Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 5
November 30, 2004
Lincolnton, N.C.

<082> Thesis: By considering the "rewards" that are possible to man, believers can better understand the nature of the promises of God. Introduction: In our study last time, we put some deliberate "brackets" around Romans 2:6. We did not "manufacture" the brackets because they are established in the context. But, there is a huge problem with Paul's gospel if we do not accept the brackets he imposed. Without brackets, Romans 2:6 makes eternal life a reward for good behavior. This fundamentally contradicts the Gospel's promise of eternal life as a gift received by faith. So, what are the brackets? Paul is specifically writing about the events of the "Day of Wrath" when God will judge men for their deeds and determine whether they will obtain eternal life as a reward for those deeds or perish because of the worthlessness of those deeds. In that day, there will be two basic sets of standards set up. One set has to do with what is required for a man to be given eternal life as a reward for his works. The other set has to do with what will cause a man to be judged to be unworthy of eternal life. So, our conclusion last week is that Romans 2:6 is simply a statement of what the Justice of God requires for those who reject His kindness and refuse repentance as the method of acceptance by God. This evening we are going to take a second look at the standards of that day to see what we as believers can learn from them. Though we will not be subjected to them in judgment, we will be subjected to their reality as defining characteristics. Paul wrote of "eternal life" in terms that we need to grasp. He also wrote of "eternal death" in terms we need to grasp. Much of the struggle believers have in this world is rooted in their lack of understanding of what God has promised in the terms of "eternal life". When believers read that Jesus promised "life abundantly", most of us don't have a clue as to what that means, so we go through life with a great deal of frustration because, though we have no clue, we think we do and when our experience isn't "abundant life" we think God's promise has failed. So, to clarify the promise and to solidify our understanding, we are going to look at what Paul said was the practical definition of eternal life.