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Slave or Sinner - Part 4

Good Morning My Beloved,

Thank you for joining us today.
I am blessed by your presence,
I pray that you will also be blessed for joining us today
And I am truly grateful, that in spite of my own sinful nature
God has chosen to awaken me today
Thank You Father

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for Your patience with each of us
remove our contrition, give us a desire to confess 
an insatiable hunger for Your glory and Honor, we want to be incorruptible
O' Father, help our souls, in the continuance of Your patience,
lead us, that we would seek only those things that are pleasing to You
but rather than rebellion against You,  
in disobedience to Your truth and obedient to unrighteousness 
as our way of life

Lord, help us to become the people You have called us to be
In Jesus' precious name

"Therefore, any one of you who judges is without excuse. For when you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things. We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is based on the truth. Do you really think—anyone of you who judges those who do such things yet do the same—that you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? But because of your hardness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed. He will repay each one according to his works: eternal life to those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality; but wrath and indignation to those who are self-seeking and disobey the truth but are obeying unrighteousness; affliction and distress for every human being who does evil, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. There is no favoritism with God.
All those who sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all those who sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For the hearers of the law are not righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be declared righteous. So, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, instinctively do what the law demands, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences confirm this. Their competing thoughts will either accuse or excuse them on the day when God judges what people have kept secret, according to my gospel through Christ Jesus."
Romans 2:1-16

Today's Message: Slave or Sinner - Part 4

Beloved, I entrust that each of you gave some thought
on our final word last time, not only briefly, but that you
allowed some time to really meditate on it, to change you, that it would
cause us all strive to become a better people, a people more like Christ
Who by the demonstration of His own life, is to be our example.

As we continue today in our study of the book of Romans chapter 2, I pray we have not forgotten what we have already learned, thus far, but that we will continue to build upon that foundation. I pray we concentrate on the reality that is found in His Word. That we see that in fact, this series, is God’s very message to all of us. We are not dealing with some kind of second-hand commentary on what God thinks, this is His own precious Word. To you you and to me. And the Scripture claims for itself that every word of God is pure and that all Scripture is given to perfect the man of God.  And so as we approach the Word of God today, may we hear God speak to our own perfection.

If you'll recall, that last time, we discussed God's goodness, patience, mercy and long suffering toward us. And that if we didn’t have examples of the consequence of sin, we would go on blissfully trading without a thought on His mercy. So today, I hope to be making some more points in regard to that, and I hope to do that, as we continue studying the additional verses in our text, Romans 2:1-16.

Let's begin today by looking at I Corinthians 10, I think, no I pray, I am able to clearly illustrate this truth to you. I Corinthians 10, talks about the people who committed fornication, and when they committed fornication, God took the life of 23,000 of them. Why did God kill 23,000 idolatrous, fornicating people? Why? In verse 11-12: "Now these things happened to them as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So, whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall." "So, that whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to..."
Fall, not to fall. "...must be careful not to fall." So why are there throughout the Old Testament and even into the New Testament, these illustrations of God’s instantaneous wrath? They’re examples and God does them to show us what should happen to all of us and to build in our hearts attitudes of thanksgiving. And repentance. He desires us to be thankful that He hasn't done it to us, and repent.

Every day I'm alive I make it a point to say, "Thank You, God. Thank You for being so merciful and overlooking my sin yesterday that should have caused my death and eternal judgment. And yet You have allowed me to be awakened again today. Thank You!"  Let me tell you something, there is not one of us, not even one, who would never tolerate the insubordination from others, that God tolerates from every one of us, every single day.  Not one, and if you're being honest, you all know that that is true. The way in which we trample on His mercy, daily, even with these examples.  Can you just imagine if there weren’t these examples what would happen? I shutter to even think about that. I mean seriously, just imagine what the world would look like, if no one, even Christians, considered the consequences of sin, even once. Ultimate corruption in it's highest form, that's what we'd have.

I think this is such a powerful passage, and rather graphic, Luke 13 verse 1. "At that time, some people came and reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices." So some people come to Jesus and they tell Him something.  They tell Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.  Now, some Galileans came down apparently to the temple and they were Jews and they came into the temple to offer their sacrifices, and there they were doing their normal religious activities, and Pilate moved into the temple and slaughtered them so that the blood pouring out of their bodies was actually mingled with the blood of the their sacrifices.  Right in the moment, when they were worshiping their God, he slaughtered them, right on the altar.

OK so, people are crowding around Jesus, but they’re not asking about Pilate’s cruelty, they’re asking about God’s justice, and they’re saying, "What about that?  I mean what about those Galileans and Pilate, that pagan, that desecrated person comes in and slaughters them in the midst of their sacrifice.  I mean how can God allow that?"  And I think what they’re saying is, "Were those people extremely wicked?  Were they terrible sinners?  Were they more vile than everybody else?  I mean why did they suffer that way?  Where was God in all of this?  I mean was God off some where saying, ‘Oh, I forgot about those Galileans in there and Pilate got them before I could think about it’?  Or was God saying, ‘You’re more wicked than everybody else and you’re so evil, you are going to get it right here in the midst of your phony religious activity’?" I mean, after all, Scripture teaches, "The wages of sin, is death." Right?

