Principles of Divine Judgment (3)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Thus far in our study, we have looked at three principles of divine judgment. (See bulletins for the last 2 weeks). In our final installment we want to observe one more important principle relating to God’s divine judgment from Romans 2.

Principle #4: In verse 6 Paul writes that God “will render to every man according to his deeds” [“works” ASV & YLT]. We have already been given these facts: the judgment of God is according to truth (v. 2); it is against all (Jew or Gentile) who practice sin (v. 2); no one shall escape the judgment (v. 3); God’s wrath will be upon those who are hardened and impenitent (v. 5); and that it is called “the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (v. 5). Now we learn that God “will render to every man according to his works.” This is the fourth great principle of God’s judgment.

Those who claim that Paul's special brand of salvation was by faith without any works at all find here an insurmountable denial that he taught any such thing. On the other hand, it is plainly stated in this passage of inspired scripture that one of the great principles of eternal judgment is that God will judge people according to their works.  Moreover, Paul's reason for so emphatically stating this principle in the beginning of Romans seems apparent. Its inspired author was about to write the great dissertation which would stress salvation by faith in Christ, and was about to include many things in it that are capable of being misunderstood and abused (II Pet. 3:16). Accordingly, he took caution here at the very outset to guard against those very misapplications of his words, which the Holy Spirit doubtless foresaw, and which misapplications have become, in these present times, the basic platform of a so-called "gospel" utterly unknown to Paul (Gal. 1:6ff).

Romans 2:6 makes it clear that on the judgment day every man will be rewarded “according to his deeds.” Only the good will be saved and only the bad will be lost (John 5:28-29). This was exactly the same doctrine Paul taught the Corinthians (II Cor. 5:10). John also taught this clearly in Revelation 20:11-13.

The false teaching of “faith only” is at variance with the entire New Testament, and contradictory of Paul’s statement in this verse. Denominational preachers for the most part do not refer to the gospel of salvation by faith, or faith in Christ, or by grace, or by the grace of God. Salvation in those terms was taught by Paul. But instead, reference is made to salvation by "faith alone," "faith only," or by "faith and nothing else.” This great protestant heresy, founded upon the theory of an "imputed righteousness" solely as a result of faith alone, contradicts this verse in this place, as well as countless other plain words of scripture.

As we conclude our thoughts on this matter, I call your attention to John’s description of the judgment scene in the Revelation. “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:11-15).

Paul M. Wilmoth