So, Mr. Apostle himself, Paul has these two seemingly contradictory things to say in the same letter to the same people in Rome.
“16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed i from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
and there’s this…
“6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury”
Excerpt From: Crossway. “ESV Classic Reference Bible.” iBooks.
YOWZA! The righteous ones live by FAITH and then, “YOU’RE GOING TO BE RENDERED TREATMENT BASED ON YOUR WORKS!” (I’m sure Paul meant that to in all caps no emojis.) What do we make of this?
Well, a lot actually.
1. Paul is quoting Psalm 62 where David lists two groups of people. group 1 hates God’s appointed king and plot secretly to see him destroyed. Group 2 is legit. Maybe even classified as, “Too legit” but the jury is still out on that. Group 2 finds their rest in Him and know that salvation is totally from Him and Him alone (Go read the Psalm!).
2. Paul is saying works DO MATTER! They matter because they GIVE EVIDENCE of salvation, NOT the BASIS of your salvation though! Tim Keller states it way better, “In Psalm 62, what matters fundamentally is a person’s relationship to God, as their refuge, their rock, their salvation—and, as verses 9-10 of the psalm suggest, this will be seen in how they perceive their life, and what they do in it. Good works show we have saving faith; they do not add to our faith in saving us.”
Preachers do this from time time: What do your works say about your faith? What do your conversations prove? (No one is perfect, but what’s the trajectory of these works?) In the west, particularly within the realm of student ministry- it’s REALLY easy to pull wool over eyes and play the game. Eventually though, the works prove the person to be a true believer or a really good game player.
Hear me out, I’m not trying to get you to doubt your salvation; although if it needs to doubted, then maybe you need to pay attention to those doubts. No, I want to encourage believers that if you do find your rest in Him alone for salvation, nd you see the evidence of this (albeit imperfectly), praise Him! He has chosen you for salvation and will continue the work of making you into the image of His Son and He will see it to completion too!
Excerpt From: Tim Keller. “Romans 1-7 For You.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/rkjwW.l