For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 [NKJV]
In the first part of the text we have three terms: wages, sin, death. In the second part we have three terms: a gift, God, eternal life. They stand over against each other in each case. Wages—a gift; sin—God; death—eternal life.
What are wages? Wages are earnings. A man has a right to wages. Wages are the equivalent to work.… What is a gift?… Something that cannot be earned. That which no man can claim as a right.
Sin is considered here as an individual act. It is the act of a free agent. It is not merely missing the mark, it is willful missing of the mark.… If wages be the payment for work, sin is the work that earns the payment. God puts Himself over against sin.… The man who is in the thought of God is a man who is incapable of reformation and whose religious observances would in themselves be sinful. Therefore, God put Himself over against sin. Sin—God.
What is death?… Death is that which every man chooses in the moment when he yields himself to sin. By that yielding, he chooses death, disintegration, corruption, ruin.… Over against death, our text places eternal life. Paul climbed to a great height one day and he … wrote of “The generation of the age of the ages.” In the light of that suggestion we see them coming, age after age, out of the fathomless being of God, profound in mystery, glorious in strength, new ages of which we can but dream in the highest moments of our spiritual illumination. That is the gift which God gives a man without asking him for a certificate or any pledge for tomorrow. (G. Campbell Morgan, The Westminster Pulpit)
Spirit Filled Life Daily Devotional Bible, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers) 1998, c1993.