there will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the jew first and also the greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the jew first and also the greek. [romans 2:9-10]
who does evil?
the first of two kinds of people described here is the one no one wants to be. the qualification is doing evil. there are no exceptions given here, it is for every human being. there are no ethnic distinctions, jew or non-jew [the jew first and also the greek]. so what is evil? don’t we all sin? yes, we all are born sinful. [psalm 51:5] the human heart is sick with sin. [jer 17:9] and without divine intervention, we would never submit to God. [rom 8:7]
but thanks be to God for his divine intervention! in his love, he desired to save human beings who do evil. so he sent his only Son, who he had been in perfect unity with since eternity past. he sustained his only Son through a lifetime of being wrapped in human flesh, tempted in all the same ways we are, yet without ever giving into them. he crushed his Son, putting him on the cross to pay a debt we could never pay. then he raised him to life, brought him home, and glorified him with a name that is above every name. he put all things in submission under his feet. now reunited in perfect unity once again, the Father and the Son, along with the Holy Spirit, rule and reign over all things in heaven and on earth, with joy and gladness in each other. and as they rule, they are preparing a people for themselves, to spend eternity participating with them in their joy and gladness in each other!
so what does this have to do with doing evil? we know that God is a forgiving God, so what evil would he not forgive? Jesus tells us.
the one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that i have spoken will judge him on the last day. [john 12:48]
the one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” [luke 10:16]
but whoever denies me before men, i also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. [matt 10:33]
the one who rejects the glory of God in the forgiveness of Jesus Christ is the one who does evil. not doing it one time, for certainly we all have, but doing it for a lifetime. a life of the rejection of Christ is the unforgivable evil in the heart of man. every other evil, every other sin, is only a manifestation and an outpouring of the root evil of rejecting Christ. and the reason they are riddled with tribulation and distress? because they live a life of rejection of the only thing that would satisfy their soul! the very glory and character of God!
who does good?
we’ve spent months talking about how our salvation is not earned. our good works alone could never gain us glory and honor and peace. what does God require of us to qualify as doing good? he tells us through his prophet micah.
he has told you, o man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? [micah 6:8]
to do justice [out of love for God’s just character], to love kindness [loving God’s kind character], and to walk humbly with your God [through faith in his Son, Jesus Christ!] if doing evil is the rejection of Christ, then doing good is clinging to him. any other good works are only an outpouring of that faith he has put in our hearts. and the reason this doing good results in glory and honor and peace is that God himself is glory and honor and peace! this is not our glory, not honor for ourselves, not peace from within. Christ is our peace, we share in his honor, and we are satisfied fully and forever in his glory.
God’s message is clear! come and cling to Christ! live in his glory and freedom and joy. for he longs to share with you every satisfying thing that he is.
~ arwen eastman