So then, we have Jesus answering them, "And He responded to them, “Do you think that these Galileans were more sinful than all Galileans because they suffered these things? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well!" Did you even see what He just said?  He said, "Hey, they aren’t any worse than you, so unless you repent, you’re going to get the same thing." Do you get what He was saying? He was saying, "They were examples.  They got justice as an illustration of what all the rest of them were going to get if they didn’t repent. They weren’t worse than anybody else. They were chosen examples that God elected to use as illustrations, so you had better repent, or you can expect the same to happen to you."

Think about that for moment... because it's the same standard for all of us today. It hasn't changed.
That's such an incredibly powerful statement from our Lord, Jesus. Isn't it? We somehow, have deceived ourselves into believing we are better than others, yet we're guilty of the same. That's a tragic error, as we can see here. A horribly tragic mistake, and yet, we all do it, every day! It is my prayer, that everyone of us, are learning that from this series. Myself included, because we really need to get this. We really do, or we too will suffer the consequences of our actions.

Or maybe they were saying, "What about those 18 people upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them?" Can you imagine that? I mean that would be in the headlines today if such a thing were to happen. "Breaking News: Eighteen people, who were just walking down the road and some big tower is there, and it just starts to go down, and it falls upon the 18 people. These 18 people had wives and husbands and kids, and because of this horrible tragedy, their lives are now gone. Story at 11pm." I mean, think about it, out of nowhere, the tower just fell on them and it killed them and I mean they weren’t sinning, they weren't doing anything, they were just walking down the street. I mean they committing any evil and yet, the tower fell and they died. Are you thinking that they were sinners above everybody else? Do you think they were worse than everybody else? No, no. Unless you repent, you’re going to perish just like they did.

Do you see the point that He’s making? They’re not worse than anybody else, including you. They’re just illustrations of what you all ought to be getting. That’s all.  Do you understand? The problem is we are so used to His mercy, so used to His grace, that we actually think His justice is somehow unjust.  History totally affirms God’s goodness. But to some, He has given the role of being the example to warn the rest of us about our sin’s just consequence and to make all men grateful and repentant, because that it hasn’t happened to them, yet.

So, let's turn back to Romans 2,verse 5, and we see that if you refuse God’s goodness, if you refuse to be led to repentance by His goodness, if you will not come to thank Him and to come to Christ, then your hard and unconverted heart is just storing up wrath, and you may be surviving it right now but in the day of wrath when the fullness of wrath is revealed, in the righteous judgment of God at the great white throne, all Hell is going to break loose on you. The ones who are not repenting are piling up a storehouse of sin and judgment, laid up little by little. Beloved, what an illusion.  Because God is merciful, people think that everything is going fine, that instead of being driven to repentance over God being so kind to them as sinners, they think that just because things are going well right now, that they’re really okay and they’re fine and everything is wonderful. A deceiving illusion. And so they continue to tread on His mercy, only to find that the day has atlas come, and they end up with His full fury unleashed upon them. That's a terribly disturbing, horrifying thought.

The phrase "a hard and impenitent heart" I find this interesting.  The word "hard" there is sklrots. And we get sclerosis from it, hardening of the arteries, arteriosclerosis, or sclerosis of the liver as well. Hardening of the arteries may take you to the grave, but hardening of the heart will take you to hell, and then he calls it an impenitent, a non-repentant, unconverted, unchanged heart.  Ezekiel talked about the fact that the people had a stony heart, in Ezekiel 36:26. Then in Ezekiel 3:7, he talks about Israel’s being hardhearted. Jesus talked about hard hearts, Matthew 19:8, Mark 3:5, Mark 6:52, Mark 8:17, and John 12:40.

And the writer of Hebrews chapter 3 and in chapter 4, calls three times, harden not your hearts. Harden not your hearts.  Don’t become cold and indifferent, because all you’re doing is storing up God's wrath to fall upon yourself.  In other words, that you’re responsible for it, you’re doing it to yourself.  You’re storing up God's divine fury that will break loose on the day of wrath, which is further defined as that day when righteous judgment is fully revealed, and I believe that has to be the great white throne.  In Revelation 20, it tells us that the Lord calls together all the wicked dead from everywhere and to the throne and they are judged out of the books in which is the record of their deeds and they are cast forever into the Lake of Fire with the devil and his angels.

In Psalm 9 verse 7, the Scripture says, "But the Lord sits enthroned forever; He has established His throne for judgment."  Then in Psalm 96:13, it says, "for He is coming—for He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with His faithfulness.

And those are just two of multitudes of Scriptures throughout the entire Bible that tell us that God is coming one day to judge the world. And though the final judgment day is given many different titles in Scripture. It is the day of His judgement nonetheless. Here in Romans chapter 2 and in chapter 6 of Revelation, it is called the day of wrath. Here in Romans chapter 2, verse 5, it is called the revelation of the righteous judgment of God. In II Peter 3:7, it is called the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. In Jude 6, it is called the great day. But by whatever terminology, there is coming an inevitable day when God will judge the world.

