July 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:20-23:all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
It is considered an honorable thing for a man or woman to demand an honest wage, but is that what satisfies the heart and soul? We demand our ‘just deserts’ but do we really want our ‘just deserts? There are different categories of wages. One category would be that wage mutually agreed upon and paid to a laborer for his services. That would be considered a fair wage. There is a splendid example of this wage given by our Lord Jesus Christ: “For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. 2And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. 5Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? 7They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. 8So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. 9And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. 10But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. 11And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, 12Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. 13But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? 14Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. 15Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?” (Matthew 20:1-14)
This wage was not subject to union bargaining, but was subject to the individual agreements made to the laborers. Envy caused many to complain because those who came last to the vineyard were paid an identical wage as those who had worked all day; still, the principle held that all received at least that for which they had bargained. We all want a fair shake when it comes to wages.
But there is a second wage that we may hope to avoid, and we certainly can do so by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. That wage is the well-deserved DEATH of every sinner – and we all are sinners.
The wage of Adam in the Garden was to enjoy the daily Communion with the Lord in keeping the Garden in Paradise, but Adam preferred another wage of which he had been warned beforehand by the Lord – that wage was one of death based on his willful disobedience of God. God will brook no sin in His Presence, and without the Presence of God in our lives, there remains only death – for He is LIFE! The moment Adam partook of the forbidden fruit in defiance of God’s Commandment, he died spiritually. Not only did he become a spiritually dead man walking, but his bodily flesh began to slowly die and age. Adam received his bargained-for wage of Death. Having the sin-tainted blood of Adam coursing through our veins, we, too, have inherited that sin-nature of Adam – all of us! God prepared a way to be forgiven and restored by way of the sacrifice of His only Begotten Son – a decision made in the Councils of Heaven in the eternity past long before the worlds were made.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Through the redemption made available by the grace and mercy of God, we may once again have daily Communion with the Lord and walk with Him in every venue of our lives. Though our bodies perish and return to the dust of the earth, our spirits are enabled, through Christ, to flourish in an eternity of joyful bliss with Him.
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:20-23)