John 6 deals a lot with the concept of accepting the idea of Jesus being everlasting life. It is hard for the audience in this context to understand that Jesus is offering them the chance to never ‘thirsty’ or ‘hungry’ again, but this doesn’t refer to physical need, but emotional and spiritual need as well. John 6:27 says, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life” reminds me of a verse we discussed in my men’s minsitry last night, Romans 6:23. It states,”For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The reason that I see these two verses as similar is because of how I interpret the Romans verse. I have heard that verse spoken aloud many times by many people, but no one fully explained it to me. Basically, the explanation I got out of it was, “if you sin, there is death…don’t sin because God gives you eternal life.” Granted, even though that is true, I felt that there was more behind it than simply that.
Here is what I think when I hear the word ‘wages’: I think of working a job and receiving a paycheck. The more hours you work at a specific job, the more money or ‘wages’ you will receive in return for working that job. Well, ‘the wages of sin is death’ works in a similar fashion. If you decided to be a slave and work for sin, the wages or payment you will receive is death (whether that is spiritual or emotional or death in relationships, whatever). The more you work, the more death you receive. However, the less work you do for sin, the less death you receive…we’ll come back to this in a minute.
The other half of that verse says, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” When I think of a gift, I think of a Christmas present from a friend. Despite whatever my friend decided to give to me, there was nothing that I had to do in order to ‘earn’ that present (theoretically). The true meaning of a gift is receiving something from someone else without having to give them something in order to get it (for instance, I wouldn’t have to wash their car in order to receive a ‘free gift’). This means that the gift of everlasting life (aka, not death) is completly free from God. There is no work that I have to endure in order to receive that salvation from Christ.
So this is what I understand, overall, from the Romans verse….why would I ever want to be a slave and work for sin when all I receive is death when I could be set free from the bondage of sin and accept the free gift of everlasting life from God? When we accept Christ, God lifts us out of the bondage from sin, where it no longer has power over us…so why would we ever want to continue to work for it when we don’t have to?
I related this back to the John 6:27 verse, for it states, “do not work for the food that spoils, but for the food that endures eternal life.” It is the same concept. Why would I continue to do something that ends up being completely futile in the end, when I could do something completely different and get exactly what I was looking for? The entire point of John is to show the new Christian about how Christ can change your life, which includes no longer having to life in sin. I would much rather follow Christ and ‘never be hungry again’ over always searching for fulfillment.