I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:19-23 ESV)
You have a choice. If you sin, you will sin more and more. One sin leads to another. When you present yourself to your old habits, you heighten the desire for more sin. And you can’t get enough. Before you know it, you are engaging in sin you thought you would never commit. You look back and wonder how you ended up where you are. If you do the right thing, you will do the right thing more and more. One act of obedience leads to another…and another…and another. As you continually obey, the old habits begin to fade. You are no longer feeding your flesh. Your will sin less and less.
For when you were slaves to sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. In other words, before Christ, when you were enslaved to sin, you had no desire to please God—righteousness had no claim on your life.
But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. (Romans 6:21 ESV) What fruit were you producing before you came to know Christ? What fruit came from your life—that life that you are now ashamed of? The outcome of those things is death. There is pleasure in sin for a while—but sin always leads to death. “What kind of death?” you may ask. For the believer who engages in sin, sin leads to spiritual death. When a believer continually sins, his is a death-like existence. He dies a spiritual death. There is an inner turmoil that drains him emotionally and physically. His life is a living nightmare and he feels trapped between what he knows to be the right thing (that’s the Holy Spirit working on the inside) and the wrong thing he continually does.
There is good news. Look at verse 22. But now. Now—that’s today. That you have been set free from sin (you no longer have to report to the old master) and have become slaves of God (you have a new master), the fruit you get (there are great rewards from this new master), leads to sanctification (living the life that pleases God), and its end, eternal life.
And finally, Paul paints the picture in terms that we are able to understand. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. When the Christ-follower engages in sin, her paycheck is death. When the believer is enslaved to obedience, her paycheck is eternal quality of life. Her life on this earth will have an eternal nature that she thought before was impossible.
This is what I call Heaven on earth.