arms of Jesus while they willfully continue in rebellion towards God, we lie, and the truth is not in us!  John Fletcher stated 250 years ago, "How few of our celebrated pulpits are there, where more has not been said at times for sin than against it?" Not very much has changed since then. In fact, it has been exacerbated!  The attitude that "sin is not all that horrible," states a belief that we are not in any peril from continuing in sin.

We can assume all day long that God will forgive us even though we may choose to sin. I believe that many people look at the promises of God’s forgiveness while they avoid or ignore the equally factual statements of Scripture concerning God’s horrible retribution upon those that continue in sin! My friend, it is not what we assume to be the case, but what God says is the case.

It is absolutely true that God stands ready to forgive. When He does forgive, He casts our sin as far as the east is from the west. That is a glorious promise! The difficulty with the promise is that many people ignore the warnings associated with it also. While it is true that our sins are cast as far as the east is from the west, it is equally true that this does not include future sins, or the conditions of forgiveness for future sins, nor does it minimize or remove the truth that sin always has, and always will separate.


The Wages Of Sin

Even with inflation, the wages of sin is still death!

I don’t know how much plainer God can make it! The wages of sin is death! Wages are what we earn. In life, we work for wages on a job, which gives us money. In the spiritual realm, God says that we earn spiritual wages. “His servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.” (Rom. 6:16). “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God,…” (1 Jn. 3:10). “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Rom. 8:6). “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not after the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Rom. 8: 12-13). “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezek. 18:4). “But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live?  All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned” in his sin that he hath sinned, in them he shall die.” (Ezek. 18:24) Shame on the person who would discard God’s words on the issue by shoving it all off as something from the past that does not apply to Christians today! It is confirmed in the New Testament as well as the Old. “But every man is tempted, when he drawn is away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err brethren.” (James 1:15).



The retort is: “But,” “Doesn’t Romans 6:23 say, “But the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”?

Now, truthfully, where is this license to sin with impunity? I do not believe it is there, or anywhere in all of Scripture! The context follows Paul’s other statements to the facts. “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.”  You say, “But” the free gift…” God says, “The wages of sin is death.” The wages never change! In the context, Paul states that the one who has that “free gift” is free from sin. (6:18). Not free to sin as some teach! It is clear from all of Scripture that the one saved does not continue in sin. “But now, being made free from sin, and become servants of God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” (Rom. 6:22). “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14).

The first example of the law of sin and death is to be found in Genesis 2:17. “But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Satan claimed otherwise, just as he still does today! “And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die.” (3:4). This is God’s standard. Sin always separates! There is not one example in all of Scripture where this example has been amended to allow believers to be exempt from the law of sin and death!

“Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?” (Prov. 6:27-28) “Can a person dabble with sin and not suffer consequences? If the “wages of sin is death,” and “the soul that sinneth, it shall die,” is true, has not one reached the climax of foolhardiness that attempts to trifle with such a monster”[i] God said the consequence is death. Who are we to argue with God Almighty?  “We cannot attach too much importance to the question of sin and how to deal with it. It is the element in life that settles our eternal destiny for happiness or misery, life or death, heaven or hell. And though many treat it with levity and indifference, yet is is destined to be the deciding factor in their lives, for good or bad, weal or woe, joy or sorrow both here and hereafter.” [ii] “”Oh but you say, I do not believe them. Exactly. And upon what do you base your unbelief, that you are willing to risk the destruction of your immortal soul? Upon what ground do you fly into the plain statements of God’s Word, and wrest the scriptures to your own destruction? As surely as righteousness is rewarded in heaven, just so surely is sin punished in hell.” [iii] “Sin is no small thing. It is the worst thing on earth. It has caused all the trouble, sorrow, suffering, sickness, death, destruction, either directly or indirectly, since the fall of man… One might as well think of trifling with zig-zag lightning as sin, with the thought of impunity. It always kills.”[iv] Can we not see the horrors of such a thing as sin? “Look into the suffering hearts of guilty millions, and see the storms that are raging there… listen to the wail of distress, as it comes up from the couch of suffering, and of death—to the sobs and groans and shrieks of agony, from the hearts, riven by untold calamities, or dark with corruptions, unseen but by the eye of God… look upon “the whole creation, groaning and travailing in pain together until now,” and then say if you have a plea to offer for sin,- if for anything it has ever done, you can offer for it a vindication or excuse,-if there be any form or degree of it, that you wish to hide in your heart.” [v]

Just as any good and righteous work earns a reward, every sin earns a certain wage- Death. Sin is deadly! To treat it so lightly as many do is unconscionable!

