For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 6:23 (KJV)
Some verses of the Bible require much interpretation. We have to dig into the original language, look for nuance, read them in full context, cross-reference to other verses in the Bible that relate to it, and then come to conclusions based on all of the information we gather.
Other verses of the Bible say exactly what they mean without ambiguity or complex exegesis required. This is one of those verses.
We are sinners. All of us. Our lives are lived in a way that makes each and every one of us deserve instant and eternal death. If you think you’re a good person, you’re wrong. You might be less evil than the child molester on the news, but you and I are still sinners. Our wicked thoughts are ever-present, and just because most choose not to act on them directly against others doesn’t mean we’re not sinners. As Jesus noted, even looking on another woman with lust makes us adulterers in our hearts.
But we’ve been given a gift. When God sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins, He paid the ultimate sacrifice, the only sacrifice that was sufficient to cover the evil that has overtaken His creation. Even though we should be paid with death, we are offered the gift of everlasting life thanks to this undeserved sacrifice.