October 26, 2021
Scripture: 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 ESV
Observation: In this opening appeal to the Romans, Paul addresses a crucial aspect of God’s judgment: he rightly executes it (verse 2) according to our actions (verses 6-8). At first glance, it may appear that Paul is promoting works-righteousness, but he is not referring to our means of salvation (which is by grace through faith in Christ, Ephesians 2:8). He is addressing our response to God’s gift of grace in Christ.
Application: Paul cautions us to pay attention to what we seek, lest we come under the wrath of God that only Christ can atone. If we patiently seek glory, honor, and immortality, we will gain eternal life. The implication here is that we seek these godly attributes solely to reflect the Lord’s majesty. But if our motives are for self-gain and self-aggrandizing, then there is no hope for forgiveness when we face final judgment. Lastly, our actions will reveal what we are genuinely seeking. Similarly, Jesus taught that the fruit of a tree indicates its condition, and those who pretend to love God but hide behind superficial observance of his laws will be judged accordingly (Luke 12:33-37).
Prayer: Father God, thank you for your Son who has provided us the means through your Holy Spirit to seek you and your kingdom first. Please forgive us when we misstep and turn our affections away from your Son towards ourselves and the world. And please help us to pursue good works that bring you glory and honor. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling