Understanding Sin’s “Wage”

“For the wages of sin….”
(Rom. 6:23, NIV)

Romans 6:23 is another verse commonly used in church evangelism. But to really grasp its full objectivity, we need to expand this scripture to its logical conclusion, adding the words that are not evident but assumed. From an employee/employer context, this passage isn’t simply referring to the “wages of sin,” but the wages of the vocation of sin. Using the analogy of business, we now can get strategic. There are at least 23 million people in the United States currently looking for employment. And while a particular vocation or a specific corporation is itself important when considering one’s next career path, the potential salary is often more determining.Imagine a future employer telling you that the position you had always dreamed of was now yours – but that the salary provided would not support your current car payment(s), house mortgage/rent, or food bills, expenses critical to the survival of yourself and your family. Would you be willing to take the position? Naturally, you would take into account the salary and compensation package before making any vocational decision, would you not? For many, the job requirements and opportunities are far less important than that all-too-necessary wage.

Yet when it comes to the vocation of sin, most of us do the exact opposite.There are many that choose to reject God and his laws because He… doesn’t let humanity have any fun. God is a squelcher of pleasure and those that reject him are blissfully unfettered, able to engage in their own self-oriented pleasures, free from religion’s condemnation and guilt. It is the Bible that calls many of man’s supposed pleasures sins, so by rejecting God one can also reject His definition.So using the verse at the beginning of this chapter, let’s create a hypothetical business for a second. I will refer to this business entity as “Sin Unlimited.” Now for those having rejected God’s definition of the word, this would be nothing more than a company of unrestrictive pleasure. Sounds like a pretty good deal. But that’s just the work requirement; it’s not the salary or compensation package. What lucrative compensation carrot is dangled in front of the potential employee of Sin Unlimited to get them to jump at the position?

“For the wages (or compensation) of (the vocation of) sin is death.

Wow.

So the salary affixed to the position at Sin Unlimited is your ultimate destruction. It is simply the compensation package bestowed upon the employed. The job requirement is engagement in sin. But “pleasure” is not the salary benefit of the position – death is. Here lies the inevitable, because in any vocation, the salary comes attached to the position. The employer is obligated to deliver the compensation to his or her employee; it is mandatory, regardless of whether the employee was aware of the compensation package. So then employment at Sin Unlimited must appear to be a highly desirable and sought-after position, so that the next logical question is never asked: “OK, I like the position, but what is the compensation package?” This is where the fantasy world of marketing and media is channeled. Media portrays a world in which the vocation of sinful pleasure is up-played, but the salary is rarely mentioned or even considered (unless it equates to a plot point in the story). The secular agenda, in its deliberate attempt to remove the dogmatism of supposedly pleasure-shackling mandates of the God of the Bible, attempts to glorify sin’s “pleasure.” But this only further binds mankind, for the salary package is commensurate with the job description. While secular media becomes the recruiter for additional employees at Sin Unlimited, it is not its ultimate board of directors. They also are subjected to the compensation package of the vocation.

Marketing and media work effectively well as recruiters because their fictitious world portrayals repeatedly show the individual so blissfully engaging in the vocation that the salary question is never asked – until its too late. Fictitious media and advertising inadvertently recruit for new employees, and the news agencies broadcast the tragic results of those who have garnered the salaries.

If we want hell, then hell is what we’ll have.
(Jack Johnson, “Cookie Jar”)

Perhaps the best example of the false glorification of the position, while also forced to experience the compensation package, would be the pornographic industry. Although in their films, their “characters” engage in free and repeated promiscuous sex without consequence, the actors and actresses off-stage suffer the cataclysmic repercussions of the reality of their actions. Many stars in the porn industry barely revel in their glory, for though in their films unprotected sex is far more enticing to the audience and lucrative to the studios, the consequences are the death of many through AIDS and other biological diseases and psychological complications.

Despite the aggressive work ethic of those employed at Sin Unlimited, there is no advancement, for the salary works against the employee. Better yet, the salary is specifically designed to eradicate the one receiving it. The corporation is always suffering employee loss. So for the corporation to continue, new employees must replace those that have built up enough “savings” of death that death eventually overtakes them.  It is an endless cycle – as long as no one asks the salary question.

God revealed in scripture what we now see in the lives of those around us, what is plastered in our newspaper headlines and what takes up a growing portion of our news segments. Primetime and cable television glamorize the job position at Sin Unlimited. News networks and statisticians document the wage. The world is full of people suffering under the crushing weight of a salary they never bargained for. Instead of blaming them for their employ, we need to bandage their wounds. And we must broadcast from the rooftops the reality of Sin Unlimited’s compensation package.

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