For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).
Have you ever asked yourself what righteousness, by God’s standard, is? Romans 6:23 gives us an idea. Notice it doesn’t say, “One of the gifts of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Eternal life is not one of the gifts of God; it is THE gift of God. It encapsulates all the other gifts of God. When God gives you eternal life, it means you’ve got everything else.
In Romans 5:17, Paul declared, “For if by one man’s (Adam) offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” Observe the term “the gift of righteousness.” It’s the same gift he referred to as “the gift of God” in Romans 6:23. This immediately lets us know righteousness is eternal life.
Eternal life doesn’t only mean an unending life where you live on forever. The English rendering didn’t have a better way to express it than to call it “eternal” or “everlasting” life, but it’s the life that God has as God. Now we’re made to understand that that life is righteousness. Righteousness is the nature of God that qualifies Him to be who He is. You can’t really know what’s right till God does or approves it, or what’s wrong till He says no to it. That’s because He’s the standard for measuring rightness; He is perfection personified.
Now, God’s life cannot fail or be wrong. It doesn’t know any defeat and cannot be put down or crack under any pressure. No wonder Paul says if you’ve received abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness—the very nature, life and character of God—you’ll reign in life. When you have and are fully conscious of the life of God, you can’t live any other way than to reign. It is what gives you the boldness to stand in the presence of God without guilt, inferiority, or condemnation, and also before satan and the cohorts of hell without fear but with authority and dominion, Hallelujah!