Here in Orlando, there are timeshare companies that use gifts as a ploy for sales. They will give you free tickets to Disney or any number of other gifts if you will listen to their sales pitch. You see, it is a gift… sort of… but you have to earn it first.
God’s gifts are not like that. With Him, you just take it and say thank you, end of story. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” You see, when God talks about sin and death, He uses the word “wages” (what you earn). But when he talks about eternal life, He uses the word “gift” (something you cannot earn).
The word “gift” is an interesting word, in that it is not the normal Greek word for a gift. The word here is charisma, which refers to a gracious bestowal of kindness. It comes from the word charis, which means grace or gracious. So, the emphasis is on the gracious nature of the gift—It is a free gift, which is how the NAS and the ESV translate it. It’s not a gift you can work for or deserve..
Now that is what Romans 6:23 is saying. God gives eternal life as a free gift to those who receive Jesus Christ as their personal savior. It is a gracious offer based on the fact that Christ already paid your debt of sin by His death on the cross. He paid the penalty for your sin, so now you can simply receive eternal life as a gift by receiving Jesus Christ as your savior. Just think, eternal life is a free gift—no purgatory, no works of penance, no ascetic self-denial, no nothing! “But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Now you know the real meaning of the word.
Hey, a free gift is a free gift. Just take it and say thank you!