An unconverted person, says Paul, is heading towards an awful destiny because of his spiritual devotion to sin – ‘For the end of those things is death’ (v. 21). Such are spiritually dead and travelling to eternal death. In the last verse in the chapter, he says that such death is well-deserved because it is the wages for which they have toiled. They chose to participate in sin and therefore will in the future receive its payment, eternal death.
A converted person has a very different attitude towards those sinful practices he once engaged in. He is ashamed of them. Such a response is a very clear indication that we realise what we were really like in God’s sight before his grace changed us.
God’s divine grace also ensures that Christians live very different lives after their conversion. Instead of being slaves of sin, they are slaves of God. They serve him and bear spiritual fruit (acts of righteousness), the evidence that they are being sanctified. Such fruit is the evidence that they are alive spiritually. Spiritual fruit comes through union with the risen Jesus, a union realised in the experience of all disciples by the Holy Spirit.
Those who have this spiritual fruit reveal that they have been given eternal life. They don’t earn eternal life by their spiritual progress. Eternal life is not an earned wage. Instead it is a gift given to them through their union with Jesus. This is a reminder that God’s grace super-abounds.
In the future, they will discover the riches and capabilities connected to eternal life in its fullness. What that will involve is beyond the abilities of anyone on earth to describe in great detail. Yet it will be experienced because of what Jesus will provide for his servants throughout eternity. So we can anticipate the glory to come, even if we cannot fully appreciate all that it will mean.