Notice the contrast between the two choices in the following verse.
Romans 6:23 - "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord."
The "wages of sin is death". The word wages implies that we have done something to earn our fate, which in this case is death. We see that this is certainly true here on Earth in many cases. We see people that get involved in certain sinful deeds often meet an untimely demise as a consequence. But this I believe this verse is referring to an eternal consequence. When we live a life that is separate from God, when we live in an unrighteous manner, death is what we deserve as a reward. That's what we've earned. That is a just judgment.
But looking at the next part of this verse, we see that the "gift of God is eternal life." Rather than receive death as a reward for unrighteous living God offers us a second choice. God offers to give us a gift. When someone gives you a gift, you did nothing to deserve it. They give it to you freely and willingly out of the kindness of their own heart. It's the same with God. The gift of eternal life comes through acceptance of Jesus Christ.
Basically we are left with two choices: Will we work to earn the wages of death? Or will we gladly accept the gift that God offers us?