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Rom 2:6-16 KJV Who will render to every man according to his deeds: (7) To

them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and
immortality, eternal life: (8) But unto them that are contentious, and do not
obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, (9)
Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first,
and also of the Gentile; (10) But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that
worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: (11) For there is no
respect of persons with God. (12) For as many as have sinned without law shall
also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged
by the law; (13) (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the
doers of the law shall be justified. (14) For when the Gentiles, which have not
the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law,
are a law unto themselves: (15) Which shew the work of the law written in
their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean
while accusing or else excusing one another;) (16) In the day when God shall
judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

REVIEW:
Last time, we considered Romans 2:1-5, looking at the theme “Principles of God’s
Judgment”, and we considered three broad headings:

I. The Principle of Knowledge


II. The Principle of Truth
III. The Priniciple of Guilt

We saw that all mankind is hurtling towards a day of judgment (see Rev 20:11-15, 2
Peter 3:7, Jude 1:6, 2 Tim 4:1, 2 Thess 1:7-8 and Matt 13:41-43), and we learnt that God
will judge all men on that day on the basis of the knowledge that man possesses, that
His judgement will be entirely rooted in truth, as that is His nature, and that God’s
judgment will “fit the crime” as it were.
OUTLINE:
I. The Principle of Deeds
II. The Principle of Impartiality
III. The Principle of Motive

EXPOSITION:

I. The Principle of Deeds

Rom 2:6-10 KJV Who will render to every man according to his deeds: (7) To
them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and
immortality, eternal life: (8) But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey
the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, (9) Tribulation and
anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the
Gentile; (10) But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to
the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:

A. “Who will render to every man according to his deeds” – Some interpret this to
mean that men are saved by their deeds and that God justifies people on the
basis of their good deeds. Scripture does teach that all will be judged for their
works:

1. In the OT – Isaiah 3:10-11, Jeremiah 17:10


2. In the Gospels – Matthew 16:27, John 5:28-29
3. In the Pauline Epistles – 1 Corinthians 3:8-15, 2 Corinthians 5:10,
Galatians 6:7-9

How then do we reconciles passages such as Ephesians 2:8-9 and Galatians 2:16
which are clear in their teaching that salvation is by faith?

Dr. John MacArthur, in his commentary on Romans 1-8, says the following:

“The subjective criterion for salvation is faith alone, with nothing added. But
the objective reality of that salvation is manifested in the subsequent godly
works that the Holy Spirit leads the Christian to perform...It must be clear, of
course, that although Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, teaches that
judgment is by works, salvation is NOT by works.”

There is, in passing, another related question – if salvation is by faith, then


where do works enter the picture? I posit the following response: “Salvation
does not depend on works, but it will assuredly produce works.”
Consider the following two texts:

Eph 2:8-10 KJV For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.
(10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Php 2:12-13 KJV Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in


my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own
salvation with fear and trembling. (13) For it is God which worketh in you both
to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Believers may well fall short and fall into periods of disobedience but the life
marked by a complete barrening of good deeds is cause for concern.

B. “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour
and immortality, eternal life:” – Paul, for the remainder of our text, divides
humanity into two groups: the redeemed (v. 7-8, 10) and the unredeemed (v.9).

As we noted before the believer’s salvation is evidenced by their perseverance


in doing good, and the highest good the Christian can do is to “seek for glory
and honour and immortality”. While the three terms may sound synonymous,
they carry three distinct meanings. Put together, they present the aspiration
and heavenly perspective of the Christian:

1. GLORY – The Christian seeks “glory”, in particular the glory of God (1 Cor
10:31). The believer also seeks glory by looking forward to his sharing
God’s own glory on that glorification day (Romans 8:21, 30; 1
Thessalonians 2:14). As Christians we are aware that momentary
sufferings works toward the end of preparing that glory (2 Corinthians
4:17) and that “[w]hen Christ who is your life appears, then you also will
appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4 ESV). Seeking for glory is
essentially seeking for Christlikeness (cf. Philippians 3:10-14, 20-21)

2. HONOUR – This honour is not self-seeking or self-gratifying, but it is an


honour which comes from God, that honour of Him saying “Well done,
good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set
you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matt 25:21 ESV)
3. IMMORTALITY – that day when “this perishable body must put on the
imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.” (1 Cor
15:53)

In all this, Paul is not discussing how a person is saved or even how God
produces Christlikeness in a person. This is Paul giving us what the believer
ought to look like – an anatomy of the life of the Christian, as Dr. Albert Martin
put it – and that those divinely bestowed qualities will lead to eternal life.

