Monday, July 04, 2022

2022.07.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 2:6–11

Read Romans 2:6–11 

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom will God render (Romans 2:6)? According to what? What will be rendered to some (Romans 2:7)? What deeds accord with that? But what other sorts of deeds may there be (Romans 2:8)? And what reward will be rendered to those (Romans 2:8-9)? Unto how many of them (Romans 2:9)? Of what ethnicities? And what will be rendered to others (Romans 2:10)? Of what ethnicities, in what order? Why (Romans 2:11)? What is the real difference-maker that divides the human race? 

Romans 2:6–11 looks forward to the this week’s midweek sermon. In these six verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the human race is not split up into Jew and Greek, but rather good-working and evil-working. 

The accord between rewards and deeds (Romans 2:6). We’re in the middle of a four-chapter arc that beautifully opens up justification by faith alone. So, perhaps we are surprised to find our passage so strongly declaring that there is an “accord” between what we do in this life and what we receive on the day that was mentioned in Romans 2:5

Eternal life, with glory, honor, and peace (Romans 2:7Romans 2:10). The accord between what the wicked do and what the wicked receive is obvious: they earn it. But, how can there be an accord between what the righteous do and what they received? Are their works good enough to earn something from God? Of course not. As we will hear in Romans 6:23, eternal life is a free gift of God. 

But repentance is also a gift of God. And growth in that repenting, sanctification, is a gracious work of God—and the grace-sustained life’s-work of a believer. So there is an accord between the two gifts: the righteous standing through faith alone in Christ, and the righteous living that is always worked out in the one whom God turns to Christ. Romans 2:1-5 warned us that feeling excused by comparison to others actually impairs repentance. 

Now, we are reminded that the repentant need not fear the day of wrath. They “patiently continue” (persist, Romans 2:7). They “seek glory, honor, and immortality.” Their delight is not in this world, but in heavenly and eternal things. Their hope is not in this world, but in heavenly and eternal things. They have turned away from creature and self to the Creator—God, Whose righteousness for us is revealed in the gospel. 

Can we think that such delight and hope will not change the way that a man lives? Can we think that the divine power of God to give righteousness to a man, will not change the way that he lives? There are some who talk this way and call it “grace,” and the apostle will deal with such rubbish later, but here the point is obvious: gospel salvation makes a difference in this life. Believers “work what is good” (Romans 2:10). And it makes a difference at the day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God, in which believers will receive “glory, honor, and peace” in full measure. 

Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish (Romans 2:8-9).The opposite of a God-seeker is a self-seeker, the sort of man that we heard about in those dreadful fifteen verses that closed chapter 1. Romans 2:8 says that they “do not obey the truth”: rather than obey the truth about God in the creation, they suppress the truth in unrighteousness. And the apostle now proclaims the truth of the gospel, which reveals the righteousness of God for them in Jesus, but these in Romans 2:8-9 choose instead to “obey unrighteousness.” 

Well, what will a man receive on the day of the “revelation of the righteous judgment of God” if he doesn’t have the righteousness of God that was revealed in the gospel? He will receive “indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish” on his soul. This is why Romans 2:5 also calls it “the day of wrath.” 

There is no partiality with God (Romans 2:11). Romans 2:6-10 have shown this in two ways: ethnically and morally. First, with respect to ethnicity, the Jews are first in grace (Romans 2:10) as the people from whom Christ came, but the Greeks are also people for whom Christ came. There is grace for all peoples. But the Jews are not only first in grace; they are also first in wrath (Romans 2:9). There is equity. 

Second, with respect to morals, God will not capriciously reward people without regard to their moral condition. By uniting them to Christ through faith, He purges their sin and gives them a righteous status. By granting to them repentance from Christ and righteous character and conduct from Christ, He creates in them the righteous state that accords with the blessing that He gives them. He fits them for the reward so that by the time they receive it, the reward is fitting. His reward may be of grace, according to what Christ deserves, but it is impartial; His reward is not inconsistent but accords with the reality of what He will have made us. 

How does your life reflect repentance and faith? What does it lead you to expect on the last day? 

Sample prayer: Lord, truly there is no impartiality with You. You save sinners from all peoples, and You bring into a state of righteous living all whom you give a righteous status in Jesus. So, we praise You in His Name and ask You to makes us more and more like Him, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP51A“God, Be Merciful to Me” or TPH51C“God, Be Merciful to Me”

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