What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. Romans 6:21-22
There’s a benefit to us when we commit to God—holiness and eternal life. At first glance, we may not consider holiness a benefit. In our world holiness is made to sound dull and boring as if we’re missing out on a good time. However, Jesus was the holiest person who ever lived and he certainly wasn’t dull. His first miracle was at a party where he turned water into wine and enabled the party to continue.
Still, we would prefer God to give us happiness as a benefit of committing to him and God does want us to be happy. Yet God knows we will never be truly happy until we are holy. While we’re self-centred rather than other-centred, we won’t stay happy for long so God acts to make us holy. This is a process, which is why Paul expresses the benefits as leading to holiness. We don’t get holy overnight! Furthermore, God needs our cooperation if we’re to become holy. While God woos, convicts and challenges us, he doesn’t override our free will.
The end result is eternal life. This is not something we get when we die, it starts now. “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God” (John 17:3). We can know God now, and experience eternal life now, because we have Christ living in our hearts.
It’s also important to note that holiness and eternal life are benefits, not entitlements.