Romans 2:6-7 Judgment by deeds, or works, is clearly taught in Scripture. “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds” (Jeremiah 17:10). Jesus reiterated this “the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds” (Matthew 16:27) also (John 5:28-29).
Paul also taught that God’s judgment of believers as well as unbelievers will be based on works. (1 Corinthians 3:8,11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Galatians 6:7-9). On that day “each one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). We are saved by faith alone, but as we have said we are judged by the works that have come from that faith.
In truth the works come from our yielding to the Holy Spirit who empowers us to perform the works that God has for us to do. Our actions are an indication of our surrender to God’s authority over our lives.
“You will know them by their fruits,” Jesus twice declared in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:16, 20). We must emphasize again that while Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, teaches that judgment is by works, it nowhere teaches that salvation is by works Whatever good a person has or does comes by God’s provision, and the credit and praise belongs to God.
“For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another” (Isaiah 48:11). But if salvation is wholly by faith, then how do works enter the picture? “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Romans 2:10).
The life that is saved by faith is to give evidence of that salvation by doing God’s work. Outward godly works are the evidence of inner faith. The presence of genuinely good deeds in a person’s life reveals that he has truly been saved, and in God’s eyes those deeds are a reliable indicator of saving faith. In the same way, the absence of good deeds reveals the absence of salvation. In both cases, deeds become a trustworthy basis for God’s judgment. So Romans 2:6-7 deal with believers and the basis for their judgment.
Romans 2:8-10 We are now brought to consider the judgment of unbelievers. The unbeliever is to be judged for three reasons.
1) He lives for himself, he is self-seeking or selfishly ambitious. He refuses to surrender to God’s will.
2) He does not obey the truth. He sees and hears and knows the truth. He even knows the truth is to be done, but refuses to do it. He rejects both the Messiah, the Living Truth, and the Word of God, the written truth. He will not allow God to rule him.
3) He does unrighteousness. Every evil-doer is going to be judged, both Jew and Gentile. No evil-doer shall escape. God’s judgment will involve indignation, wrath, tribulation and anguish. The word wrath in the original language denotes vengeance and punishment. Some believe that wrath is just an Old Testament teaching but not one from the New Testament. The teaching of Jesus, however, supports the concept of God’s wrath who judges sin with perfect justice.
The story of the rich man and Lazarus shows the rich man in hades in torment and anguish (Luke 16:19 31). In Luke 13:3,5 Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you will all perish.” John 15:1-11 warns that the unfruitful branches are to be “gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned” (John 15:6). The statement first for the Jew, then for the Gentile indicates the order of God’s judgment.
The time of Jacobs trouble refers to the tribulation period in which God’s wrath will come upon the world, first to the Jew and then to the Gentile. Although God’s people may expect tribulation throughout the present age (John 16:33; Acts 14:22), the word “tribulation,” used here, is speaking of a future time. Jesus linked the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel 9 with this time of tribulation (Matthew 24:15 21;Mark 13:14 19). This period is also know as the seventieth week of Daniel 9:27.
This will be a period of trouble and judgment such as the world has never seen or will ever see again. This period is described in Revelation 6:19 and it will involves the whole earth but is for the Jew first. The tribulation will also be a period of salvation for both Jews and Gentiles and culminate in the battle of Armageddon and then the beginning of the millennium.
The phrase “the day of God’s judgment” (Romans 2:5) taken by itself may seem to lend support to the idea of a single general judgment of all mankind. However, the Bible teaches that there are several judgments of different groups which occur at different times. The judgment seat of Christ which is in heaven for believers (Romans 14:10-12;1 Corinthians 3:11-15;2 Corinthians 5:10); The judgment of the nations (Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 18:1-24); The Great White Throne Judgment.(Revelation 20:11-15).