Thesis #77 of 95. Everyone is to be judged and rewarded according to their life and legacy; not for the gifts they were privileged to receive but how they have been utilized
Rom2:6-11 (God) will repay each person according to his works: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek after glory, honor, and immortality He will give eternal life. But to those who are self-serving and do not obey truth but unrighteousness He will give wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of mankind who does evil, for the Jew first and for the Greek, but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who does what is good, to the Jew first and to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.
Titus2:11-15 THE GRACE OF GOD HAS APPEARED FOR THE SALVATION OF THE HUMAN RACE TEACHING US TO DENY UNGODLINESS AND WORLDLY LUSTS TO LIVE SENSIBLY, RIGHTEOUSLY AND DEVOUTLY IN THE CURRENT AGE, ANTICIPATING THE BLESSED HOPE AND SHEKINAH OF OUR GREAT GOD AND THE APPEARING OF OUR SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, WHO GAVE HIMSELF FOR OUR SAKE SO THAT WE SHOULD BE DELIVERED FROM LAWLESSNESS AND BE PURIFIED AS A SPECIALLY CHOSEN PEOPLE FOR HIMSELF BURNING WITH ZEAL TO DO GOOD WORKS!!!
1Jn4:16b-17 GOD IS LOVE, and anyone who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in them. Thereby love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because just as God is, so are we in this world.
Mt16:27(KJV) The Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with his angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works.
Mt5:45-47 Prove yourselves to be sons of your Father who is in heaven! For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. So if you only love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors, do they not do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Even the Gentiles, do they not do the same?
The two Pauline texts included above are regarded by many as anomalous, i.e., contrary to what they understand to be at the heart of the rest of Paul’s teaching. As I am in the process of demonstrating, that is because in the footsteps of Augustine they are misunderstanding the apostle’s teaching concerning faith, justification, law and the economy of grace. My earlier post summarizes the juridical aspects, whilst the above texts from Romans chapter two and Titus summarize Paul’s understanding of what God is like and how He will judge the world. And it is in line with every other author and teacher of the New Testament including Jesus Himself.
God is a rewarding God, fair and just towards all; utterly impartial. His judgements will be on the basis of our works and legacy – whether or not the world is a better place for us having been a part of it. And as Jesus and James tend to emphasize, that judgement will also be redistributive and compensatory. As another earlier post explains, it will take account of circumstances and opportunities (disabled beggar Lazarus had little of either whilst the rich man had plenty).
The Creator’s ways may be extraordinary but in the starkest contrast to the god of Luther and the Reformers, Paul’s God and mine is thoroughly comprehensible and reasonable in terms of His justice and judgements. And that is just as well, for as John astonishingly affirms (above), Christians are to be like God in the world. God is love personified; everyone who loves is of God whilst the Christian is being perfected in love such that God abides in him and he in God.
Volumes more could be written concerning the subject of this thesis, and they have been. The above biblical references summarize the situation regarding God’s nature, justice and judgements. And I have capitalized the passage from Titus where Paul summarizes the pivotal role Jesus Christ and His elect people play within God’s saving purposes for this fallen, broken world. [Note who the Christian elect are and what they are for, according to Paul: “a specially chosen people for God, purified and burning with zeal to perform good works”]
All this has to be (and now has been) reconciled with the rest of Scripture to provide a cohesive account of God’s wondrous providential purposes for humanity and the Good News of His coming kingdom. According to One who should know, such is to be proclaimed to the nations before the current arrangements on Earth are concluded (Mt24:14).