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THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1854 paragraph 374 364 Lecture X. The Wages of Sin ...

We cannot but affirm that no government lays sufficient stress on the protection of human life unless it guards this trust with its highest penalties. Where life and all its vital interests are at stake, there the penalty should be great and solemn as is possible.


6. Moral agents have two sides to their sensibility; hope and fear;--to which you may address the prospect of good and the dread of evil. I am now speaking of penalty. This is addressed only to fear.
 
7. I have said in substance that penalty should adequately assert and vindicate the rightful authority of the lawgiver; should afford if possible an adequate rebuke of sin and should be based on a just appreciation of its nature. God's moral government embraces the whole intelligent universe, and stretches with its vast results onward through eternity. Hence the sweep and breadth of its interests are absolutely unlimited, and consequently the penalties of its law, being set to vindicate the authority of this government and to sustain these immeasurable interests, should be beyond measure dreadful. If anything beyond and more dreadful than the threatened penalty could be conceived, all minds would say-- "This is not enough." With any just views of the relations and the guilt of sin, they could not be satisfied unless the penalty is the greatest that is conceivable. Sin is so vile, so mischievous, so terribly destructive and so far-sweeping in its ruin, moral agents could not feel that enough is done so long as more can be.

III. What is the penalty of God's moral law?


1. Our text answers, "death." This certainly is not animal death, for saints die and animals also, neither of whom can be receiving the wages of sin. Besides, this would be no penalty if, after its infliction, men went at once to heaven. Such a penalty, considered as the wages of sin, would only be an insult to God's government.
 
2. Again, it cannot be spiritual death, for this is nothing else than a state of entire disobedience to the law. You cannot well conceive anything more absurd than to punish a man for disobedience by subjecting him to perpetual disobedience--an effort to sustain the law by dooming such offenders to its perpetual violation--and nothing more.
 
3. But this death is endless misery, corresponding to the death-penalty in human governments. Every body knows what this is. It separates the criminal from society forever; debars him at once and utterly from all the privileges of the government, and consigns him over to hopeless ruin. Nothing more dreadful can be inflicted. It is the extreme penalty, fearful beyond any other that is possible for man to inflict.
 
4. There can be no doubt that death as spoken of in our text is intended to correspond to the death-penalty in human governments.
 
5. You will also observe that in our text the "gift of God" which is "eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord," is directly contrasted with death, the wages of sin. This fact may throw light on the question respecting the nature of this death. We must look for the antithesis of "eternal life."

Now this eternal life is not merely an eternal existence. Eternal life never means merely an eternal existence, in any case where it is used in scripture; but it does mean a state of eternal blessedness, implying eternal holiness as its foundation. The use of the term "life" in scripture in the sense of real life--a life worth living--i.e. real and rich enjoyment, is so common as to supersede the necessity of special proof.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 3 - The Wages of Sin paragraph 1

III. THE WAGES OF SIN.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 3 - The Wages of Sin paragraph 36

Our text answers, "death." This certainly is not animal death, for saints die and animals also, neither of whom can be receiving the wages of sin. Besides, this would be no penalty if, after its infliction, men went at once to heaven. Such a penalty, considered as the wages of sin, would only be an insult to God's government.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 3 - The Wages of Sin paragraph 40

You will also observe that in our text the "gift of God" which is "eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord," is directly contrasted with death, the wages of sin. This fact may throw light on the question respecting the nature of this death. We must look for the antithesis of "eternal life."