To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:(Romans 2:6-10)
Romans is a revelation from God of the righteousness of God. It declares the good news of how God made a way for unrighteous men to be brought into fellowship with Him, without violating His own righteousness.
But before the good news, the bad news must be fully examined. All men are under a sentence of judgment, they are deserving of an eternal conscious existence of suffering under the wrath of God.The danger we are in can not be overstated. here is how Jesus put it,
And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.(Matthew 5:29-30)
The bad news is that Judgment shall be according to truth, that is according to a fixed, holy, standard. Perfect righteousness will be demanded at the bar of the Holy God, he could expect no less, for He is Holy, who made us in His Image.
None of us can be acquitted by that standard! As we shall see in chapter 3,“There is none Righteous no, not one!”…
Judgment also will be strictly according to works. To those who have done good…and to those who have done evil… All of our works, our mental as well as our physical works will be scrutinized by the absolute standard of Righteousness, and each will get their due reward.
And as our text tells us today, there are only two destinies…
Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
Tribulation, means trouble, pressure and affliction, Anguish means suffering of the spirit. The truly frightening story Jesus told about eternal fixed fate of the nameless rich man and the once poverty-stricken Lazarus, gives us insight into what Paul is warning of here.
It is almost inconceivable to imagine being so parched, so uncomfortable, that a drop of water on the tongue would be any consolation. But perhaps worse would be the pangs of regret, remorse, self loathing at missed opportunities, and painful memories.
To those who have done evil, the judgment day will be a final and complete revelation of what has been happening in installments throughout human history, the Holy wrath against all that is evil, false, and sinful. All pain, futility, despair, regret, in short everything that ever makes human life a bitter cup to drink, is either a direct or an indirect revelation of the wrath of God against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men.
Paul once comforted persecuted Christians with these words-
Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;( 2 Thess 1)
It would be wrong for a Holy God to overlook sin and evil in His universe, the text tells us that Divine vengeance is a Righteous thing with God. False preachers and Christians are ashamed of the doctrine of Divine wrath, but God isn’t.
But to those who do good-
But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:(Romans 2:6-10)
Glory, Honor,and Peace forever. Nothing less than the eternal enjoyment of God. God shall wipe away every tear from our eyes. The destiny of those who are righteous is so unspeakably beautiful, that the only way it is usually described ,even in scripture is negatively…
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.(Rev 21:6)
The righteous continually, patiently, sought Glory, Honor and immortality. They did so in spite of the fact that to do so they had to go against the stream of the evil ages that they lived in. Glory- refers to all that God is and has for us.Honor, refers to “Praise from God and not from men”.
Peace; ie Shalom, fulness, rest, satisfaction forever. this is the destiny of the Righteous, what they sought, in God, they found. God is truly the “rewarder of those who diligently seek Him!”.
These are the only two options, there is no third way, there is no purgatory. The choice is stark, either eternal bliss, joy, and enjoyment of God forever, or everlasting remorse, regret,”anguish of soul” banishment from all that makes life worth living, forever.