The apostle Paul tells us in II Timothy chapter 4 and verse 1 that it will occur at the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. He writes, "I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and because of His appearing and His kingdom." God will judge, and God will judge when Jesus Christ returns. In II Thessalonians chapter 1 verse 7-8, it says, "and to reward with rest you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels, taking vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus."

This final judgment is described in detail in Revelation, chapter 20, verses 11 -15, where John says, "Then I saw a great white throne and One seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from His presence, and no place was found for them. I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged according to their works by what was written in the books. Then the sea gave up its dead, and Death and Hades gave up their dead; all were judged according to their works. Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And anyone not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire."

And there, within those verses, we have a rather explicit look at the coming day of judgment when the Lord Jesus Christ returns.

And then, in Matthew chapter 13 verses 41 through 43, we read, "The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather from His kingdom everything that causes sin and those guilty of lawlessness.They will throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. Anyone who has ears should listen!"

New Testament says, “It is appointed unto men once to die and after this, the judgment,” so that all of human history moves inexorably and unavoidably toward the final sentencing. The writer of Hebrews warned, then, of a fearful judgment of fiery indignation which would devour God’s adversaries. And he records in the 10th chapter of Hebrews these words, “Vengeance belongs unto Me, I will recompense, says the Lord, and again the Lord shall judge His people.” And then he says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” 
God will judge and God will judge all man, and if that’s true, we need to know that, and so God has constantly in the pages of Scripture warned us. But a question of great importance now faces us. If all men will face the judgment of God, what, then, will be the standard for that judgment? How is it that He is going to judge us?  What criterion will He use? What are the elements of judgment?  On what basis will men be condemned and sent to hell forever?  And on what basis will men be sent to heaven forever?

Well, it is my belief the basis of judgment is clearly given in the first 16 verses of the second chapter of Romans. Within these 16 verses, the apostle Paul gives us six principles for divine judgment, the six factors by which God judges men. Allow me to just remind you of the six, and then we’ll pick it up where we left off last time.  Number one, God judges on the basis of knowledge. Secondly, on the basis of truth. Thirdly, on the basis of guilt.  Fourthly, on the basis of deeds. Fifthly, on the basis of impartiality, and sixthly, on the basis of motives.

Ok, so keep in mind as we are looking at this second chapter of Romans, that this chapter is not in isolation but is a part of a much larger picture in which Paul presents the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you'll recall, in chapter 1 verse 16, he brought up the gospel of Jesus Christ. And then beginning in verse 18, he starts to explain what it is. "Gospel" which means good news, but before you can hear the good news, you have to hear the bad news. Isn't that true? And so chapter 1 and 2 and even the first part of chapter 3, the news is all bad. The point being that man is sinful, he is immoral.  Even at his highest, most ethical point, he falls terribly short of God’s standard, and he is under the stain and the condemnation of sin. So that when you come to chapter 3 verse 19, you read this: "Now we know that whatever the law says speaks to those who are subject to the law,so that every mouth may be shut and the whole world may become subject to God’s judgment. For no one will be justified in His sight by the works of the law, because the knowledge of sin comes through the law."

In other words, the first three chapters are designed to stop every mouth so that there is nobody who can claim that he is exempt from God’s judgment. There is no one who can claim that he doesn’t need to be evaluated by the divine standard. So basically from Romans chapter 1:18 all the way through chapter 3:20, we have all bad news. Now, that is really a set-up, as I’m sure you know if you’ve studied the book of Romans, because in chapter 3 verse 21 the finally the good news, and it begins to talk about how Christ saves man from his lostness. 

When we looked back at chapter 1, we basically saw a condemnation of pagan man, immoral man. But now, as we’re looking at chapter 2, we’re seeing more of an emphasis on the outwardly moral, religious, self-righteous man. Those who believe, because of their self-righteous view of themselves, are except from God's judgement. But both, in the end, wind up in the same category, both are condemned. So, whether an immoral, pagan, debased lifestyle such as chapter 1 verses 18 to 32 or an outwardly moral, religious, self-righteous lifestyle such as in chapter 2, it all ends up the same. Man is a sinner and is therefore, condemned to judgment.

Now let’s go back and look at these single elements that make up the six principles of judgment. In verse 1, we're reminded that God will judge according to knowledge, do you remember that? "Therefore, any one of you who judges is without excuse. For when you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things."

So, in other words, God is going to judge you on the basis of what you know. And the fact that you know enough to be judged is indicated by the fact that you are judgemental of other people, and if you judge others, then you obviously must know the standard.  He’s speaking most particularly to the Jew who would sit in condemnation on the Gentile, and that he would agree with verses 18 to 32 of chapter 1. He would agree that the Gentile should be condemned for his actions, only he would hold himself as apart from such condemnation, and in fact, Paul is telling him, he is equally condemned because if he can judge another, then he knows the standard and by knowing the standard, he does the very same things. So God will judge men according to their knowledge, and we went into the detail of that.

Then, secondly, God judges according to truth. "We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is based on the truth.  Do you really think—anyone of you who judges those who do such things yet do the same—that you will escape God’s judgment?"

So there is the hypocrite’s hope is that God will not judge on the basis of truth, He will judge on the basis of the surface delusion.  But beloved, God will not judge based upon that,  He will judge solely on the basis of the truth.  He will not exonerate people for a form of godliness, for an outward appearance of godliness, He will judge on the basis of an inward reality, of which no man can hide from the truth of what is inside him from God. 