This eternal life doesn’t mean a quantity of life – even the unregenerate will
have eternal existence – in death and punishment (2 Thessalonians 1:9,
Revelation 14:9-11). Its primary meaning relates to a quality of life – the life of
God in the soul of a man, as the Puritans were fond of saying. Paul speaks of
this in Galatians 2:20 – “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I,
but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the
faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Paul’s point
here is that the believer who truly possesses the life of God will reflect the true
character of God and it is on the basis of that reflected character that he will be
judged.

Justification is not a get-out-of-hell-free card in a cosmic game of Monopoly,


dear friends. When God, by His sovereign grace, saves a man out of his sin, He
asks nothing of that man save He repent and believe the Gospel. However,
from that moment on, the true believer is marked by a walk, a lifestyle of
faithful obedience.

Dr. MacArthur once more: “Faith in Christ does not produce freedom to sin and
to do as we please but freedom from sin and a new, God-given desire and
capacity to do what pleases Him”. A good text to study on this is James 2:14-26.

C. “But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey
unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every
soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;” – Paul
goes on to contrast the good deeds motivated by the Holy Spirit, which mark
out the life of the Christians with the marks of darkness which mark out those
who are not His. Paul mentions three main characteristics which mark them
out:

1. SELFISH AMBITION – The KJV renders this “contentious” but it really


carries the idea of a mercenary, one who works for money without
regard to the risks or harm he may cause – because it’s all about self –
man’s basic problem has been self from the beginning.
2. DISOBEDIENCE TO THE TRUTH – They seek their own way above all else,
including God’s way, the way of truth. Disobedience is synonymous with
rebellion, and spiritual rebellion is what the Fall was all about and what
human nature has continued to be about since (Romans 8:7-8 w/ Romans
5:10 and Colossians 1:21)

3. OBEDIENCE TO UNRIGHTEOUSNESS – Man does not live in a moral and


spiritual vacuum – either he is ungodly or godly, unrighteous or
righteous. Jesus was categorical about this truth – Matthew 6:24. Serving
God means obeying Him, while serving another master means obeying
sin.

The road to hell is clearly defined in one phrase – life as the enemy of God.
Being selfishly ambitious in the pursuit of self, his enmity against God leads him
to disobey the truth and to instead obey unrighteousness.

To them God will render wrath and indignation. The term “wrath”, which we
considered many weeks ago, literally refers to the strongest anger possible,
anger at fever pitch almost, when God’s mercy and grace will be exhausted.
God’s hourglass of patience and tolerance with unregenerate and unrepentant
mankind will come to an height in his fiery judgment against those who have
persisted in their wicked rebellion against Almighty God.

The term “indignation” (from which we get our prefix “thermo-“) refers to
agitant, vehement anger that rushes along. Its Biblical usage is interesting:

• Pharaoh’s murderous anger against Moses – Hebrews 11:27, Exodus


10:28
• The villagers who wanted to throw Jesus off a cliff – Luke 4:28-29
• The pagan Ephesians towards Paul – Acts 19:26-28

All of those human expression of indignation will pale into comparison on that
one day when God will call time on His forbearance with mankind. Man will
experience divine tribulation and distress. The term “distress” literally refers to
solitary confinement. Short of capital punishment, solitary confinement has
long been considered one of the worst forms of punishment, with an already
confined prisoner being left alone in narrow confines alone. Hell will be Hell,
ultimately because of man’s sinfulness, but I suspect that part of hell’s torment
will be its absolute, isolated, lonely confinement – with no hope of parole as it
were.
And this wrath will know absolutely no favourites – it will be the lot of “the Jew
first, and also of the Gentile”. This phrase will come up again in our exposition
of Romans, but it’s interesting that it is used to describe the scope of God’s
judgment – and that Jews are front of the list.

We noted last time that the Jew is the focus of chapter 2, and that the Jew in
view here was prone to passing judgment on others. After all, he knew what
the Law of God required, and that the Gentile, with the exception of folks like
Rahab and Ruth, were generally just not doing it right.

Well on a purely human level of reasoning, one wouldn’t blame them. The OT is
full of references to God’s love for national Israel – Amos 3:1-2, Hosea 11:1-2.
However, in Amos 3:2, God is clear that He will judge them for their sins. In fact
Paul, under inspiration, is right to note that the Jew will be first because to
whom much is given, much will always be required.

In the infinite grace of God and justice of God, God will be certain that the glory
and honour that is sought by every man who does good, empowered and led
by the Holy Spirit of God, will indeed be his reward. Likewise, God will see to it
that the wicked who is chasing wrath and indignation will also receive his
reward.