Part 2 – Amazing Grace, Not Elbow Grease
In this second chapter of Romans we find that the apostle Paul gives his readers seven principles regarding God’s judgment. Last week we saw the first one: God’s judgment is based on Truth. In our verses for this week (five through ten) we see two more mentioned.
The second principle is mentioned in verse five and it is: God’s judgment is based on accumulated guilt. As sinners continue to sin; and as the self-righteous continue to use their elbow grease to win God’s approval through their good works, they both are piling guilt upon guilt until the Day of Judgment when the Lord will deal with all the unredeemed accordingly. The Lord is patient and long-suffering – always giving the unredeemed the opportunity to repent.
The third principle is the misunderstood principle, and it is discussed in verses six through ten. That principle is: God’s judgment is based on, or according to works. This is misunderstood because as Protestants we firmly believe what the Bible teaches regarding our salvation: We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone – and NOT by our good works.
Yes, all will be judged by their works – the unrighteous will definitely be judged by their works at the Great White Throne Judgment since they have refused the work of Christ upon the cross. The Book of the Law will be opened on that Last Day (since their names are not in the Book of Life) and each unbeliever will be judged by what they have done. Christians will be judged by their works but in a different way. All believers stand guilty before the Lord, but in His mercy and grace the Lord applies the work of Christ to the lives of the chosen believers and His perfect works (Christ followed the Law perfectly) and His righteousness (in following the Law) is applied to our lives so we are judged as acquitted. Christ’s righteousness becomes our righteousness.
But on another level our works are judged after death when we each stand before the Lord God at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Here we will each be judged according to what we have done or haven’t done with the gifts, talents, and opportunities the Lord has given to us. We will not lose our salvation, but our position in glory – rewards – will be given to us (and blessings not given) based on the good works that we did after we come to faith.
So, in this way, we ARE judged by our works, but NEVER in regards to our salvation.