who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS:Romans 2:6(NASB)
The clear teaching of many passages in Scripture is that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ's sacrificial death and glorious resurrection and not on the basis of works, or any human merit that we may carry out in our flesh.. lest any man should boast. And yet this scripture seems to contradict the clear testimony of the Bible- that Salvation is solely by believing-faith. And yet this passage implies that salvation depends on the meritorious works and good deeds that we carry out in our life - and that God will render to each person according to his deeds. How can this be resolved and ratified?
Well, the Bible never contradicts itself and this passage like all Scripture ..gives greater illumination to the truth that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone.. and that forgiveness of sin and everlasting life is not dependent upon our good deeds but on His good work on the cross. But also, it clarifies the truth that all men, (both the saved and the unsaved) will one day stand before their Creator and be judged by God. We will all be judged on the works we carried out, while living on earth.. and God will render to each person according to their deeds. But how can this be better understood?
Well, one important principle of biblical interpretation is that each passage of Scripture is read in context.. and this passage is rooted in Paul's condemnation of a world that has substituted the creation for its Creator. And it is a passage that warns that all men, (both the saved and the unsaved) will be judged by God's perfect standard of goodness.. and that no one will escape the inevitable judgement of a holy and righteous God. Man's standard of good will be balanced against God's perfect standard, which is only found in Christ - and ALL men will be found wanting.
Although the unsaved have the opportunity to worship and serve the Creator, those that choose to reject God's gracious offer of Salvation will be judged on the good works that they carry out in their life - but the shocking truth is that sinful man is incapable of carrying out ANY good deed. NO work of the flesh can attain to the perfect standard of a holy God. However good and noble the deeds of the unsaved are in this life - they will ALWAYS fall short of the glory of God and be judged accordingly.
Until a person is born again it must be clearly understood that the unsaved can NEVER, ever produce even one good work that satisfies God, and reaches His perfect standard. Good works can only begin at the point of Salvation. Good works can only be carried out by the man or woman who is IN Christ and walking in spirit and truth.
So what is the work of God and how can we do the works of God.. so that we may be pleasing in His sight? Well, as always Scripture explains in John's gospel: this is the work of God, that you believe in Him Whom He has sent. The first step in doing the work of God and to be pleasing in His sight is to believe on Christ. The starting point to doing good works that produce eternal rewards is to believe in Christ for Salvation - for it is by grace You are saved. But once saved it is also by grace that we live in spirit and truth - for it is God Who is at work within you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Faith must never be seen as a meritorious work in a believer, for faith is a free-will choice that is granted to all men.. for whosever believes on the name of the Lord Jesus will not be condemned.. but placed into an eternal relationship with our heavenly Father. Salvation is a free gift of His grace. Once a sinner has been forgiven of their sins.. we are to live our lives as unto the Lord. We are to live by faith and not by works of the flesh. We are to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us to His praise, and for our eternal benefit.
The wonderful truth is that even a believer's post-salvation works that are carried out in the flesh are forgiven. They were judged at the cross and are not ever held against us. As believers we are warned that works of the flesh will result in a loss of possible reward, but they were all forgiven at the cross. However.. spiritual works that are carried out in the power of the Holy Spirit.. will render heavenly rewards.. of gold, silver or precious stones, to His praise and His glory.
Let us praise the name of Him Who started a good work in us at salvation.. and is faithful to complete it in the day of Christ. In the meantime let us walk in spirit and truth and live in newness of life as we submit our lives to the work of the Holy Spirit within.. so that when we are judged for our works at the judgement seat of Christ - God will render to each person according to his deeds
Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no contradiction in the Word of God. Thank You that I have been saved by grace through faith in Christ and that there is no condemnation because I am in Him. Having come to saving faith in Christ I pray that You would help me to continue to work the works of God in my life - as I rely on Your Holy Spirit to guide and direct me in all things and to trust in Your unfailing goodness and grace so that I may produce much fruit to Your praise and glory - this I ask in Jesus name. AMEN.