Romans 2:7 "To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life." (NIV)
Romans 2:1 - 11
ESV - 1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things.
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If doing good would save us, then Jesus died in vain. All the good works in the world can not save a sinner. Jesus paid our sin debt in full so we can never be condemned again. John 3:18 He imputed His righteousness to us, and will not more impute sin to our account. Romans 4:4-8. You can not boast in a free gift. Romans 6:23 and Ephesians 2:8-9. Romans 3:26-28 For He is the just and the justifier of them that believe in Jesus. Romans 11:6 All grace, no works. Sinners can not save them selves. Romans 4:2 If Abraham were justified by works, he would have something to glory in, but not before God. Abraham was justified by faith alone apart from works before God, and works before men. Lots of people do good works. That never saved one person. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, physical death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus paid our sin debt in full so we could never be condemned again. John 6:47 John 3:18. First John 2:2 Colossians 2:13. The GIFT of God is eternal life. Paid in full by the GIVER. First John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that BELIEVE on the name of the Son of God, that ye may KNOW YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE. All of our sins are paid for before we commit the sin. All our sins are future sins. Jesus paid our sin debt 2,000 years ago. First John 2:2. Acts 16:31. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. The simplicity of the gospel. Faith alone apart from works for the free gift of eternal life.
No. We do not have to do works to go to gain eternal life. One obtains eternal life by recognizing one is a sinner, repents of their sinful ways, and accepts God’s provision for their sins (Jesus dying for our sins) (See John 3:16-18, 36, John 5:24, John 6:47, Ephesians 2:4-9, Romans 5:8-11, 1 Peter 2:24, Romans 6:20-23, Romans 10:5-13). Acts 3:19 states that one becomes right with God when they acknowledge they are a sinner and accept God’s payment for their sins. As believers, we are to do good works that demonstrate what we believe, but doing good works will not cause one to be saved and gain eternal life (Ephesians 2:10). James 2:14-24 indicates that those who have been saved from eternal death, as a consequence of their sins, are to do good works to demonstrate to others what they believe. A believer does not need to prove or demonstrate anything to God, because God knows what people believe (Matthew 9:4; Luke 16:15, etc.). Believers are to demonstrate to those around them what they believe, so as others too may repent and believe. The Apostle Paul wrote that one is justified by faith and not by keeping the Law of Moses, or any other way (Romans 4:1-24). God promises that those who who believe in Him, that Jesus died for their sins, will be granted eternal life and will be saved from eternal damnation. Not because one deserves eternal life, but because one has accepted God’s atonement (payment) for their sins, those whose sins have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb, Jesus. They are declared righteous, but not by their own righteousness, but by God’s righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).(Also see Philippians 3:9) Since it is clear that the Apostle Paul believed that one is saved by accepting Jesus’ sacrifice on a cross (Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:8-9, etc.), it is obvious that the Apostle Paul was not stating in Romans 2:7 that one must do good to obtain eternal life. If one needs to do good to obtain eternal life, then why did Jesus die for our sins? The fact is, there is nothing anyone can do to gain eternal life, except to accept God’s payment for our sins. In Romans 2:7 the Apostle Paul is chastising the Romans in the congregation for judging others when they themselves are not perfect (Romans 2:1-6). Then, in Romans 2:7, the Apostle Paul is stating that for those who are doing good are those who have eternal life. The hearts of these people are right. They love God and are doing what is pleasing to God. They obtain eternal life by what they believe and conduct their lives by doing what is pleasing to God. In the next verse, Romans 2:8-9, the Apostle Paul continues his condemnation of those who were self-seeking and rejected the truth and did evil. The Apostle John wrote that one who believes in Jesus has eternal life (1 John 5:11-13). If one needs to do something to earn eternal life, why does the Bible teach that Jesus died for our sins and forgives those who repents and accepts Jesus’ atonement for our sins? If all our sins are forgiven (past, current and future), then there is nothing else we need to do, nor can we do to gain eternal life.
Doing good isn't a prerequisite for obtaining eternal life. Romans 2:7 doesn't present a case for doing good to receive eternal life. If you get that from it you're misreading it. If you omit the prepositional phrase "by patience in well doing," in the middle of the passage, and read the rest of it, you might get a better understanding of what Paul is actually saying. Here it is without the phrase. First vs 6: "He will render to each one according to his works: (7) to those who seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life." FULL STOP. How do they seek or try to obtain glory, honor and immortality? They do it by "being patient in well-doing." He means God will "pay as due" (render to) every man according to what he does. The tenor of this narrative is that God judges righteously. He gives us that which we seek. ("Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" Mt 7:7). Vs 8 - but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. He says there will be distress for the one who does evil, but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good (Romans 2:9,10). Notice, he doesn't say eternal life or salvation for those who do good, but glory, honor and peace. He means in the here and now, we will receive wages for our "works." So to recap: God will give eternal life, or immortality, to those who seek it (ask for it). You don't get it for doing good. You do good while you're being patient in obeying righteousness and truth. Not obeying righteousness and truth will result in tribulation and distress, regardless of whether you're a Jew or a Gentile. He's not laying out a template for salvation. He's warning the church at Rome about incurring God's judgment in the here and now for doing evil. In chapter one he told the church how the world has devolved, how shameless acts of sin are so common place. And it's not that the people don't know any better, "for what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them" (Romans 1:19). (Let's go slow, he's about to tie us to this bunch). He says 'don't judge the perpetrators, God will; because you who judge them are without excuse because you practice the same things' (Romans 2:1). He's writing to a congregation of saved people, telling them that although they are saved, they still won't escape God's righteous wrath when they do wrong (sin). That's the point of this. (I pray for the day that believers will come to grips with the truth of this. Saved people struggle with sin; some more than others, but they have repented and God has forgiven them / us by the blood of Jesus, shed at the Cross. He died for sinners, not saints). This part of the Roman epistle is about how to avoid God's judgment, and receive God's kindness that leads to repentance. Paul doesn't have a reason to write to the church about how to get saved; we already have that. The letters to the churches are mostly about how the church should live if the saints desire to mature in the faith. God wants saved people to know that sin has consequences.
"He [God] will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers." To me this implies that the person is saved and who then has the power of the Holy Spirit within to help him keep accomplishing good deeds, truly good deeds with an unselfish motive. This contrasts with the good deeds done by unbelievers. They often if not always do them with ulterior motives, I believe. This is the tenor of the passage. "Paul was dealing here with the consistent actions of a person’s life, the total impact of his character and conduct." --Warren Wiersbe
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