Agonizomai: Romans Chapter 2<br>Excuse #3 - I Do Many Good Things

Monday, December 22, 2008

Romans Chapter 2
Excuse #3 - I Do Many Good Things
Response: God's judgment of the self-justifying will be according to works.

Romans 2:6-10 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well–doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self–seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.

The world is full of people doing good deeds. Feeding the hungry in Africa, donating to worthy causes, fighting social injustices without number, both at home and abroad. People work and march and carry placards against abortion, discrimination, gun crime, pollution, environmental irresponsibility and many other things. Hurrah! Do you know what Jesus said about such things? He said:
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. {John 15:5}
We need to ask what the Lord means by this. Nothing that is wrought outside of faith in Christ is of any avail. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. {Romans 14:23b} All the good works that people do outside of Christ are sin. Does that mean no good comes of them? Not at all! Let them do things which help, even though they themselves are sinning. Somewhere along the line some moral precept, some motivation towards good, compassion, mercy, brotherhood – whatever – was instilled into them, and it glows like an ember with the faint heat of its True Source, even if they refuse to acknowledge Him. But in eternal terms, as far as the kingdom of God goes, as far as treasure in heaven is concerned, they are fruitless in all their efforts. What they do is not wrought in Christ.

God knows what we are and what we have done in the flesh. His recompense will be exactly right. The torments meted out to wicked men will be no more and no less than their deeds deserve. As I have said, all unregenerate deeds are tainted with evil – even the best of them:
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. - Isaiah 64:6
None of the good works of an unregenerate person are truly righteous. None. There will be many "good" people in hell whose good deeds were not wrought in faith. But their recompense in judgment will be proportional to their motives and their deeds. Human goodness is not God's righteousness and is therefore of no avail in avoiding judgment or condemnation. People are not saved by their so-called "good" works, but they are condemned for their sin.

And for the saint, nothing that is performed in the flesh – through the carnal nature, and not in the Spirit of God – is of any avail either. How much is being and has been done in the flesh within the church? One shudders to think.


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