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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 2 - Verse 6

Verse 6. Who will render. That is, who will make retribution as a righteous Judge; or who will give to every man as he deserves.

To every man. To each one. This is a general principle, and it is clear that in this respect God would deal with the Jew as he does with the Gentile. This general principle the apostle is establishing, that he may bring it to bear on the Jew, and to show that he cannot escape simply because he is a Jew.

According to his deeds. That is, as he deserves; or God will be just, and will treat every man as he ought to be treated, or according to his character. The word deeds (erga) is sometimes applied to the external conduct. But it is plain that this is not its meaning here. It denotes everything connected with conduct, including the acts of the mind, the motives, the principles, as well as the mere external act. Our word character more aptly expresses it than any single word. It is not true that God will treat men according to their external conduct; but the whole language of the Bible implies that he will judge men according to the whole of their conduct, including their thoughts, and principles, and motives; that is, as they deserve. The doctrine of this place is elsewhere abundantly taught in the Bible. Pr 24:12; Mt 16:27; Re 20:12; Jer 32:19.

It is to be observed here, that the apostle does not say that men will be rewarded for their deeds, (comp. Lu 17:10,) but according to (kata) their deeds. Christians will be saved on account of the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ, (Tit 3:5) but still the rewards of heaven will be according to their works; that is, they who have laboured most, and been most faithful, shall receive the highest reward, or their fidelity in their Master's service shall be the measure or rule according to which the rewards of heaven shall be distributed, Mt 25:14-29. Thus the ground or reason why they are saved shall be the merits of the Lord Jesus. The measure of their happiness shall be according to their character and deeds. On what principle God will distribute his rewards the apostle proceeds immediately to state.

{q} "Who will render" Pr 24:12; Mt 16:27; Re 20:12

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