Imagine, if it cost God His Son a terrible death on a cruel Cross to reconcile us because the separation that sin brings, how can we think that sin is of such a small consequence? My friend, sin will kill you! It will make your life miserable, it will drag you to the horrors of an eternal hell! God is watching! He sees everything of every moment of every day. No thought or act will escape Him! You will stand before him in all of His Holiness. No excuses! For He knows your true thoughts and intent, “Your sin will find you out.”! (Num. 32:23). You cannot run. You cannot hide. You will one day stand before Almighty God! Repent now! Turn from your sin and live! (Ezek. 18:32).

If you still believe that God is going to accept you with some fictional non-existent holiness that has not saved you from the power of sin, listen to a few final words on the subject. 

“If there are no consequences of sin then many of the statements of Jesus Christ are meaningless. It was Jesus who said, “Fear not them that can kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul, but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28). “These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal” (Matt. 25:46). “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” (Heb. 2:3.) [vi]

Many people fog their minds with drugs and alcohol do they can numb their minds from thinking about eternity. But many people do the same thing in Churches throughout the world. They consume doctrines that would put their hearts at ease with sin, instead of heeding the warning and exhortations of Scripture to part with sin. It is our glorious privilege to do so. It is glorious freedom indeed that God calls us to. Many will feel uncomfortable with what the Scriptures are saying. I agree with W.E. Shepard when he said, “I have no delight in preaching hell… but that necessity is laid upon me. ‘Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel,’ the half of which is ‘He that believeth not shall be damned.’ I dare not, on peril of my own soul, preach a one-sided Gospel, lest I should be found smoothing your road to perdition.”  

Many appeal to some imaginary transaction in heaven where it is supposed that God does not any longer see their sins. Any appeal to this fictional imputed righteousness in order to make allowance for continued sinning, cannot be justified from Scripture or reason. The false doctrine of imputation implies a holiness that we do not actually have. It makes the sins of believers to be somehow different than the sins of unbelievers, which would be inconsistent with the nature of God, and in opposition to the witness of Scripture. The wages of sin is death, whether you claim to be a Christian or not! Sin is sin, and the wages of sin is death. The atonement did not change the nature of sin so it longer damns, it changes the nature of the believer so they do not sin! “Choice of evil, or sin in act, always produces the combination of the three facts, and such combination always brings forth death. Therefore, to change the nature of sin sufficiently to prevent spiritual death, in fact, to change the nature of sin at all, is something that a holy and just God could not do. The only alternative, as a means of getting rid of death as the effect of sin, is to remove, altogether, that form of sin (sins, plural) which affects death. We conclude then that any conception of sin with implies that the genius of the atonement consists in changing the nature of sin, is absurd.”[vii] 

[i] Sin, The Tell-Tail, page 16, W.E. Shepard, God’s Revivalist Press, Ringold, Young + Channing sts., Cincinnati, OH., No date.

[ii] Must We Sin? , page 155, Howard W. Sweeten, Nazarene Publishing House, Kansas City, MO. 1919

[iii] IBID, page 163.

[iv] Sin, The Tell-Tail, page 16, W.E. Shepard, God’s Revivalist Press, Ringold, Young + Channing sts., Cincinnati, OH., No date.

[v] The Central Idea Of Christianity, pages 143-144, Jesse T. Peck, Foster and Palmer, Jr., 14 Bible House, New York. 1866

[vi] Must We Sin? , page 174, Howard W. Sweeten, Nazarene Publishing House, Kansas City, MO. 1919

[vii] A Right Conception Of Sin, pages 26-26, Richard S. Taylor, Beacon Hill Press, Kansas City, MO. 1945


 A Theology Of Sin

The Holiness of God

What is Sin?

The Wages of Sin

The Depravity of Man

The Grace of God

Sin and the Atonement

Must we Sin?

Chastisement and the Christian




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