Thursday, January 1

Romans 2:6-7

Romans 2:6-7 He will render to each one according to his works: (7) to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;

All of the football players in the photo above are judged on each play and the coaches render a grade based on their performance. The games are filmed, and there is no hiding from the camera as every move is revealed in slow motion and stop action. In a like manner, Paul explains that God is going to render to each person according to his works. Thus far in his gospel explanation, Paul has only revealed the bad news of human sin and unrighteousness. He has condemned both Jews and Gentiles as being equally guilty before God’s righteous judgment, and now he says God will render to each one based on these works. Later in Romans 3:10 Paul confirms clearly and plainly that there is none righteous. Therefore, one hundred percent of humanity does not have any hope based on God’s judgment of their works. The bad news that began in Romans 1:18 has gotten even worse here in Romans 2:6-7.

As verse 7 points out, God will give eternal life to everyone who does good and meets His standard. However, according to Scripture, the requirement for human beings to meet God’s standard for establishing their own works righteousness is nothing less than perfection. Uh oh, “Houston we have a problem!” That problem is that no one will receive eternal life based on their works and Paul clearly states that in Romans 3:10, 3-20 and elsewhere.

Many theologians take verse 7 to mean the overall behavior of regenerated believers and transport a born again Christian into verse 7. However, Paul has not yet even explained the gospel principle of justification by faith alone. He doesn’t begin that until Romans 3:21. In the gospel believers are covered in the righteousness of Christ through faith and are judged based on the perfect righteousness of Christ; not their own. Here in Romans 2:6-7 Paul is talking about God’s judgment based on a person’s own works, and to view the works of a regenerated person as being sufficient in and of themselves; is to make the atonement of Christ unnecessary. God could have simply made belief in God the standard, regenerated these believers, judged their improved works, and bypassed the atonement of Christ. The entire gospel reveals this to be insufficient. The gospel shows that human works before and after regeneration to be insufficient for God to give eternal life. I am puzzled as to how anyone thinks their works after regeneration will be the basis for God giving them eternal life.


jazzycat said...

The Mississippi State running back in the photo has just been given the ball in a play that will result in a 30 yard touchdown run against Tenn. Each player was judged for his performance on this single play and each and every play of the game. Perfection in an entire game is unlikely and in a season or career is impossible.

mark pierson said...

This is very profound! Wow! This way of looking at works - I've never seen Romans 2:6-7 explained that way. You're right, the salvation in Christ and the regenerate lifestyle haven't been brought up yet in the letter.


Shiloh Guy said...


Where are you? Are you ok?

jazzycat said...

Thanks! I am fine. As you probably know Mark discontinued his Bluecollar blog. I am going to continue with Romans ASAP.