In Job 8:13, it says, "The hypocrite’s hope shall perish." In Job 36:13, it says, "The hypocrites in heart heap up wrath." So God will judge by knowledge as revealed in the ability we have to hold other people to a standard, and God will judge by truth, the real facts, not the façade that is presented to the world. Then, thirdly, God will judge on the basis of guilt. We talked about that in verses 4 and 5, "Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? But because of your hardness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed."

And here what he’s saying is you’re guilty of despising the goodness of God.  God has been merciful and gracious and kind and loving and patient, but instead of you following that goodness, which is leading to repentance, your hard and unconverted heart, is rejecting it, so you have been piling up wrath which will be poured out on the day of judgment and so, you are guilty of the most severe form of abuse of God’s grace.

And now, we're picking it up from there, for our study today. And, allow to apologize ahead of time, because this is so vitally important, I want to go as far as I can, with breaking it up. So, this may take a bit longer than some messages, you're used to.

Next, God judges on the basis of deeds. He judges on the basis of deeds. In verse 6-11, please follow along, as I read it to you: "He will repay each one according to his works: eternal life to those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality; but wrath and indignation to those who are self-seeking and disobey the truth but are obeying unrighteousness;  affliction and distress for every human being who does evil, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. There is no favoritism with God." That’s the key verse. He will render to every man according to his deeds. 

Now let's examine them more closely, look at verse 6. God will render to every man according to his deeds. And then in verse 7, to them who by patient continuance and well doing seek for glory, honor and immortality, eternal life. But to them that are contentious and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath. And then he repeats essentially similar thoughts and says it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Jew or a Greek, it’s all going to come out the same because God has no respect of persons. Now, this passage is very simple at first reading but it has some very complex theological thought that goes into it, so I pray that the Lord will really lead us as we carefully think these through.

So we saw when we read Revelation 20 that God is going to judge men according to their works. It actually said it twice, according to their works, according to their works. And this is saying the very same thing. The basic truth is in verse 6: Men will be judged according to their deeds, their works. So that is not some new concept. That is a concept runs all throughout the Scripture.  In Jeremiah 17:10, it says, "I, Yahweh, examine the mind, I test the heart to give to each according to his way, according to what his actions deserve." Then in Isaiah 3:10-11, it says, "Tell the righteous that it will go well for them, for they will eat the fruit of their labor. Woe to the wicked—it will go badly for them, for what they have done will be done to them."

Then, the Old Testament, tells us that God will judge on the basis of the product, the works, the deeds, the life pattern of an individual. And I'm aware, that many of you may say, "Well, pastor Brian, that’s really just an Old Testament thought though, isn’t it?  I mean, that’s certainly not New Testament, so that isn't really applicable today, right?" Let me just say this, No, and NO. It’s equally Old Testament and New Testament, in that God will judge men on the basis of their works. Regardless of the particular Testament, the standard for the principles of judgement, it applies to them both. Speaking of that great time of judgment in the future.
Then, Matthew chapter 16, and I want to share with you some verses here.  You don’t need to turn to them, but you might want to jot them down, it be very helpful for reviewing later on,, on your own. I want to share with you these verses in the New Testament that emphasize that same truth. In Matthew 16:27-28, it says, "For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will reward each according to what he has done. I assure you: There are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."  Same concept, according to his works. And even in I Corinthians 3:8-15, a familiar passage to all of us, we find that each of us shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.  "Now the one planting and the one watering are one in purpose, and each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s coworkers.You are God’s field, God’s building. According to God’s grace that was given to me, I have laid a foundation as a skilled master builder, and another builds on it. But each one must be careful how he builds on it. For no one can lay any other foundation than what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on that foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, each one’s work will become obvious, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. If anyone’s work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, it will be lost, but he will be saved; yet it will be like an escape through fire."

And then II Corinthians chapter 5 verse 10, we read similarly: "For we must all appear before the tribunal of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or worthless." And even in Galatians, that great epistle extolling grace, says this in chapter 6 verses 7 through 10, "Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit  So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith." And you find the same principle elsewhere in the New Testament. There is a place for works in judgment, both of the unbeliever and the believer. In Romans 14:12 it says, "So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God." So, now let’s all turn back to the book of Romans 2.

So regardless of whether you’re looking in the Old Testament or the New Testament, and those are just small sample of the Scriptures, you will find many, many more of them, that remind us that God will judge men on the basis of their deeds. Now, the primary thrust here is that God does not judge us on the basis of our profession. He does not judge us on the basis of our relationships.  He does not judge the Jew on the basis of his Abrahamic heritage.  He does not judge you on the basis of your identification with a church.  He judges on the basis of the product of your life. The question will not be whether a man is a Jew or whether he’s a Gentile, whether he is heathen, whether he is religious, whether he goes to church or doesn’t go to church, the issue is, and please pay close attention here: Does his life manifest obedience to God?  That's it, right there, that is the issue we all face.

