“He (God) will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in welldoing seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life. (Romans 2:6-7)
How do we prepare ourselves for the Day of Judgment? I believe Scripture is clear about that. But first, let’s be clear about the nature of God’s judgment. We know that all of humankind will be judged on the basis of what they have done.
Judgment is an examination of our works – every deed, every action, every thought, every intent, even all things left undone will be carefully scrutinized and objectively judged. It is altogether terrifying. If we are looking for an explanation of how we can harmonize that kind of judgment with the good news of the gospel, the answer is actually quite simple.
We are judged on the basis of our works, but we are saved from judgment on the basis of faith. What does a person who is saved look like? Verse 7 of our passage says, “Those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.” Let us look at each of these characteristics for a moment.
‘To be patient in well-doing seeking glory’ is describing one who is patient to see Christ honoured in all things. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” What ultimately drives us is that we are making known God’s fame, His greatness, and His magnificence and splendour in everything.
We are not perfect in this matter; we ignore it sometimes, but this is our life’s desire. It has, by the grace of God, been deeply imbedded in us. Paul might also be saying that those who are going to heaven are patient in seeking to be honoured themselves. If that is what Paul had in mind, he does not mean being honored before people.
Remember Jesus promised that if we follow Him, people may despise us, even persecute us, or speak evil against us. If you want a great name in this world, might I suggest that Christianity is not your best option. Honour, if it is accorded to us, will come from God who will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, you have been faithful with little, I will put you in charge of much.”
Those who are going to heaven have been faithful to their Saviour and their highest desire rests not here in this world, but in the one to come. So the true believer seeks glory for God, and looks for honour in the life to come. ‘Seeking for immortality’ is the third characteristic of the one who will be rewarded with eternal life.
This will be eternal life that is so rich and full that even death itself cannot destroy it. We are not perfect, or sinless, or without blame, only that every true believer would gladly abandon every earthly thing for heaven. If it becomes illegal to preach the gospel, and the state threatens us with prison, we will preach the gospel.
We would gladly lose this world – but we will not lose the next one. If God says, “Give financially,” we will gladly impoverish ourselves in this world so we can gain the next. If God says, “Follow Me onto the mission field,” then we go. It may be hard; I might need to deny myself of something I would love to have here or I might even be called upon to lay down my life, but I am seeking eternity. The heart of transformed people is that they have their eyes fixed upon the long term goal.
APPLICATION: Does this picture of the person going to heaven describe you? Let us be reminded of the reality of judgment that it may drive us to live for God’s glory, obey the truth and seek to be faithful to Christ until He returns.
SO THE TRUE BELIEVER SEEKS GLORY FOR GOD, AND LOOKS FOR HONOUR IN THE LIFE TO COME.
Dr. John Neufeld
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