Romans 2:6, 11 God “will give to each person according to what he has done”.
For God does not show favoritism.
20 centuries after this was written, I think most Gentiles have trouble grasping the emotional context of what is written here, but on the other hand, people really haven’t changed. Even today, the sense of difference between people groups can be intense at times. Paul is writing to directly confront that. He’s not being original here; verse 6 quotes both Psalm 62:12 and Proverbs 24:12. That’s a comfort, because it means that he isn’t deviating from what God has been saying all along. God does choose individuals and groups for specific purposes, as He so famously chose Abram and changed him to Abraham, but that doesn’t negate individual responsibility or individual opportunity. Right now the world political scene is being roiled by President Trump insisting on “America first,” which many are interpreting as “America only.” On the contrary, he is insisting on individual responsibility and accountability, and those who have been sidestepping those issues are upset. That is of course playing out on an international scale, but we deal with the issue constantly on a personal level. There are those who insist that their “victimhood” in one area or another excuses them from responsibility and accountability in other areas, when it doesn’t. One of the core messages of the Bible is the universal need for human repentance and God’s grace. The first four verses of this very chapter bring that out. We are very prone to accuse others of our own sins, and try to feel superior by insisting that they are worse than we are. Paul is saying that’s a total bunch of BS; we are equally accountable before God.
Growing up as an American child in Japan, many times I got away with doing things that would not have been permitted had I been Japanese. Looking back now, some of them were fairly remarkable, but I don’t think I was deliberately gaming the system. However, that and many other things contributed to an overall sense of privilege, of being special. On one level, every individual is special and precious in God’s sight, but on another level, as Paul says here, there is no favoritism at all. It was when I was hearing a testimony from a preacher’s kid about how he had come to realize that he couldn’t get into heaven by hanging onto his father’s belt that I had my own epiphany, an encounter with God that I explain as God tapping me on the shoulder and, when I turn, showing me a mirror so that I could see the blackness of my own soul. It was both devastating and incredibly liberating. When you think you are God’s “pet,” you don’t want to hear otherwise. God doesn’t have pets, but His love is poured out on all who will respond to Him in repentance and faith, in the obedience that comes from love. As I have discovered, that is far better than being God’s pet!
Father, thank You for this reminder. I feel like You want me to share this with the congregation, but I don’t know how to put it into a form that will really communicate. I ask for clear guidance and anointing so that we will all be built up and rescued from the lies of the enemy, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!