Principles of God's Righteous Judgment (Romans Sermon 10 of 120)
March 12, 2000 | Andrew Davis
I. The Coming Judgment of God: A Great White Throne
Please take your Bibles and open Romans Chapter 2. This morning we are going to continue looking at Romans as we go verse by verse. We're going to look at verses 6-11, "Seeking glory, honor, and immortality."
We don't know a lot about the future, do we? The only things we know about the future, God has told us. Let me tell you something that's in all of our future. It's not from this book, it's from the book of Revelation Chapter 20, "Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from His presence and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne and the books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books." There is coming a day in which all of humanity will be gathered before that throne, as John describes it there in Revelation, and we will be judged. And all of humanity will be divided into two categories, those that receive eternal life, and those that receive eternal condemnation. And since that is going to happen to every one of us, I think it's good for us to understand the principles where by that division is going to be made. And that's the purpose of the text that we're looking at today.
Can you think of anything more significant than talking about that today? Is there anything more important than understanding the way by which God will divide all of humanity into either eternal life or eternal wrath? I can't. And I believe that as we talked about last week, this is exactly what time is all about, that we might have the opportunity to consider these things, and the opportunity to repent and to bring our life in conformity with the will of God. Today is a beautiful day. And it is time from God to bring forth fruit in keeping of repentance. And it is time for us to understand the principles where by God is going to judge our souls. Romans 2:6-11, listen. It says there in verse six, "God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who, by persistence in doing good, seek glory, honor and immortality, He will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking, who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil. First for the Jew, then for the Gentile. But glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good. First for the Jew, then for the Gentile, for God does not show favoritism." It's a weighty text of Scripture, isn't it? Significant words that tell us the principles where by, our souls, will be judged before that great white throne.
Now Romans 1:16, Paul shows his joy in the gospel ministry. He says he's not ashamed of the gospel of God, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. And then blessed verse 17, "For in the gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is from faith to faith. Just as it is written, the righteous will live by faith." Why do I keep reciting this verses? Because that's our only hope. When that great white throne of judgment occurs, the way to survive is told to us in Romans 1:16-17. That you may be clothed in the righteousness that Jesus Christ purchased on the cross. That you may wear that cloak of righteousness and survive that day. That is my prayer. That is my prayer. And Paul tells us in 1:18-32 exactly why the Gentiles, in particular there, need that robe of righteousness. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness, and godlessness, the wickedness of men who suppress the truth in their unrighteousness. They twist the truth, they push it aside, and what is that truth? That there is a creator. That He is good, that He is eternal and powerful, and that He has a claim on our lives. And that fact alone should put Him, the creator, at the center of our being, and His glory our greatest concern.
As the apostle Paul put it, 1 Corinthians 10, "Whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." But they didn't do it. They exchanged the glory of God for an image, made to look like mortal man, and birds, and animals, and reptiles. The great exchanged, the dark exchange, the glory of God for something less. And all of us have made that exchange, haven't we? And at the end of Romans 1, there's a whole river of evil, 21 things that Paul describes wickedness, evil, greed and depravity, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice, there are gossips and slanderers, God haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful, they invent ways of doing evil, they disobey their parents, senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless, it flows one evil after another, from that exchange, the glory of God for something else.
Oh, that God would glorify Himself at the center of your life today. That you would live only for the glory of God. That God and God alone would be satisfying to you, and all these lesser things that mean nothing on judgment day would fall away from you. And the glory of God will take its center place. Well last week we talked about a different category of people, most commentators believe it's the Jews, but it could be any self-righteous person, who reads the list of evil and at the end of Romans One and says, "That's not me, I'm better than that. Oh yes, I do some things, but I don't need grace the way they do." They're self-righteous judges, aren't they? They're hypocrites. And they excuse themselves from the grace of God. They don't need it. And Paul says, "You're missing the point." You're missing the whole point of life, the goodness, the kindness, tolerance and patience of God day after day after day. He's giving you time for purpose. It's to lead you to repentance. But if you stubbornly turn away from that, you say, "I don't need grace, I don't need Christ, I don't need the Cross. I don't need it. I'm not that bad." Then you are actually piling up wrath for the day of judgment.
