God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.
There is a ‘healthy tension’ in the Gospel when it comes to our ability to follow Christ. On one hand it’s not about what you do, but what’s been done for you. On the other, as we see in this passage from Romans 2, God will repay us for what we have done. We have an inability to follow God’s Word, which is why we need a Savior. We can also be persistent in doing good. We can seek glory, honor and immortality.So which is it?It is clear from Scripture that God is going to judge every human soul according to what they have done. Because of our sinful hearts we are selfish and follow evil. These things the wrath of God is coming against (read Romans 1 again). Every person has sinned against God. Maybe to varying degrees, but regardless, still in need of a Savior.When Jesus is received as Savior and Lord by a person, everything changes! He took the wrath and punishment that we deserve upon Himself and our sins are no longer held against us.
What do we think Jesus is ‘saving’ us from? He saves us from the wrath of God.Now that a person is saved, the persistence in doing good makes a difference! Before it was irrelevant because they were still under God’s wrath. Now that the wrath of God has been atoned for (think ‘paid in full!’), the doing good can be recognized… and apparently God does! He notices the good that we do.Isn’t this favoritism? Does God favor those who accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. I would say yes! This is not contradicting Romans 2:11, however, since God invites everyone to come under His favor by accepting what He as done for them in Christ.
At the core I am not good. I am plagued with selfishness and sin… and as Paul said, the only good in me is Jesus. But Jesus IS in me! I am saved! I can persist in seeking glory, honor and immortality knowing that God will give me eternal life. I am good only because of Christ. One of the fruit of His Spirit in me is ‘goodness.’ As I spend time with Jesus, He rubs off on me and I become good like Him.
Lord, be seen in me today. Thank you for removing all of the plague and consequences of sin from my life. This freedom is simply awesome! I choose to use my freedom to bring glory to You. Thank you for the promise of eternal life. I live for you today.