What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed?  For the end of those things is death?"

This is an argument drawn from the   experience of Christians respecting the indulgence of sinful passions. The question discussed throughout this chapter is, whether the gospel plan of Justification by Faith leads to indulgence in sin? The argument here is drawn from the past experience which Christians have had in the ways of transgression.

“What fruit had ye then”
Literally:  “Therefore what fruit did you have then?”-What good did it do you?  In that   shameful, wicked course, did it do you any good.? It is implied here that having once  experienced these effects, and knowing the tendency of sin, they will not indulge in it now   (comp. 7:5).

God plans that every man shall reap benefit by his service.  Paul is asking them what benefit have they derived from their service of sin?  God desires that every man shall reap benefit by his service, so what benefit did you really derive from your service of sin? Men ought to seriously ask this question

          FRUIT:  (Grk.–karpon–)–Meaning reward, or advantage.  Paul here is referring to effect, result, profit (see 15:28; Gal. 5:22) where it is contrasted with “works.” 

What reward, or what advantage? What permanent advantage, or what abiding satisfaction did such manner of living yield?  This is an argument drawn from the experience of Christians respecting the indulgence of sinful passions.

            HAD YE:  (Grk.–echete)-This is in the past imperfect tense, denoting a continuous action.  Paul is asking, what fruit were you having during you service of sin?

        “When therefore I have performed this, and  have sealed  to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain” (Rom. 15:2).
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith” (Gal. 5:22).     

“those things whereof ye are now ashamed”
Literally: “Those things over which you are now ashamed.” 

THOSE THINGS:   (Grk.—tina oun)–Literally:  “what therefore.”  He speaks of them as afar off. Having seen their nature and tendency.

God plans that every man shall reap benefit by his service, so what benefit have you derived from the service of sin? You blush to remember your former life. It was scandalous to yourselves, injurious to others, and highly provoking to God.

         “For the end of those things is death”
         Literally:  “for the end of those {is} death.”–Meaning the tendency–the result is temporal; but ultimately leads to spiritual, eternal death.

“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”

         “But now”
         Under the Christian Plan of Justification.   Paul now changes his subject to the good results of their serving Christ. 

                 BUT NOW:  (Grk.–de nuni)–Paul often uses this to sum up his points.

 “being made free from sin”
Literally:  “Having been set free from sin.”–Free from its condemning and reigning power.  As being free from righteousness is the finished character of a sinner, so being made free   from sin is the finished character of a genuine Christian.

         “become servants of God”
         Literally: “But having been enslaved to God.”Now that we are the servants of
God  He has the right to our full service. 

         “ye have your fruit unto holiness
         Literally:   “You have your fruit unto sanctification.” —The fruit borne should be
holiness; that is, holy living..

                 YE HAVE:  (Grk.–echete)–Present tense;  not “ought to have,” but “do have,” in present point of fact.

       HOLINESS:  (Grk.–hagiasmos)-Literally:  sanctification. It is an interesting fact that if a Greek noun ends inismos this describes a process, not a    completed state; so here we have the process (or development) of becoming holy in our manner of living.

Our progressive sanctification is the road to our holiness.  Understand that sanctification is really in three parts or stages.
1      Positional sanctification-We are removed from the penalty of sin and declared righteous
   This takes place when we are saved; when we receive Christ as our personal Savior.
2.     Present sanctification-As we become removed from the power of sin.
        This is taking place as we grow in grace and knowledge of Christ.
3.     Potential sanctification–We are removed from the very presence of sin.
       This takes place when we are with the Lord in heaven.

Simply put:
Holiness of heart the principle;

righteousness of life the fruit.

         “and the end”–The final result–the ultimate consequence will be. At present this service produces holiness; hereafter it will terminate in everlasting life.

By this consideration Paul states the tendency of the Plan of Justification, and urges on them the duty of striving after holiness.   As the final state of the justified believer; the beatific experience not only of complete exemption from the fall with all its effects, but of the perfect life of acceptance with God, and conformity to His likeness, of unveiled access to Him, and ineffable fellowship with Him throughout all duration.

                 AND THE END:  (Grk.–kai telos)–Paul is referring to the final result

As the final state of the justified believer; the beatific experience not only of complete exemption from the Fall with all its effects, but of the perfect life of acceptance with God, and conformity to His likeness, of unveiled access to Him, and indescribable fellowship with Him through all eternity.