Storing it up. Romans 2:5, "Storing up wrath for the day of judgment, when God righteous judgment will be revealed, God will give to each person according to what he has done." And so, here we are at our text. And now I want to understand the principles whereby we will be judged. And I find two in this text. Principle number one, it will be a judgment according to deeds. Principle number two and verse 11, it will be a judgment apart from partiality. Let's try to understand them. Let's start with the first one, that it will be a judgment according to deed.
II. God’s Righteous Judgment, Principle #1: Judgment According to Deeds (vs. 6-10)
Verse 6, it says, "God will give to each person according to what he has done." That's very plain, isn't it? It's very simple and straight forward. God will give to each person according to what he has done. That's a judgment according to deeds. There are many pictures of judgment day in Scripture. Daniel Chapter 7 contains one, it says, "As I looked, thrones were set in place and the ancient of days took His seat. His clothing was as white as snow. The hair of His head was white like wall. His throne was flaming with fire and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out before Him and thousands upon thousands attended Him."
What an awesome scene is set in Daniel seven. And then it says, "10,000 times 10,000 stood before him." That's us. We're there, we're standing before him. The court was seeded and the books were opened. But what's in the books? Well, Revelation 20 tells us what's in the books. There's a judgment according to deeds, careful and accurate record, a judgment according to works. We already read Revelation 20:12, it says, "The dead were judge according to what they had done as recorded in the books." Jesus said this in John 5:28-29, "Do not be amazed at this for a time is coming when all were in their graves will hear his voice and come out. Those who have done good will rise to live. Those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. By myself I can do nothing, I judge only as I hear and my judgement is just. For I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me." Jesus will be the judge and the basis of the judgement will be works. Those who have done good will rise to live, those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. Second Corinthians 5:10, Paul says, "We must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due to him for the things done in the body whether good or bad." More verses could be multiplied, do you see? The unified teaching of scripture is that judgement day will be done according to works.
Your Eternal Destiny at Stake: Eternal Life or Eternal Wrath
And the crucial issue that comes out of this is your eternal destiny, eternal life or eternal wrath. Look what He says in verse 7 and verse 10? There's a kind of a cross structure here. Verse 7 and verse 10 teach the same thing, verse 8 and verse 9 teach the same thing. Verse 7 and verse 10 talk about how to have life. Verse Eight and Nine talk about how to have eternal wrath. Verse Seven says, "To those who by persistence in doing good, seek glory, honor and immortality, He will give eternal life." And then in verse 10 it says, "Glory, honor and peace, will be given to everyone who does good." Same message, same teaching. And then in verses 8-9, "For those who are self-seeking, who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil." You see the same teaching. On the outside, Verses 7 and 10, eternal life. On the inside verses 8 and 9, eternal wrath.
And that is what is waiting for everyone in this room including me. One or the other, there is no third option. We either get eternal life through Christ, or we get eternal wrath apart from Christ. There's no third option. And the basis is a judgement of works. And these principles are true for everyone, for it says, "First for the Jew, then for the Gentile." And that's the very point that Paul is making here. There is no advantage on judgment day to being a Jew. The only advantage is, if it is an advantage, whatever they get, they get first. If they're going to have Heaven, they get it first. If they're going to have hell, they get it first. Gentiles next. Other than that, the principles are the same. God gives eternal life to those who by persistence in doing good, seek glory, honor and immortality. He gives eternal wrath to those who reject the truth and follow evil.
Is This Teaching Salvation By Works? NO!
Now, this brings us quickly, I would think, to a massive problem. This sounds a lot like salvation by works. How does that fit together? How do we understand this? Do these verses teach something different than Paul teaches in the rest of the book of Romans? No, of course not. Of course this doesn't contradict his teachings on works. Let's first of all deal with what is not in question. This is not teaching justification by works. It is not teaching justification by works. Let's establish that doctrine again, Romans 3:28, Paul says, "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law." That's all.
We are not justified by our works and we never will be. Romans 4:5, "However to the man who does not work, but trust God who justifies the wicked. His faith has credited to him as righteousness." Not to the one who works but the one who trust. The one who believes. Very clear teachings. Romans 5:1, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, not by works, through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord, Jesus Christ." By simple faith in the death of Jesus Christ and the cross, we can have forgiveness of sins, full forgiveness of sins. That's all.
