Paul’s Letter to the Romans Part 12

This entry is part 11 of 15 in the series Paul's Letter to the Romans

It was an easy matter to get the Jew to agree that the gentiles were sinners; but, for his own good, it was necessary for the Jew to see himself as a condemned sinner, else he would not see his need of the gospel.  

Part 12

To convince the Jew that he was a sinner and needed salvation was a task that demanded a good deal of skill. Paul’s first point was that the Jew had no right to condemn the Gentile, for he was also guilty of the same sins. The Jew boasted that he was the object of God’s special favor. Because of this Paul asked, “or despises thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long suffering, not knowing that the goodness of god leadeth thee to repentance?” That is, the goodness of god was intended to lead them to repentance, but they despised it and were treasuring up, or heaping up, wrath for themselves. “Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:6-11). We must not add to the teaching of salvation by works; that, will contradict the doctrine of salvation by grace. On God’s side, our salvation is wholly a matter of grace, for he received no pay for saving us. On our side, salvation is wholly a matter of works, for we cannot furnish grace. Eternal life is to be rendered “to them that by patience in well doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption”. Jesus spoke to the rich young ruler in Luke 18. The ruler asked, “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus’s response was, “Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother…he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me”. When the young man refused the offer, Jesus said, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Who then can be saved? To have eternal life, to be enjoying treasure in heaven, to be in the heavenly Kingdom, and to have eternal salvation are the same. Eternal life is conditional, for eternal life must be sought by patience in well doing. Any person who can think at all should be able to see that, if damnation is conditional, salvation must also be conditional. One cannot be conditional and the other unconditional. If doing wrong causes a person to be lost, then, to be saved he must leave off the wrong and do right. If being lost is conditional, so is being saved. There is no way to escape that conclusion. When the rich young ruler asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus said, “if thou wouldst enter into life, keep the commandments.” If eternal life is not conditional, no one can give a reason why one person is saved and another lost, for there is “no respect of persons with God.”

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