The actions of men form an infallible index to their character.  That is what the Scripture says over and over and over again, and again, by their fruit you shall what?  That's right, by their fruit, you shall know them.  The works and the deeds of life are an infallible index to character, and so this forms one of the unchanging standards by which God judges. The patterns, if you will, of our actions In fact, you might say there are only two classes of people in the world, that’s all, just two. A very old friend of mine always used to say it this way, "There's the saints and the ain'ts." So, there are only two classes of people in the world: Those who obey God and those who do not obey God. There's nothing in between. And allow me to make this statement, there are none of us, that perfectly obeys God, however, there are some people in the world who don’t obey God at all and then there are others who seek to obey. Those are the two kinds of people. So every man alive, faces an impartial judge who has an extensive and comprehensive record of that particular man’s deeds. All of them, every single one. And it is by that record, that will decide his eternal destiny, it will be determined, by the impartial, and perfect judge.

God has, already in His possession, a book about everybody’s life that is absolutely accurate, in exquisite detail, and it is so on target that it has record, of every imperfection on which shall God judge. Now, I can see some of you are getting a little nervous, squirming around in your seats. And quite honestly, you should be. We all should be. I know, you’re saying, "Pastor Brian, you sound like one of works, righteous kind of people now." And those of you who have been here for any time know that I’m not, not at all, so let me try to explain to help you a bit. Somebody is going to say, "That's, salvation by works." It's not the first time, I’ve been accused of teaching that before. Then, someone’s going to say, "You’re talking about a works salvation then, right?" No, I am certainly not talking about that, do you know why? Because the Bible doesn’t teach that, that's why! The Bible doesn’t teach that you can be saved by your works. In fact, the Bible teaches just the opposite. Not of works lest any man should boast. The Bible has not and never will teach salvation by works, not matter how some preacher try to twist Scripture. But, in Psalm 115:1, it says, "Not to us, Yahweh, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of Your faithful love, because of Your truth."
So, in other words, for whatever we are, whatever we do, the glory is not ours, it's not unto us – “not to us but to Your name.”

In the Book of the prophet Isaiah, we find another indication of a thought of the writer in the Old Testament in regard to this subject.  In Chapter 48 verse 11, "I will act for My own sake, indeed, My own, for how can I be defiled? I will not give My glory to another."  In other words, God says, “I will do what I will do, I will save and I will fulfill My promise for My sake, and I will not give it to someone else to do that, lest I give My glory to another." So to maintain God’s glory for Himself in saving grace, so the bottom line is there cannot be any works salvation. Does everyone understand that now? It just can not happen, according to God's infallible Word, period. Don't allow anyone to try to convince you otherwise. It's just not true, God's Word has the final Word. The be all end all of all disputes on this.

Then, in Jeremiah 31:31-34, we have the great statement of the new covenant. "Look, the days are coming”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. This one will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant they broke even though I had married them”—the Lord’s declaration. “Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days”—the Lord’s declaration. “I will put My teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will one teach his neighbor or his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest of them”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “For I will forgive their wrongdoing and never again remember their sin."

In other words, God says, "I’ll do it. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor and every man his brother saying know the Lord for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more." The essence of that new covenant is that it is a covenant of mercy and grace extended to unworthy people.

Now look at this, in the New Testament, we find the very same thing. Again, there can be no works salvation. In I Timothy 1:15, Paul says, "This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them. But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate His extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life."
What? "....and I am the worst of them. But I received mercy..."  And Ephesians 2:8-9 sums it up pretty well I think. "For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast."

I ask that you listen to this very carefully, so that you understand this. We’re building up to a very important truth. We will be judged by our works, says Romans 6 and I’ll get into the specifics of that here in just a moment but we cannot be saved by our works. So if you say, "If that’s the case, then how do works fit in? Or do they even fit in?" Although we cannot be saved by works, works are a very important part of our life. In Philippians chapter 2:12-13, "So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose." It says you must show some works. You must work out on the outside the salvation that you’ve received on the inside.  In Ephesians 2, it says this right after verse 9: "not from works, so that no one can boast." it says, "For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them."

So what is it  these verses saying? And let me tell you, there is myriad other ones in the New Testament. They’re saying this: You cannot be saved by works, but you will be saved unto works, do you get that? In other words, that if you are truly saved, you will be His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that you walk in them. Therefore God, when God judges, can look at a man and if He sees the works, He knows that true salvation has been accomplished. It is not that you’re saved by works, it is that you’re saved unto good works. A person’s deeds, a person’s works, reveal whether he has been truly saved, and they are the absolute infallible indicator of our salvation  So an unbeliever will be judged by his works, his deeds, and they will reveal his unbelief. They will reveal the absence of God's presence in his life because all of his works will be unrighteous.  And even when he tries to be righteous, it will turn out to be filthy rags. So all God has to do is look at the works. 

And, if He sees works that are manifestations of righteousness, He knows there is a regenerated person. If He sees no such manifestation of righteousness, He knows there is an unregenerate person. Therefore, judgment in the end can be rendered on the basis of works. The believer, the one who by faith has been given the power of God to produce righteous works, will be clearly indicated by those works of righteousness. So the deeds, then, of a person, what you do in your life, is a fair indicator of where you stand with God. 

