January 30, 1979
Tonight we go back to the book of Romans, Chapter 2. Here we are working the integrity
and accuracy of the foundational revelation to the church of the body, namely the book of
Romans. The book of Acts is the fulcrum on which the Old and New Testament swing,
which I’ve indicated to you and shown you in research so many times. The book of
Romans is the first great epistle to the body of the church, and it’s just fantastic in the
truths it represents.
What we’re dealing with here in Romans 2:6-11 is not the means of acquiring eternal life,
but the subject is rewards. It’s God’s view of man’s sin and thus righteous judgment.
Perhaps this could be best stated or understood if you took a look at John 3.
This area in Romans does not deal with eternal life. The subject is rewards, God’s view,
because believing on the Son hath eternal life.
“Render” is recompense, which is the same word used in Romans 12:17. It’s interesting as
you read this verse and then look at Verse 11 and tie these two together.
Fantastic truth. Who render to every man, recompense to every man, reward every man
according to his deeds or works. There is, however, no respect of persons with God. So
God is not going to pay any attention to man’s color or to man’s sex, He’s no respecter of
Angels = messengers
“Deeds” in Romans is translated “works” in Matthew 16:27. Reward every man according
to his works. God will render, recompense, to every man.
“Man” is everyone, inclusive noun.
“Deeds” is works.
This is why I set this for you to begin with. No one section of the Word of God can be
repugnant, to any other section of the truth of God’s Word. When you casually read this
section, it looks like salvation, eternal life, is due to good works. That’s not what he is
talking about. The subject is not the acquisition of eternal life. The subject throughout here
is the rewards, God’s righteous judgment, God’s view of man.
“By” is according to, as in Verse 2.
“Patient well doing” is just to continue to be patient, stay truthful and honest and keep
working away at it. That’s the meaning.
Three words here, glory, honor and immortality. “Glory” – God’s glory
“Honor” – what God gives to one who seeks His glory.
“Immortality’’ is aphtharsia, which literally should be translated incorruption. Immortality
refers to mortals. This section is dealing with the rewards referring to incorruption.
Incorruption is applicable to people who have died and then are raised incorruptible.
Mortals put on immortality. Remember I Corinthians 15.
Seek for glory, honor, incorruption. Taking the incorruption all the way through from
man’s acceptance of God to the rewards, where the dead in Christ have already risen.
“Eternal” is aiōnios.
“Life” is zōē.
Very few people have understood the difference between everlasting and eternal life. This
reward is from God’s point of view. That’s why it’s not everlasting here, it’s eternal life,
life throughout all eternity. Whenever you read in the Bible accurately, everlasting life, it
always means that it had a start. Let’s say a man is twenty years old when he accepts Jesus
Christ as his personal Lord and Savior, at that moment God gives him eternal life, but for
the man it’s everlasting. He didn’t have it all the way through. He only got it from the time
he was twenty. That’s why it is called everlasting life from man’s point of view, from
man’s receiving of it, but it’s called eternal life from God’s point of view. That which God
gives is eternal, but it is everlasting life to man because it started at some point in man’s
life. This will be applicable in all the usages in the Word.
You see, reading this together, Verse 7, 8. Then he goes through 8 and 9, which he ties
together, and he goes back to “glory, honor and peace” in Verse 10. He opens with the
“good” in Verse 7 and concludes it with Verse 10. In between he puts Verse 8 and 9.
Romans 2:8, 9
“But” sets in contrast that which has just previously been stated about the well doing,
glory, honor, immortality or incorruptibility, eternal life.
“That” – who
“Contentious” sits here like a little diamond. It is the Greek word eritheia. To the best of
my understanding it means self-willed to the end that that individual puts his will above the
will of God. Another wonderful translation of understanding would be head-strong against
But unto them who are head-strong against God, who are self-willed against God. Anyone
who does this, the next phrase is applicable, “do not obey the truth..”
The logical course of action is then to obey unrighteousness. If you don’t obey the truth,
what will you obey? That’s just a logical course of action. When man becomes self-willed,
places himself above God or the revealed Word of God, the logical action, the logical
course of action will be to obey unrighteousness, because every man obeys something.
“Do not obey” – apeitheō. We need a very fine piece of work done Biblically on this word.
But, if they don’t obey the truth, they are going to obey unrighteousness.
“Unrighteousness” – adikia. It is interesting if you watch and note carefully as I handle
Verse 8 and 9 here, I think you’ll notice four great things.
Four Great Things in These Verses:
1. God’s attitude
Romans 2:6-11 105
2. Man’s expression toward God’s attitude
3. The result
4. The final realization of utter helplessness
Do not obey the truth, but, in contrast, they are going to obey unrighteousness. If you don’t
obey the truth, you’re going to obey unrighteousness.
It’s not “both and,” it’s “either or.”
2. Indignation – the manifestation of unrighteousness
3. Wrath - what they receive
Tribulation – One of the translations says “sorry.” Another says “misery.” Perhaps misery
that’s real sorrowful, or sorrowful misery would approximate it. But I do not believe that is
deep enough. In checking the usage of this word in the text, the best way I know to
describe this word, tribulation, is when you have something pressing hard on your life,
something pressing hard on a man’s soul. Something hard pressing on you. I imagine all of
us at times have had a form of this tribulation. Something that sort of oppressed and
encased us, just hard on us. That’s this word, tribulation.