“everlasting life”–This stands in contrast with the word death in verse 21. If those who obey shall be blessed with life forever, then those who disobey will be cursed with death forever. The word death in verse 21, does not refer to temporal death but to eternal punishment. .

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

         “For the wages of sin”– Its just desert. 

         WAGES: (Grk.–opsonia)–From opson, meaning, “cooked meat,” and later, “provisions.” Opson came to mean, “provision money,” and is used of army supplies (see I Cor. 9:7).  It came to refer to the pay of the Roman soldier (see Luke 3:14). 

            In earlier times it was the custom to pay the soldier in these things, particularly in salt, or “sala” in Latin.  It is from this that we get our English word, “salary,” meaning, “wages.”

            Here it means hence that which a man earns or deserves; that which is his proper pay, or what he merits. As applied to sin, it means that death is what sin deserves; that which will be its proper reward. death is thus called the wages of sin, not because it is an arbitrary, undeserved appointment, but…
1.      Because it is its proper desert.

Not a pain will be inflicted on the sinner which he does not deserve. Not a sinner will die who ought not to die. Sinners even in hell will be treated just as they deserve to be treated; and there is not to man a more fearful and terrible consideration than this. No man can conceive a more dreadful doom than for himself to be treated forever just as he deserves to be.
2.      This is the wages of sin, because like the pay of the soldier, it is just what was threatened.
  “The soul that sinneth, it shall die (Ezek. 18:4).  God will not inflict anything more than was threatened, and therefore it is just.

“is death”
{Is}death.”–This stands opposed here to eternal life, and proves that one is just as enduring as the other. The
Second Death, everlasting perdition.
Every sinner earns this by long, sore, and painful service.  O! what pains do men take to get to hell!  Early and late they toil at sin; and would not Divine justice be in their debt, if it did not pay them their due wages?

         Sin is a master of his servants and pays wages. The wages is death, one of the saddest, but profoundest truths of the world.

“but the gift of God”
Not the wages of man; not that which is due to him; but the mere gift and mercy of God. The apostle is careful to distinguish, and to specify that this is not what man deserves, but that which is gratuitously conferred on him (see notes on v. 15). 

God gives to those who turn from sin, life eternal. It is his gracious gift, conditioned on refusing to be the servant of sin longer, and is through Christ.  Satan pays wages, but God gives gifts.

         “is eternal life”
         Literally:  {is} life eternal” A man may MERIT hell, but he cannot MERIT heaven. 

         Paul does not say that the wages of righteousness is eternal life: no, but that this eternal life, even to the righteous, is The gracious GIFT of GOD And even this gracious gift comes through Jesus Christ..  He alone has procured it; and it is given to all those who find redemption in His blood.  A sinner goes to hell because he deserves it; a righteous man goes to heaven because Christ has died for him, and communicated that grace by which his sin is pardoned and his soul made holy.
         Every sinner has a daily pay, and this pay is death; he has misery because he sins.  Sin constitutes hell; the sinner has a hell in his own bosom; all is confusion and disorder where God does not reign: every indulgence of sinful passions increases the disorder, and consequently the misery of a sinner.  If men were as much in earnest to get their souls saved as they are to prepare them for perdition, heaven would be highly peopled, and devils would be their own companions.  And will not the living lay this to heart?
        The difference is remarkable. Evil works merit the reward they receive: good works do not.  The former demand wages: the latter accept a free gift. perfect, endless holiness and bliss. The future misery of the wicked is their just desert; and the future happiness of the righteous is the gracious gift of God, through the merits of Jesus Christ.

through Jesus Christ our Lord
Literally:  “in Christ Jesus our Lord This concluding vers contains the marror, the refined gold, of the Gospel.

As the laborer is worthy of his hire, and feels it to be his due–his own of right–so is death the due of sin; the wages of the sinner has earned for his own.  But eternal lifeis in no sense or degree the wages of our righteousness  We do nothing whatever to earn or become entitled to it and never can.  It is therefore, in the absolute sense, the gift of God.  Grace reigns in the bestowal of it in every case, and that, t in Jesus Christ our Lord, as the righteous Channel of it.