Posted by: missionventureministries | June 22, 2017


He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. (Romans 2:6-8) 

As careful Bible students we need to read this passage in its context since it describes that eternal life will be “according to works.” But this does not mean that it will be earned by works and there is a great difference as we read about ‘works’ in other bible passages. In Romans 6:23 Paul says, “The free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Eternal life is not earned, it is free. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). We need to clearly understand that faith receives eternal life freely as a gift and not through works. 

This is made clear not only in Romans 2:6-8 but also in James 2:14-26 and many other places that teach the necessity of obedience in the life of faith and in the inheritance of eternal life. 

The Bible teaches about receiving eternal life according to works, but not earning eternal life through works.

“According to works” means that God will take the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and the “good deeds” by which we let the light of our faith shine (Matthew 5:16), and He will accept them as evidence of our faith. His sentence of acquittal will not be because we are not guilty; it will be because Christ paid the price for our guilt. The place of our works at the judgment will serve as sustaining evidence that we did indeed put our trust in Christ. Therefore when we are acquitted and welcomed into the kingdom it will not be because of works but it will be according to works. There will be “harmony” between our salvation and our deeds. 

The main point is that God will judge each person impartially according to his works/deeds and every person will stand before God in judgment; either the Judgment Seat of Christ or the Great White Throne Judgment. 

To those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. Eternal life begins the moment that we come to know God through faith in Jesus Christ. It grows sweeter as we grow to know Him better in this life. But it will be unfathomable the moment we step into God’s presence in eternity, free from all sin. 

Paul describes this eternal life by these words – glory, honor, and immortality (2:7). Glory refers to the hope of all believers, that we will be transformed into the image of God’s Son, so that God’s glory will be reflected in us (Romans 5:2; Romans 8:18, 21; Romans 8:29-30; Romans 9:23; 1 Corinthians 2:7; 1 Corinthians15:43; 2 Corinthians 3:12-18; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Colossians 3:4). 

To receive honor will be to hear from the Lord Jesus, “Well done, good and faithful slave…. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21). All glory and honor that we receive in heaven we will immediately give back in praise to the resurrected Lamb as we sing (Revelation 4:11),“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed and were created.”

Immortality refers to the hope of the resurrection, when we will receive new bodies that are not subject to disease, aging, and death (1 Corinthians 15:42, 1 Corinthians 15:50-54). Paul says that those who seek for glory, honor, and immortality receive eternal life (2:7).  

But, Paul also mentions the other eternal destiny: “but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” 

Paul says that the wicked receive “wrath and fury” from God (2:8).  

There are many verses in both the OT and the NT that refer to God’s judgment, hear are just a few: 

“I, the Lord, search the heart; I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.” (Jeremiah 17:10)

The Lord says, “O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.” (Ezekiel 33:20) 

In Matthew 16:27 , Jesus says, “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.” 

Galatians 6:7-8 tells us to, “Not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” 

In Revelation 2:23, after telling how He will judge those who join in the immorality and idolatry of “the woman Jezebel,” the Lord warns the church in Thyatira, “I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.” 

At the great white throne judgment, “the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.” (Revelation 20:12) 

And finally in Revelation 22:12, Jesus says, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” 

So the consistent teaching of Scripture is that God will judge each of us according to our deeds. 

Warning: Jesus said in (Matthew 7:21-23), “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’”  

Genuine conversion means that you must repent of your sins and trust in Jesus for salvation. Once a repentant mind has turned from its own way, it wants to follow God. It yields to God and His authority. Such a mind strives to be like Jesus Christ and produce the “fruits of the Spirit.” Christ talked about “bearing much fruit.” He later inspired Paul to list the “fruits of the Spirit” – love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (self-control) – in Galatians 5:22-23. These become evident in the conduct of the Spirit-led converted person. 

The repentant mind turns from the selfish “get my way”, to the “giving way of life.” A Christian’s thinking becomes transformed, changed completely, to a whole new way of looking at life. 

Remember: Faith without works is dead: “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14-17).

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