“But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds:”—Romans 2:5, 6
“To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life… But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile” (Romans 2:7, 10). The judgment of the righteous is described in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15,
“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
Yet, as everyone is guilty of every sin in Romans 1:28-32, the Jew and non-Jew, the religious and the heathen, or the philosopher and the pagan (Romans 2:1-2), that righteousness can therefore only be attained through the justification declared by God in the righteous Sacrifice of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ; which will be explained in great detail from Romans 3:24 onward in the epistle.
If the order of the text is an indication of judgment of God in that day; that is, before the specific judgment of the wicked, as stated in Romans 2:8-9, this judgment of the righteous may present a glimpse of eternal justice in the blessedness of grace. When those who are elect in Christ have been judged first, the entire congregation gathered, both of sheep on the right hand and goats on the left, as well as the entire heavenly host of angels, will witness the grace of God in His judgment for what the Father has decreed in eternity, what Christ has done in redeeming the lost, and what the Holy Spirit has accomplished in sanctifying the elect. When the wicked witness the just judgment of God upon the righteous, the wicked will be without excuse and without defense. When the redeemed witness that God’s just judgment upon themselves was all of grace and nothing else, the redeemed will have nothing to boast in over and against the eternally condemned as they are judged.
“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” (Romans 2:8-9). The judgment of those who are not in Christ, who have not been redeemed by His atoning Sacrifice, who have not been forgiven by the shedding of His precious blood, who have not been declared righteous by the imputation of His perfect life, will be condemned for every idle word, every idolatrous thought, every impure motive, every insidious action.
“For there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:11). God will judge all: the righteous in Christ and the wicked in sin, without partiality and in absolute perfection because He is unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.
LISTEN TO THE SERMON preached on this text on August 16, 2009 at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church.
CLICK HERE to read the previous article in this series, “There is a Judgment Coming” (Romans 2:4-6).