There's nothing different being taught here. Paul knows his doctrine. He's not forgotten his way. He knows what he's talking about. Well, what is in question? Well, the question is, how do these verses fit in to what Paul is saying. What is he saying here? Now, some interpreters, John Stott among them and others, excellent interpreters of the word, think that Paul is talking about a theoretical path to heaven if we could only do it here. But no one can, so we need Christ. That's the way some people approach this. The argument goes, if we could truly obey the law, this would be a valid way to heaven. If you really could do it, if you could obey perfectly, day by day, everything that the law has, then that would be a valid way to heaven. Problem is, sin is so strong that nobody does that. And so, what's being expounded here is a theoretical approach to heaven, which is invalidated by the fact that all of us are sinners.
Now, we know that nobody obeys the law. In verse 13 he's going to get to that, we'll talk about it next week, it says, "It is not those who hear the law, who are righteousness in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who'll be declared righteous." And that's nobody. We already know that. Nobody obeys the law and is thereby declared righteous. In Romans 3:20 it says, "Therefore no one will be declared righteous by observing the law, rather through the law, we become conscious of sin." Okay, well, that's clear. And therefore, these commentators say that Paul is just speaking hypothetically here. This is a theoretical way to get to heaven, and so it would read something like this, "To those who by persistence in doing good, seek glory, honor, and immortality, He would give eternal life, if anyone met the criteria, but no one does, so we need grace." That's how the approach goes. I don't believe that, I don’t get that sense that that's what's going on here, but I wanted to give them a fair opportunity. I think there's something different going on. I think this is just describing Judgement Day.
Judged by Works is Different From Being Saved/Justified by Works
Just as plain as if you're reading a newspaper account. This is what is going to happen. And let's not confuse being judged according to our works by being justified by our works, they're two different things. Two different things. Justification is never on the basis of your work, so that God looks at what you did, today you prayed or today you gave some money at church or you did some good thing and therefore, I forgive you, because of your sins, that would be justification by works, that will never happen. Never. For lots of reasons. First of all, that we can never get ahead of what he wanted us to do anyway. Can you get ahead of the two great commands of love the Lord your God with every fiber of your being, and love your neighbor, the way you love yourself. Can you get ahead of those commands and do something that God didn't have in mind? No, you just maybe for a moment did what you were supposed to do anyway. There's no merit in that so that you can then take that and go pay for the times you didn't obey.
Justification never by works, but judgement is according to works, that's a whole different thing. Paul is teaching that on Judgement Day, there will be a going over of the things that you have said and done, the works of your life and your judgement will be according to what is found there, and that is the consistent teaching of the Bible. Martin Luther put it this way. Now Luther knew that justification is only by faith apart from works and this is what he said. He said, "I teach justification by faith alone apart from works, but the faith which justifies is never alone. It always produces good works." You understand that? It always produces good works. Paul said the same in verse 5 of Chapter 1. He said, "Through Him, through Christ, and for His namesake, I received grace and Apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to what? To the obedience that comes from faith." True faith always produces obedience. Always.
And out of that obedience comes good works cranked out day after day of them, lots of them. Many good works. This is not hypothetical. First of all, it doesn't read hypothetical. Do you read this as kind of a hypothetical theoretical way of getting to heaven? Paul is not presenting that. This is what will happen on Judgement Day. And also, look in verses 4-5, he talks about repentance. He says in verse 4, "Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leaves you toward what? Toward repentance." If Paul had in mind some perfect obedience to the law, why is he talking about repentance? Who needs to repent? Sinners, people who do not obey. God is looking for repentance in this text. So, He can't be looking for perfect moment by moment obedience to the law as a way to get to heaven. This is not a theoretical passage. This is what is going to happen on Judgement Day.
There are other verses as well. Romans 6:22 Paul says, "Now that you have been set free from sin, and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness and the result is eternal life." In other words, once you come to faith in Christ, you become a slave to God. Romans 6:22 is saying that produces holiness in your life and that leads to eternal life on judgment day. It's the same doctrine. It says the same thing in Romans 8:13. Romans 8:13, he says, "If you live according to the flesh," or NIV says, "Sinful nature, you will die." Can it be said any more plainly? "If you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit, you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live." Because those who are called children of God have the Spirit of God in them. And the Holy Spirit, He is merciless on sin. He hates it and fights it every step of the way. You see how it works, this same doctrine?
