Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 4
6 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.
1901 ASV Translation:
6 who will render to every man according to his works:
7 to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life:
8 but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, shall be wrath and indignation,
9 tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek;
10 but glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek:
11 for there is no respect of persons with God.
In 2:8, the Textus Receptus has an untranslated emphatic particle and a "movable 'n'" on the word translated "do not obey" that the Nestle/Aland 26 does not have. There is no significant difference in meaning between the two textual traditions except that the emphatic particle does insert an element of emphasis that the Nestle/Aland 26 does not recognize.
November 23, 2004
- I. The declaration of the apostle that God will "return to each one according to his works".
- A. This is the fundamental thesis of the theology of "salvation by works".
- 1. Of all of the particular doctrines of men, the notion that the fundamental principle of "relationship" is "repayment in kind" is the most pervasive and destructive.
- 2. Biblical Christianity is the only "form of religion" that makes any effort to take this destructive doctrine on and destroy it.
- B. That it comes straight from the apostle of "grace" makes it problematical if it is taken out of its context and made a fundamental rule of the universe.
- 1. The context of the statement is not ambiguous.
- a. The apostle has already declared that he is writing about "the day of wrath" which is also called "the day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God".
- b. This means that everything he writes in this context has to do with his perception of that "day".
- c. This means that nothing he writes in this context should be taken to "automatically apply to" any other defined "day" unless the teachings about those other "days" include the same concept: that God is going to unveil the truth about His 'righteous judgment".
- 1) In Matthew 7:22 Jesus refers to "in that day" without any defined boundaries. He says that "in that day" many will attempt to be considered qualified to enter into His Kingdom and will be rejected because their attempt will be based upon what they have done ["...have we not prophesied...cast out demons...done many wonderful works...?]. This is apparently the same "day" of which Paul was writing in Romans 2. It is a day when men will be judged as to where they will spend eternity [the Kingdom of Heaven, or the "fire"].
- 2) In Matthew 10:15 Jesus refers to "the day of judgment" as a time when the residents of Sodom and Gomorrha will get more "tolerance" than the residents of any city that rejects the preaching of the Gospel. This is no declaration that the inhabitants of Sodom will find a place in the Kingdom of Heaven. It is, rather, just a declaration that there will be consideration of opportunity when judgment is executed. Jesus returned to this same thesis in Matthew 11:22 and 24 and Matthew 12:36.
- 3) In Acts 17:31 Paul preached that God has "appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness". This is, apparently, the same day to which he referred in Romans 2.
- 4) But, in 1 Corinthians 1:8 he also wrote of a "day" in which believers would be "blameless". This cannot be a day in which believers will be held accountable for their "works" -- for not even the most godly of believers have been "blameless" in their actions.
- 5) And in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 Paul wrote of a "day" in which the believer's works would be tested by fire, but the believer "himself shall be saved" even though many of his "works" were consumed by the fire of judgment. This is, apparently, not a "judgment" to see where a person is to spend eternity [the Kingdom or the Fire] since this "judgment" does not result in being cast into the fire.
- 6) In Ephesians 4:30 Paul wrote of a "day of redemption" -- not, apparently, a "day of righteous judgment".
- 7) Consistently through his epistles, Paul wrote of a "day of the Lord Jesus" as a day of deliverance in spite of flawed "works".
- 2. The context limits the teaching about what is going to happen to "that day".
- II. What Is Going to Happen in "That Day".
- A. A specific set of standards will be put into place as the "rules of the Court".
- 1. The "standard" by which a person will be granted "eternal life" will be established.
- a. The "fundamental" requirement is identified in the phrase "patient continuance in well doing".
- 1) Of 102 uses of the word translated "well", this is the only time in the AV that the translators opted for "well".
- 2) Of 176 uses of the word translated "doing", this is the only time in the AV that the translators opted for "doing".
- 3) The singular translation "well doing" is a signal that we must look for a meaning that might be a bit difficult to identify.
- a) Paul introduces three concepts for this fundamental requirement.
- i. First, there is the idea of "patience".
- ii. Second, there is the idea of "good" (translated "well").
- iii. Third, there is the idea of "work" (translated "doing").
- b) A very literal translation would read: "...according to the standard of the patience of a good work...".
- c) His meaning seems to be akin to the AV's "patient continuance in well doing" if, by that, we understand that he is saying that a man's life must, in the day of "repayment", project the impression of having locked on to what is "good" and having pursued it diligently without being dissuaded by any "burden" that it might have caused in this fallen world. In other words, to be "repaid" for the behavior of this life with "eternal life", one must have pursued "good" without being buried by the onslaught of evil.
- b. The particulars of this fundamental requirement are three.
- 1) To be granted eternal life, one must have "patiently/consistently pursued glory" (understanding that there are two kinds of "glory" that men can pursue and only one is legitimate -- John 5:44; and 7:18).
- 2) To be granted eternal life, one must have "patiently/consistently pursued honor" (understanding that "honor" is something God gives when a man is considered "meet for the Master's use...unto every good work" -- 2 Timothy 2:21).
- 3) To be granted eternal life, one must have "patiently pursued incorruption" (understanding that the issue of "corruption" is the presence of the processes of death in each of the areas in which man can experience death -- physical, relational, spiritual).
- 2. The "standard" by which a person will be subjected to "wrath and indignation" will be established.
- a. To be subjected to wrath, one must have been guilty of being "contentious".
- b. To be subjected to wrath, one must have been guilty of disobeying Truth.
- c. To be subjected to wrath, one must have obeyed Unrighteousness.
- B. For emphasis, Paul turned right around in Romans 2:9-10 and repeated these "standards" in reverse order.
- III. The Universal Application of The Standards.
- A. The statement that "there is no respect of persons with God" is not an absolute statement.
- 1. God, very obviously, "respects" the person of His Son as well as the persons of those who trust in Him.
- 2. This statement must be understood in light of the "day": when Justice is being applied, only the principles of Justice will be given any "respect" -- people will not be given any latitude outside of those principles.
- B. In that day they will be applied with no regard for whether a person was a Jew or not.
- C. In that day there will be no "special considerations" because of "respect of persons".
- 1. The "standards" will apply without any other standards being given consideration.
- 2. Those who count upon special consideration because of their geneological identity will be fundamentally dismayed as that will count for nothing in that day.