"The gift of God"

Paul, like his great Teacher, Christ Jesus, was master of the art of imparting his precepts. His skilled use of parable, simile, contrast, and other figures of speech, has remained unexcelled, perhaps, by any other disciple since the founding of Christianity. An example of his skillful use of antithesis is found in the closing verse of the sixth chapter of Romans. Having exhorted the Christian brethren of Rome to live above sin, in peace and harmony, Paul closed with this extraordinary statement: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Significant words! There is but one outcome to sin when persisted in. The indulgence of sin eventuates in the destruction of the sinner! But, note the contrast! The gift bestowed by God, the Father, is life itself, gained through discipleship with Christ Jesus. The facts could scarcely have been more strongly put. Mrs. Eddy has voiced the same thought with equal emphasis. While pointing to God's forgiveness of sin and its destruction, she says in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 497), "But the belief in sin is punished so long as the belief lasts." Were there no way to escape from sin, how hopeless would mortals be! But the all-loving Father has bestowed upon man the gift of eternal Life, and mankind, mortals, are learning how to gain this priceless treasure. How? Through abiding in the spirit and letter of the precepts and example of our Lord and Master, Christ Jesus.

It seems incredible that in view of the directness of this teaching, there should ever have been any doubt in the minds of men as to the way to freedom and eternal life. No statement could be more precise; none could be plainer. Yet, in spite of all the assurance of the Scriptures, mankind have stumbled along in the darkness of material obscurancy, clinging to a sense of existence which the thoughtful students of the Master's life and words have always believed to be false. Why this obduracy? The belief of life materially conceived and materially supported as real has proved the stumblingblock in the way of progress; and, in consequence, men have accepted matter as substance and man as mortal. Moreover, even while accepting Paul's assurance as to the outcome of sinful living, love of sinful pleasure has overtopped the fear of death.

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February 13, 1926

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