Today’s reading got me thinking about rewards. I’ve always resisted thinking about being rewarded by God for doing good. Yet, the Bible is clear that there are rewards for those who are faithful in God’s kingdom. Conversely, there are also consequences for doing wrong. Look at the passage in Romans 2, verses 5 – 11:
5But 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. 6God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”[a] 7To 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. 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.
As Christians, we know that our eternal life is solely dependent upon our relationship with Jesus Christ. However, reading this passage could make one think that doing good can save you. Out of context, one can certainly get that impression. However, I believe that Paul is pointing out that it is God inside us, changing us, that makes us righteous, and that results in our outward expressions of good. Look at what he says at the end of this chapter in verses 28 & 29:
28A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.
It is easy to appear spiritual on the outside, but you will know a person by their deeds (fruit). On the other hand, if God is inside a person, it will show outwardly.