It does the same thing in Galatians 6, verse 7 and following, a perfect analogy here, "Do not be deceived; God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please the sinful nature, from that nature, will reap destruction." Well, what's Paul mean by destruction? He means hell. He means hell. "The one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit, will reap eternal life." Okay, Paul, you've set out the theology, what's your application? "Therefore, let us not become weary in doing good." Do you see how it fits into our text here? Because people who do good are the ones who are saved. They're the ones who have the Holy Spirit in them, and He moves them, day after day, to do good things, to obey, to walk in the commandments of the law.
For us, today, First Baptist Church, for myself, for everyone listening to me, there is an exhortation coming out of this. It's in Romans 2:7 it says, "To those who, by persistence in doing good, seek glory, honor, and immortality, He will give eternal life." Well, as a pastor, what exhortation am I going to give you? "By persistence in doing good, please seek glory, honor, and immortality." Do you see that? Live this way. Live Romans 2:7 everyday. Live that way.
Now, what is it we're supposed to seek? Glory, honor, immortality. Glory, I believe, is our perfection in God, honor is our praise from God, and immortality is our permanence before God. Do you see that? This is not God's glory, God's honor, and God's immortality, it is our glory, our honor, our immortality, that we be glorified in Christ, that we receive the praise of, "Well done, good and faithful servant," on judgment day, and that we live with Him forever and ever in Heaven. That's what we're supposed to seek, day after day: Glory, honor, and immortality. Now, Glory, God is glorious and I've already exhorted you to put the glory of God at the center of your being, but that's not what's talked about here. I don't think this is the glory. I think that we may be glorified with Christ, is what we're to seek. The reason I say that, in Romans 8:17, it talks about suffering. It says, "If we share in Christ's sufferings, we will also share in his," what? "His glory." If we share in Christ's sufferings, we'll share in His glory. And it also says in verse 18, that, "I consider that those present sufferings aren't even worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed," where? "In us." In us, that we be glorious in Christ on judgment day. We'll get to that more in Romans 8.
But then, honor, we're to seek honor. We are to seek honor from God for ourselves, that God may praise what we have done. We do it in Christ, we do it in Him, but we do it that we may live for the praise of the one who created us. Don't you want God to praise you on judgment day? Don't you want Him to say, "Well done, good and faithful servant?" And not just once, but for a whole lifetime, a whole harvest of good deeds done in righteousness, that God may praise you? Jesus says, "My Father will honor the one who serves me. My Father will honor the one who serves me." Don't you want the honor that comes from the Father of Jesus Christ? I want that. It says in First Corinthians 4:5, "At that time, each will receive his praise from God." We've talked about this before. We praise God in Heaven, He praises his servants on judgment day. "Well done, well done," He says.
And then, finally, immortality, which is our permanence before God, that we may permanently be with God. Change is gone, change is gone. Death no longer hangs over us, waiting to mock our lives. It's gone to immortality in Heaven forever. Do you want these things? Are you hungry for them, for glory, honor, and immortality? It says, "You should, you should seek them." And you say, "Wait a second, are we supposed to seek these things for ourselves? It seems selfish." Well, it's selfish, if you don't understand it.
First of all, it's nothing like the kind of stuff that most people seek for themselves. Jeremiah 45, there's Baruch, Jeremiah's little scribe who's writing all the words to what is the longest book in the Bible. And he's written them, and that evil king cut them all up, and burned them. And God came, and through Jeremiah, said, "Write it again, Baruch. Write it again." It wasn't on a hard drive. It wasn't on a floppy disk anywhere. He had to write every single letter again, and he started to groan, and he started to complain. Not that we ever complain, but he did. And God says this to him, "Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not." People are bringing that question to this text, "Should we seek great things for ourselves? Seek them not." Well, what great things were Baruch seeking? The same things all of us seek, things on Earth, earthly things. Jesus said, "Lift your eyes off those things and store up treasure in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." Jesus is in concert with what His apostle's saying here, "Live for those things. Pass them on beyond the veil into eternity. Pass them on, a life full of good deeds done in righteousness. Pass them on. Don't live for great things for yourself here."
