Working Out Your Salvation
5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who "will render to each one according to his deeds": 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness — indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God. NKJV
I. The Cause of Man’s Problem “your hardness and your impenitent heart”
A. Paul has made it plain that the longsuffering of God was meant to lead them to repentance.
1. 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
B. God’s demands are higher than we can ever achieve, because we are sinners by or very nature.
C. But God provides an atonement for those who will repent.
II. The Result of Man’s Delay “you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God”
A. Therefore because people continue in their evil ways they continue to accumulate more and more sins that will be judged in the day of judgment.
B. Gal 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life NKJV
III. God’s Method of Judgment “who ‘will render to each one according to his deeds’”
A. The principle
1. Ps 62:12 Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy; For You render to each one according to his work. NKJV
2. Prov 24:12 If you say, "Surely we did not know this," Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds? NKJV
3. Revelation 20:12-13 (NKJV)12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.
4. Isaiah 3:10-11 (NKJV)10 "Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them, For they shall eat the fruit of their doings. 11 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, For the reward of his hands shall be given him.
5. 2 Peter 3:7 (NKJV) But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
6. 2 Timothy 4:1 (NKJV) I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:
7. Hebrews 10:31 (NKJV) It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
8. 1 Cor 3:11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
B. “Eternal life” “glory, honor, and peace”
1. “those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality”
a. The subjective criterion for salvation is faith alone, with nothing added. But the objective reality of that salvation is manifested in the subsequent godly works that the Holy Spirit leads and empowers believers to perform. For that reason, good deeds are a perfectly valid basis for God’s judgment. MacArthur's New Testament Commentary
2. “to everyone who works what is good”
a. Salvation is not by works, but it will assuredly produce works. The presence of genuinely good deeds in a person’s life reveals that he has truly been saved, and in God’s infallible eyes those deeds are a perfectly reliable indicator of saving faith. In the same way, the absence of genuinely good deeds reveals the absence of salvation. In both cases, deeds become a trustworthy basis for God’s judgment. When God sees works that manifest righteousness, He knows if they have come from a regenerated heart. And when He sees works that manifest unrighteousness, He knows if they come from an unregenerated heart. MacArthur's New Testament Commentary
C. “Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish”
1. “to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness”
a. Matthew 13:41-43 (NKJV)41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
2. “on every soul of man who does evil”
a. 2 Peter 3:9-11 (NKJV)9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,
IV. “there is no partiality with God”
Phil 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. NKJV
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. NKJV
Man is lost and can never meet God’s righteous demands.
Salvation is in Christ alone by faith alone.
Faith that stands alone is no saving faith.
James said there is a living faith and a dead faith. A dead faith can never save.
The only way to tell a living faith from a dead faith is to examine the fruit.
16 You will know them by their fruits . Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.