Blog Through the Bible Project
Romans 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.
12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
I have known smug Christians who are convinced that they are going to heaven because they have their theological boxes ticked, because they believe the right things about Christ, whereas those who far excel them in mercy, justice and kindness are going to hell, because they do not believe in Christ.
What kind of justice is that? Not God’s.
Here Paul has a statement which is at odds with smug parochialism.
I cannot do better than quote it.
6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”
7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.
And for Mr and Mrs Average–not too bad, not too good? I believe mercy will rule.
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My thinking is not clear on this issue.
I do believe in standard reformed theology–that I am grafted into Christ, that when God sees me he sees Christ, that he accepts me because Christ paid the punishment for my sins on the cross.
However, I also believe that all the gentle kind Buddhists and Hindus and Muslims and Jews who believe what they have been taught will also find mercy because of the content of their lives and characters.
C.S. Lewis has a scene in The Last Battle in which though who were taught to worship Tash, but whose life had a nobility and purity that resembled the followers of Aslan in fact enter with Aslan to Aslan’s Own Country.
I believe that too.