CS Lewis, in a sermon entitled "The Weight of Glory," talks about this. And he's talking about selfishness, and the idea of living for yourself. He said,
“If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you asked almost any of the great Christians of old he would have replied, Love. You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive... The negative ideal of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love. The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self- denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire. If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
If Christianity is a road to travel, most of us are on a stroll. What does the New Testament say? "Run the race with endurance." Or, if Christianity is a voyage to be sailed, we're like a piece of flotsam and jetsam moving along like that. I was reading a little while ago about the clipper ship, Flying Cloud. The Flying Cloud is the fastest sailing ship that ever existed. It was built in 1851 for one purpose, speed. The whole goal was to set the record for sailing from New York Harbor to San Francisco... They didn't have the Panama Canal back in 1851... Around the entire South American continent and back up to San Francisco. And twice, they did it in 89 days. That's incredible. The whole ship was built for speed, and every crew member on that ship understood that, and they wanted the glory of setting the speed record around that Cape Horn. And so they wanted a captain that would drive that ship, and would drive them to accomplish that record. And always, the cry from the sailors is, "More sail, more sail." And they would howl in derision, if the captain, because of a storm, or because of difficulties, would say, "Let's take some sail down." They would rather die than take any sail off.
Be like that. More sail in your Christian life. More. Give yourself fully to glory, honor, and immortality, by persistence in doing good. Live that kind of life, not a mediocre, laissez-faire, come to church occasionally life. Do this kind of thing, not that way. More sail. Our seeking is too weak; it's too weak. And how should we seek them? We should seek them by persistence in doing good, day after day, fighting your sin nature, every temptation that comes your way, another opportunity to glorify God by saying, "No." Every opportunity that you see of a neighbor or some other person that needs something, you give yourself to it by persistence in doing good. You seek glory, honor, and immortality.
Alright, well, then how should we not seek? Well, Verse 8-9 is a very good indication of how we should not seek, "But for those who are self-seeking, who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger." Now, self-seeking here, is that earthbound, fleshly seeking of something for me, me, me. Feed my desires, feed my appetite, feed me. And because of that, they reject the truth, and they follow evil. What is the truth? The truth is the Gospel, that there is a God, that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who died as an atoning sacrifice for sin, who rose again on the third day, and who is Lord, and who calls us to a certain kind of life. That's the truth they reject. And because of that rejection, they will perish.
2 Thessalonians 2:10 says, "They perish, because they refused to believe the truth, and so be saved." And they follow evil consistently. Day after day, they do those things that their conscience, and that law written in their hearts... Which we're going to learn about next week... That is testifying that they are sinning, and yet, they do it anyway, day after day. That's principle number one: Judgment day will be done according to these.
III. God’s Righteous Judgment, Principle #2: Judgment Without Favoritism (vs. 11)
Principle number two in Verse 11: Judgment is without favoritism. Verse 11 says, "For God does not show favoritism." For Jew and Gentile alike, there will be the same principle, the same judgment. Some Jews thought that, just because they were Jews, they would not be judged in this way. John the Baptist should have set them straight on that one. He said, "And do not think you can save yourselves. We have Abraham as our father. I tell you, that out of these stones, God can raise up children for Abraham. The axe is already at the root of the tree." Now, what tree gets cut down? The one that bears no fruit. The tree that does not bear fruit "will be cut down and thrown into the fire." The fruitful tree will be left alone to produce more fruit. Consistent message. It's not those who are physically descended from Abraham. It's those that bear the fruits of Abraham's faith; those are the ones who will be saved.
Now, the word for 'favoritism' here in Verse 11 is 'face-receiving,' 'receiving of face.' It means a superficial judgment based on something external, simply quickly looking, "Oh, you're a Jew, you're in. Oh, you're the queen of England, you're in. Oh, you're one of the poor downtrodden of the Earth, you're in." It's not that way; God's going to look at each life. He's going to open the book, and look, and He's going to judge the works. It's not an external thing. Jesus' enemies had it right about Jesus. Matthew 22:16, "Teacher, we know that you're a man of integrity and that you teach the way of truth, the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, since you pay no attention to who they are." Do you hear that? He's not swayed by men, because He doesn't care who you are. Let's look at the book. Let's see what's in your life. Jesus treated everyone the same, you ever noticed that? Fearlessly. Rich young rulers, children, husbands and wives, old people, Roman procurators. He went for the heart. Over and over, He went for the heart. He went for the heart and He testified to the truth. And it is Jesus Christ who will be the fruit inspector on judgment day. He's the one that will look at the fruit of your life.
