Summary: Are you saved, because you are better than the rest – that you are not “self-seeking” and you embrace the truth and follow what is good? Did God save you, because you are not stubborn?
“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance? 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. God ‘will give to each person according to what he has done.’ To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism” (Romans 2:1-11, NIV).
Why would others suffer the wrath of God, while there are those who are saved from it?
Are you saved, because you are better than the rest – that you are not “self-seeking” and you embrace the truth and follow what is good?
Did God save you, because you are not stubborn -- unlike the rest who do not repent?
While it is easy to believe that we have at least a little goodness in us, that on our own we are able to repent, we need to tremble at God’s Word – believe instead of what He declares:
“What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one’" (Rom. 3:9-12, NIV).
Perhaps, others would contend that even before we are converted we could do some righteousness, we were seeking God but we did not know the way; or there was a great “chasm” in the road going to Him and we could not just jump over it, so we couldn’t approach God.
In our human standard, perhaps, we could also clothe ourselves with “righteousness.” But it would not match the standard of God, as we read: “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…” (Isa. 64:6, NIV.)
We also read that “no one seeks God.” Jesus did not come to be found by those who were seeking for God. Rather, He “came to seek and to save what was lost." (Luke 19:10, NIV).
God Himself seeks for His sheep. We read in Ezekiel 34:11-16, “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.”
And we were not trying to find our way to overcome what hindered us in coming to God. Rather, we “have turned away” from God! We “have together become WORTHLESS; there is NO ONE WHO DOES GOOD, NOT EVEN ONE”!
It’s hard to accept our worthlessness, but Paul wrote the Christians at Ephesus, “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. LIKE THE REST, WE WERE BY NATURE OBJECTS OF WRATH” (Eph. 2:3, NIV).