“Anguish” – stenochōria – literally means closed in and can’t get out. That is a tremendous
word. When I put that together with all of this self-willed, head-strong against God, the
logical course of action unrighteousness, manifested in indignation, reward, or what they
receive, wrath, and something pressing hard. And they are closed in to something they
can’t get out. Why? Because they have made a decision to serve the Adversary rather than
the true God. When man makes that decision, what God is saying here from God’s point of
view, he is closed in. He can’t get out because he has willed and determined by his will
that he is going to be head-strong against the true God.
“Upon” is epi.
“Every soul” – every person
“Doeth” – katergazomai – “Doeth” equals “worketh,” which is used in Romans 1:27. This
word, as you work it down to the best understanding that I have of the usage of this word,
it literally means perseveres in it. The situation is not irreconcilable. It is possible for a
self-willed, head-strong man against God to change. When I think of this I think of Paul
before he was born again. Head-strong, self-willed. He thought he was doing right. Was he
sincere? These men are sincere too, but sincerity is no guarantee for truth.
It means perseveres in it, which also implies if he discontinues persevering in it, he can get
born again and put God first in his life. Tremendous thing comes to my mind. God is able
to save to the uttermost, even the self-willed, head-strong against God. What they receive
is wrath, indignation, all of that, if they persevere in it.
But there is a way out, and Jesus Christ is the only way out.
“First” – means of the Jew especially.
“Also” – Scratch this word.
“Gentile” – Greek
You wonder why of the Jew especially. It’s very simple. Because Israel had the privilege,
which is so much greater than any Gentile ever had. They had the greater privilege because
they had the oracles of God. They had men of God, prophets of God, so they had the
greater privilege. So with the greater privilege also goes the greater responsibility.
You who are members of The Way Corps have had a greater privilege than people who
have not been members of The Way Corps. Therefore, upon your shoulders also rests a
greater responsibility. With every greatness of a privilege must go a greater responsibility.
This is also true of judgments in the Word. There are a number of different kinds of
judgments mentioned in the Word. This is why I have no problem with judgments in the
Word. People often ask me about the poor people in Africa who have not heard. I’m not so
concerned about them. What about your neighbor who has heard and refuses to believe?
There will have to be a greater judgment for a man who has heard and refused to believe,
than an individual who has never heard. Our God is a loving and just God, the Bible says,
and I’m sure His love and His justice will be fair to all men as it’s possible for God to be,
for He is God. Praise God that He is God and man doesn’t do the judging. Man is not as
fair as God is.
“But” – in contrast
“Glory, honor and peace” – In Verse 7 it was glory, honor and incorruption. The word
“incorruption” is not in the text here. But they have in the text the word “peace.” That’s
beautiful. Glory and honor are set in contrast to tribulation and anguish. Peace is set in
contrast to incorruption of Verse 7, because once you have the great realization of the truth
of God’s Word that the dead in Christ will rise, that mortals will put on immortality, you
get peace in your heart. That’s why I believe “peace” is used here. Absolutely beautiful.
Glory, honor and peace.
Peace is like a quiet serenity, a quiet acquiescence, a quiet inner certainty.
Wasn’t it the psalmist who said that if he were in the midst of hell God would be there?
That’s peace. Daniel in the lions den, to be able to go to sleep had to be peaceful. Hundreds
of places in the Word of God where men walked with great believing and had that inner
That inner peace is always built on man’s believing and his knowledge of the hope.
Originally, it was the hope of the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Abraham saw his
day, meaning that he looked for the first coming. He saw the first coming and that was his
hope. You and I have seen his day. It’s over with. He came. They crucified him. But God
did something. He raised him from the dead. The only one that’s ever been made alive.
And we look forward to his second coming. He’s coming back. It’s in that hope of the
return that we have peace.
When you look at this real honestly, and spiritually, if we die tonight the next moment is
the gathering together. So if we would have to stand for the truth of the greatness of God’s
Word and even give our lives, we still have peace. Really something.
“To every man” – to every person
“Worketh” – ergazomai - like energized comes off this word
Everyone who is energized to do good, uses his energy, expends his life for good.
“To the Jew first, especially, and also to the Gentile” – I didn’t check “also.” It’s omitted
in Bullinger, so scratch it. You really don’t need it. To the Jews especially and to the
Romans 2:6-11 107
I believe this goes back again to the Jews especially, because they were the ones who first
had the oracles of God. They were the ones to whom first the day of Pentecost came in the
temple. That’s why I believe it’s stated here in the way in which it is stated.
This is the great conclusion of this section.
“Respect” – prosōpolēpsia, meaning partiality.
For there is no partiality with God. No respect of persons. He’s going to render to every
man, reward every man, according to his works. And there is no partiality with God.
“With” is para.
That means without respect to the birth of an individual, the location of that birth, country,
state, nation, without respect to color and everything else. There is no partiality with God.
So what he has shown thus far in the book of Romans is that both Jews and Gentiles are
without God and without hope, all need to get born again. And God is no respecter of the
Jew or Gentile. They are going to have to come God’s way if they are going to have God’s
That I believe is the greatness of these verses.