When I was in Pakistan, I met a man who had been, for 40 years, a Persian rug purchaser and seller. He spoke pretty good English, and we talked, and I said, "How can you tell the quality of a rug?" He said, "40 years of experience. I know rugs." I said, "But what are some of the things you look for?" He said, "Well, one of the first things I do, is I turn the rug upside down and I look at the knots, how many of them there are, how dense they are, how they are made. That's one of the things I look for and a hundred other things." So I started looking, and he showed me a low quality rug and a high quality rug. And he started to point some things out, and I could begin to see the difference, but I'm not a rug expert. I'll tell you this though, when I was looking at the two rugs, I didn't really care very much who had made the rugs. I was looking at the quality of the work. See what I'm saying? It wouldn't matter to me, if I was told that the Sultan of so and so had made this one and the President of that had made... It wouldn't matter. I'm looking at the rug and the quality that is in front of me there. That's what Jesus will do. He knows and He's able to judge works perfectly. Perfectly.
Jesus says in Matthew 12, "Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him. The evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. From by your words, you will be acquitted, and by your words, you will be condemned." That's your judge. That's what He says. He's got full record of everything you've ever said.
IV. Summary and Application
Now, as we're going through Romans, we're seeing more and more the need for grace, aren't we? We see the need, we see the need that we have for grace of this great day. Is that grace available? I began telling you it was. It is the Gospel message that saves us on judgment day. It is the righteousness that Jesus Christ bought on the cross that will save you. Any vain hope of, "I'm basically a good person," should be long from you by now. You're not, nor am I, basically a good person. We are basically sinners in need of grace, sinners in need of salvation, and that salvation is fully available through Jesus Christ. What have we learned today? That judgment on that great day will be according to works. He will not take face value to your life. He's not very interested in you walking an aisle, praying a prayer, signing a card, because if you are truly saved, you will produce fruit in keeping with that repentance for a whole life, and He will look at that fruit.
Good works does not cleanse us from sin, but Jesus is a perfect fruit inspector, and He will be able to see on that day, whether you believed in Christ or not. And what is my application? Number one, look to Christ and to Him alone. This is a precious, precious thing. "I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bare," what? "Much fruit." Not a little fruit, much fruit. "For apart from me, you can do," what? "Nothing." "But if you are engrafted in me by faith, I am going to produce fruit in your life. I'm just going to pour it out through you." The Kingdom of Heaven is like someone who went out and sowed seed all over the place. Some fell on the path, the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on different kinds of soils, nothing came of it. But some fell in good soil and what did it produce? A crop, a harvest, and what was the ratio? In some cases, 100, in some cases, 60, in some cases, 30 times what was sown, but in every case, lots and lots of good things. Lots.
And on that day, when your good deeds are in front of you, when God brings them up, and all your evil deeds are burned up (1 Corinthians 3). Gone forever, and you will grieve over the waste of resources and time. But there will be the good deeds and what will you say? "I did these. I did these on my own"? Oh, no, you won't. You saved people, you will say, John Chapter 3:21, "Whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." You did nothing on your own, all the good deeds He did in you. And so, any glory, honor, and immortality you get goes back to Him in glory. It's His.
Live for it. Be persistent in doing good. Get up every day, not just on Sundays, or just on... Choose a day. Thursday is your day for good works. Let Thursday be your good works day. No, seven days a week, you get up and you say, "I am the Lord's servant. Be it done to me what you would have. Bring to me those good works that you intend for me today." "We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance that we should walk in them." God has laid out before everyone of you today a path of good works. Will you walk in them today? Will you walk in them tomorrow? Will you walk in them the next day? Will you, by persistence in doing good, seek glory, honor, and immortality? Glory, our perfection in Christ, honor is our praise from Christ, and immortality, our permanence before Him. Will you seek these things today? Close in prayer with me, please.