As we start to approach verses 6 to 10, and then just close with just a thought about verse 11, I want you to understand one very important thing. Paul is not talking about salvation here, so get that out of your mind or you’ll be confused. He doesn’t talk about salvation until chapter 3 verse 21. He is simply dealing with one of the elements of judgment.  He doesn’t say how the righteous people got righteous or he doesn’t say why the unrighteous people were unrighteous, he just says you can judge them by their works. A true Christian is known by his righteous deeds. A non-Christian is known by the absence of righteous deeds. Now, what does that say to you?  Simple thought. If there’s nothing in your life to indicate righteousness, then there’s no righteousness there. "For if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation." A what? A new creation. Old things are passed away and behold all things have become new. If there’s no manifestation, there can be no salvation. 

here may be periods of time when we walk in disobedience and the flesh, but there cannot be a life that is barren of righteous deeds that can still claim to be redeemed.  And notice there’s no neutrality, either.  Jesus said, "Anyone who is not with Me is against Me, and anyone who does not gather with Me scatters." Matthew 12:30.

Now let’s look at the two sides of this. First of all, those whose deeds manifest that they receive eternal life, and second, those whose deeds manifest that they are the recipients of wrath. First of all, those who receive eternal life, and this is a marvelous verse, verse 7:  "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, I give eternal life." Now, I really want you to listen to this, beloved. This is such an important, critical verse, and so many people commonly misunderstand the standard of salvation. Eternal life belongs to those who, by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory and honor and immortality or incorruption. That is the mark of a believer. And those three terms in verse 7 are just magnificent terms. In a sense they’re distinct and in a sense they’re interwoven and indistinct.  For glory and honor and immortality could all kind of be wrapped up into the same thing.
Let me see if I can just give some meaning to them that gives them some bit of difference. First of all is glory. The highest and most wonderful goal of a believer is glory. He seeks to glorify God. He seeks to attain unto the glory of God someday. He seeks, as I Corinthians 10:31 says, "in whatever he does to do it all to the glory of God." So, what does that mean? Glory essentially, is to manifest the essence or nature or character of God, and the believer seeks to be a vessel through which God can be manifest, through which God’s glory can be seen in that person. That’s his desire.

Somebody who doesn’t have the desire to glorify God cannot be truly a Christian because that is basic to the desire of a true believer. And yet so many times, you know, we have all said it at some point, Well, I know they don’t have any desire to glorify God, but once upon a time they made a decision or once upon a time they used to go to church" or whatever, but the mark, Paul says, is patient continuance in well doing and seeking that God would be glorified in it. They seek glory. They seek it even in its fullest sense, that in that incredible reality of the future day when we see Jesus Christ, we will be transformed into His own image and eternally without flaw will radiate His magnificent glory. That's the goal of a true Christian, to reflect God’s glory, and if that’s true, then his life will manifest enough of a righteous pattern that God can judge him on that basis and say, That’s a true believer.

So, that’s very close to glory, and I guess, in some sense, you could actually say that it’s the result of glory. So, to reflect the glory of God is to receive divine honor, is to receive the honor that God gives, the blessedness that God gives. I don’t know about you, I can only speak for myself here, but I seek to be honored by God! I seek that God would be well pleased and say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Man, do I want that. That, "Hey, you really did a good job for me."  Don't you?
I man, imagine, Almighty God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, saying to you, "Well, done my good and faithful servant." And so as you seek to manifest the glory of God, that marvelous reality of what He is through your life, you also seek that God should honor and reward such faithfulness because that’s what He’s promised.  And then ultimately, we seek incorruption when full glory and full honor is realized in the resurrection when we are like Jesus Christ.  So we could spend time on each one of these terms, going all through Scripture, each of these terms, but what he’s saying, is a true believer patiently continues in doing good works because he seeks after glory and honor and immortality. 

The true objective of the saint is to live for that which is eternal.  As Colossians 3 says, "He sets his affections on things above." That is an upward Godly perspective. These three terms describe a person with divine aspirations. The highest level of the Christian’s life is to aspire to glorify God, to receive honor from God, and to enter into the incorruption of ultimate immortality and being transformed into the image of Christ. This is not only the goal of our life here, but the goal of our life in the future. Now, when God looks at a life and He sees a life that seeks glory and He sees a life that seeks to be honored by God and not men and he seeks a life that longs for immortality that isn’t bound to this earth, it longs for incorruption, it isn’t engulfed in corruption, it seeks the heavenly dimension, to that He gives eternal life. That is the standard by which God will judge. So, Paul isn’t saying anything about how a person like this is produced. He's just saying you can judge that person by their works and say whether or not, they have been redeemed.

He’s not talking about how they got that way, he’s just saying it’s fair and efficient way to judge them by those righteous patterns.  And He gives them eternal life.  In the future we’ll try to do a extensive study on what eternal life means, but eternal life basically means the life of God in the soul of man forever. 

In the simplest of terms, eternal life is not the quantity of life, it’s the quality of life. It is the life of God in the soul of man. The life of God in the soul of man will always produce a righteous pattern.  And if you have an unrighteous pattern in your life, you are fighting against the very nature, that God has created in you in salvation. It’s like holding your breath. But it’s a lot more difficult than breathing. Once Christ comes to live in your life, there’s a sense in which the flow of God’s life should dominate, and we fight it and resist it, we rebel against it in our human sinfulness.

