5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.
6 He will render to each one according to his works:
7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life;
8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
Some people wonder, “If God is real, why is the world so messed up?” They look around and all they see is heartache. Taking a closer look though, we can see evidences of God and His love all around us. He gives good gifts to all people, regardless of their actions (Rom. 2:4). And to those who trust in Jesus, He gives even more.
In God’s kindness, He shows restraint—that is, He allows for possible repentance, but only for a time. God does not abolish punishment all together, but He will suspend it temporarily (2 Pet. 3:9) out of His longing to see people come to repentance. While God shows the riches of His kindness in that He holds back deserved judgment, it is the height of conceit that people sin all the more blatantly, rather than turn to Him in repentance.
God evaluates whether faith in Him is real. All works are the actions of people responding to one of two opposing sources: the domain of darkness and the kingdom of the Son (Col. 1:13). Every deed has a signature that links it unmistakably to either the work of self or the work of God, and there is an unmistakable, undeniable end for each of those two paths. To those who eagerly await Christ, He will come a second time for them, but for those who do not, there is a time to die and then judgment.
• Paul was not teaching how to be made right with God, rather about how God evaluates whether faith in Him is real. What kind of behavior characterizes those with eternal life?
• What would it look like for you to patiently do what is good this week? How does this passage help you understand what patience really means for those who are in Christ?
• Thank God for the kindness and patience He has shown you through His offer of salvation and His promise of eternal life. Ask Him to give you wisdom and courage to share the gospel with those who have not yet turned to Him in repentance.