Today's Reading: Romans 6:19-23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Nothing better summarizes the situation of life, the universe and everything than these words from Romans. The wages of sin is death. Wages are something you earn. When you work, you get paid. When you sin, you get paid with death. That was the deal in the Garden of Eden and so the curse of death is inflicted on all of us since then. You sin. You die. Simple.
But the Lord has a gift. Eternal life. Eternal life is the antidote for death. Death means life stops. Eternal life means your life will continue forever, even after you die because Jesus will raise you from the dead.
And note that this eternal life stuff is a gift. You don't earn a gift. It's given whether you deserve it or not. Such is eternal life. It is given to you by God. You don't earn it. You don't deserve it. You can't buy it or do something to achieve it. You can't unlock it with a cheat code. No, it is a gift from God, who gives it to you freely because He wants to.
Wages and sin are about us. Our sins are paid with death. But the gift of eternal life is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Again, nothing of you, all of God. And the interesting thing is that He gives us the gift of eternal life by taking our wages and cashing our paycheck and dying. He gets the wages of our sin, death. He dies for sinners and thereby gives eternal life. Jesus is the One who does it--who gives the gift.
Of course, gifts should be wrapped up so they look like gifts. So this eternal life gift is given with the trimmings of water at the font, the Word preached and heard, and in bread and wine with the Body and Blood. In those holy gifts, Jesus is delivering that eternal life gift that He won and earned for us and gives to us with no strings attached.
So there you go, the answer to life, the universe and everything isn't "42." It's Jesus and the eternal life He gives as a gift! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Praise be to Him who, Lord Most High, The fullness of the Godhead shares; And yet our human nature bears, Who came as man to bleed and die. And from His cross there flows our peace Who chose for us the path He trod, That so might sins and sorrows cease And all be reconciled to God. (Praise Be to Christ, LSB 538:3)