God says in the final judgment, ultimately, when we say eternal life or eternal death, eternal life – and this is talking about it in its fullness because a Christian already has eternal life, right? He that believes has eternal life. But in the ultimate sense, in the final sense, when final sentence is given, we who receive eternal life will receive it because God has looked at our life from this perspective and seen a patient continuing in well doing as we have sought for glory and honor and incorruption. There is a perseverance there, there is an obedience there, there is a constant seeking of God.

Aspiration without good works is presumption. So there are people whose aim is heavenward, they've set their minds on the things that are above, and as such, they will be judged by the life that God has produced in them because they have done well. You can go all the way back, to even with Adam and you can go all the way up to today and there will be a patient continual seeking to do what is right in the heart of a true believer. It is made manifest by their works, or deeds. That is the pattern of the life of a believer. A manifestation of righteousness and it's reflective of God's glory.

Beloved, at the time of judgment, that day in the future, when God sends the righteous into His eternal heaven and the unrighteous into an eternal hell, the ones who enter into eternal heaven will be those who have "sought." They have sought. They seek for glory. That's not say they deserve it. They just sought it. They had high aspirations for what was heavenly and godly. They sought for glory and honor and incorruption. And maybe they never fully achieved it,  but they kept striving for it, nonetheless. And they’ll receive the glory and the honor and the peace of eternal life for they are the ones that have worked good. And I submit to you that if there is no such good work visible in a life, then there is no genuine salvation.  If this text says anything at all to us, it says that. And if it doesn’t say that, then it just doesn’t say anything at all. We will be rewarded, for our deeds because they are the proof of the righteousness that is within us. And in the third chapter, he’ll tell us how to get the righteousness of God within us, and this applies to the Jew first and also to the Gentile. God will give heavenly and eternal blessing to the Jew and the Gentile. 

The Jew thought the Gentile would be shut out. No, the Jew had a priority in the covenant, the Jew was first in the priority of the covenant. The Jew was first in chronology as Christ came first to the Jew. But may I hasten to add that because of their priority in salvation, they also have a priority in judgment, and theirs will be a severer condemnation if they reject. And that is the meaning of Amos 3:2, where he says, "I have known only you out of all the clans of the earth; therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities."

And that's where the majority of people stop there. "You only" speaks to Israel. "I have known only you out of all the clans of the earth; you’re the family that I have made My own," and the word "know" means an intimate love relationship, "I have known only you out of all the clans of the earth; And then He says, "Therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities." There’s a more severe punishment on Israel because of the intimacy they shared with God. So they are first in salvation opportunity and they are first in judgment responsibility. There’s no exemption for the Jew or the Gentile, no exemption for the moral man, the religious man, they don’t make it any easier on Him, they have just made it harder.
Now, looking at the second group, the works of those who receive wrath, in Roman 2, verses 8 and 9. And they’re kind of sandwiched in between, the middle of those other two verses. "but wrath and indignation to those who are self-seeking and disobey the truth but are obeying unrighteousness; affliction and distress for every human being who does evil, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek; That’s the Holman translation, which is the one I typically use, as it reflects and accurate and also easier to understand translation, that some of the others. So, there is the distinguishing, between those who by their good works prove they have sought God are contrasted with those who by their evil works prove they have sought self. They are characterized by three terms. The basic concept here, is self-seeking. The first characterization of an unrighteous person is that he is utterly wrapped up in whatever pleases himself. What satisfies me? What makes me feel good? What makes me happy? And as II Timothy 3:2 says that men will be lovers of their own selves. And this is the basic problem of unregenerate man, he is totally wrapped up in himself. And as disheartening as that is, it seems to be a running theme, in today's world. What I typically refer to as "Generation Selfie", because it's typically all about them and no one else. I, this, me, that, never an us or a we, just ME.

The Lord died, it said in II Corinthians 5:15, "And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised." So then, you have a person, who is totally self-seeking and self-pleasing, of course, that would lead to indignation, having an indignant attitude toward the Lord. It would lead to a spirit of rebellion, and that’s what you have in the second thought. Indignation, from the Greek root means to rush along, to be in a hurry, to be in a heat or a sweat, to breathe violently. It is someone moving fast, breathing violently, hurrying, sweating. It is the word, by the way,  to describe Pharaoh’s desire to kill Moses, Hebrews 11:27.

Ok, so, now look at it in verse 8: "They do not obey the truth."  If you’re self-seeking, self-pleasing person, you’re going to resist what God says.  God speaks the truth, and you say, "I’m not interested in what You want, I’m going to do what I want." They don’t obey the truth.  It doesn’t say why in this passage, it just says they don’t.  And we’re only looking at the deeds here.  They just don’t obey the truth.  Man rebels against God, his reactive nature is against God, he is quarrelsome with God, if you will, and this reflects the overall self-serving, egotism of sinfulness.

And then, there’s a third phrase. Not only does he not obey the truth but he does obey unrighteousness. No man lives in a vacuum, you either do right or wrong, you just can’t go down the middle. This is the natural flow of life. First there is rebellion, and then out of that rebellion comes disobedience, and then comes harrowing sinfulness as the life simply goes toward unrighteous behavior.

