A few weeks back I had my first preach at the parish where I've just been ordained curate. The passage that was given to me for this my first preach was Romans 2:1-11. I mentioned this to one of my old pals back at theological college and their response was to scream and say "Kip, they've thrown you right in there haven't they?" which was code for what a tricky passage to be given first up and more importantly, how are you going to read/interpret/preach Romans 2, especially the all important verses 6-8:
God "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.
As some of you know, there has been quite a bit of debate on the meaning of this verses. The issue simply put is this can Paul really be teaching salvation by 'works' given what he says in Romans 3:20?
Many of the traditional heavyweights such as Schriener and Moo take this line but do you know what after much pondering and considering other NT teaching such as Matthew 16:27, 2 Corinthians 5:10 and Revelation 22:12 I'm not persuaded. What's more today I was reading the Westminster Confession of Faith wherein we read that
"...good works, done in obedience to God's commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith: and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the Gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life.
In other words, doing good is an integral aspect of your salvation. Put another way, there is no such thing as an empty set reading to Romans 2 and so to Schriener and Moo et al, I say booo ya booo to you.