More bad news for the do-nothing gospel

Reposted from the Kineti blog and authored by Judah Gabriel Himango, one of Tabernacle of David’s teachers.

I’m awe-struck by this passage:

“God will pay back each person according to his works. To those persisting in doing good works by seeking glory, honor, and immortality—the payment is eternal life. But to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—the payment is wrath and fury. There will be trouble and hardship for every soul that does evil—to the Jew first and also to the Gentile. But there will be glory, honor, and shalom to everyone who does good—to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.”

-Apostle Paul, Romans 2

This passage strikes me for three reasons:

  1. It undermines the “faith-only/do-nothing gospel” that says God’s only requirement is belief.
  2. It tells us that God makes demands on us, and that demand is doing good works (e.g. charity). Eternal life for those who do, wrath for those who don’t.
  3. It lays out a divine order in which Israel takes precedence, both in blessing and judgment.

I think this passage upsets a great deal of Christian theology. But it’s right there in Romans, from Paul’s own mouth, only verses after saying, “The righteous shall live by faith”, here is Paul saying that good works are required of God’s people.