Now just listen, the road to hell, is very simply defined. That it is the spirit of antagonism toward the lordship of Jesus Christ.  Do you get that?  The road to hell is basically a spirit of antagonism toward the lordship of Christ.  You will not respond, but you will rebel.  You will not obey, but you will disobey.  Please,  listen carefully here, I really do want you to get this.  If the road to hell is a spirit of antagonism toward the lordship of Christ, then the road to heaven must be the opposite, it is an attitude of submission to the lordship of Christ, and this is precisely what this is saying.

God wants you to seek for glory and honor and incorruption.  God wants mans heart to seek the heavenly, godly, that which is above.  And let's be honest,  though we don’t always attain, there is within us, that seeking heart, continuously trying.  And when we fail, we feel a sense of brokenness.  If an unregenerate person is one who rebels against the lordship of Christ, then a Christian has to be the opposite of that, by character.  That is clearly the message of the text. Eternal life belongs to those who show the work of God in their hearts by living under the obedience of the lordship of Christ.  Those who refuse to do so are the unregenerate and those who receive wrath. That's why sin is a vile an attack against God and calls for His holy reaction.

And the word "wrath," which is another term for anger, yet a little different.  It means to reach a heightened pitch of fury.  It is the literal end of mercy.  It is the end of grace.  In terms of God’s patience and God’s tolerance, He's just done, now there's a swelling, furious rage, a final anger. And so you can see by these terms that God is talking about a great fury of anger against those whose works reflect an earthward attitude and a denial of God.

Then, in verse 9, "Tribulation and anguish."  He adds those as if we don’t have enough words.  Tribulation, thlipsis.  It means to put pressure on something or to press it.  It is used in Acts 11:19 of the crushing persecution of the early church.  It is used of the struggles of saints in Romans 12:12.  It is used of Paul’s being persecuted nearly to death in II Corinthians 1:8.  It is used of Christ’s sufferings in Colossians 1:24 as He was put through tribulation, pressing pressure, oppression.  It always carries the idea of affliction – affliction.  It can refer to an inner or an outer affliction but affliction is the idea.

And then anguish is a most interesting word, a common Greek word for narrow, meaning the narrowness of a place, a confined, narrow place, limited.  Think of it this way:  God is going to be angry.  His fury is going to reach a fever pitch, in verse 8.  In verse 9, the result of that is going to be affliction in a narrow place.  I can’t think of a better definition of hell than that.  Affliction in a narrow, confined, imprisoned place, a confinement and imprisonment that produces a powerful, fearful pain.  That’s why the New Testament says hell is an everlasting punishment, an everlasting fire, a furnace of fire, a lake of fire, fire and brimstone, an unquenchable fire, a place of suffering where the worm dies not, the fire is not quenched, there’s weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth.  It is anguish in a confined imprisonment, and it will come upon every soul of man that does evil – everyone whose life pattern is continually evil, everyone whose mode of living is that of an unrighteous behavior, people filled with selfish ambition, refusing to obey the lordship of Christ, wrath and anger.

So we know that God judges and He judges according to deeds just as He judges according to guilt, as He judges according to truth, and He judges according to knowledge.  And a person’s deeds, as we said long ago, are the inflexible, infallible indicator of their life.  Look at David.  David committed terrible sins, but the direction if not the perfection of his life was overall Godward, wasn’t it?  On the other hand, look at Judas.  Judas was outwardly attached to Christ, but the direction of his life was self-centered rebellion and disobedience all the while, even when he was following Christ.  You see, the key thought is that true righteousness produces true good deeds.  And God can judge, then, on the basis of those deeds.  And unrighteousness, no matter how religious it gets, will produce only evil deeds.  And God will have no respect for any person.  He will judge all equally.  There will be an absolute equity in ultimate judgment.

In Closing ......

If you take away anything, I pray that it is, that there is no favoritism with God.

We must all face the truth.  We can tread on mercy now and we will receive fury in the future.  Or we can see mercy for what it is and be grateful and come in a repentant heart to God and turn to Christ.  If the goodness of God toward you is not leading you to repentance, then brick-by-brick, every sin you commit is building up a wall against God’s patience, and it is held together by God’s mercy.  But someday, and I do not believe it will that far off, when the wall breaks, and you will be pummeled in bricks, that you have stored up and the eternal fate of your own sins will be upon you.

All of these passages in Scriptures simply help us to get our focus on the coming judgment which will bring Jesus Christ into His throne, and all the dead of all the ages will be brought to that throne to be judged by Him.  Now, if in fact all men on the face of the earth will face the inevitable judgment, we have something that we should clearly understand.  If all men are to face Jesus Christ in that hour, then we had best know what is necessary to avoid that judgment.

Beloved, but today you have an alternative, right now there is still time. There is the Savior, Jesus Christ, who is waiting if you would only come to Him, with a contrite and repentant heart. He's waiting for you, to give you the precious gift, of salvation. Won't you consider it today, now, while it's still fresh in your mind? I pray that you will.

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
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Brian Monzon Ministries

The Brian Monzon Ministries



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