“There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. But there will be glory and honour and peace from God for all who do good—for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. For God does not show favouritism.”
Romans 2:9-11 NLT
There is a dichotomy between evil and good, as Paul explained in these verses from his letter to the Roman Christians, that we are considering today. Considering a person’s behaviour, there is “trouble and calamity” for doing evil, and “glory and honour and peace” for doing good. Black and white. No shades of grey. But what does “for all who do good” actually mean. What was in Paul’s thinking?
There are plenty of verses in the Bible about doing good. In Galatians 6:9-10 we read, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith“. Doing good to everyone is not a difficult concept to understand. We look out for our elderly neighbour, helping them with shopping or a task in their house. We use our resources to perhaps take someone to hospital when they visit the out-patients. We provide a meal for someone in need. we help our children with their homework. The list of possibilities for doing good is endless. Doing good within our societies, communities and families holds them together, as otherwise they would fall apart.
But these are all ways in which we do good to others. But what about doing good to ourselves? We read in Philippians 1:6, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns“. We must also consider doing good to ourselves. Now, this is far more contentious because it means we should perhaps be considering our inner persons, body, soul and spirit. Take our bodies, for instance. I think we will all agree that some foods are good for us, and others are not. Should we be considering doing good to ourselves by eating the right foods in the correct quantities? And are we engaged in practices that are harmful to our bodies? Enough said on that one! And then we have our spirits. They need feeding as well. A daily diet of Scripture and prayer can only do us good.
Paul said we will receive “glory and honour and peace” by doing good. Honour may happen in our lifetimes, recognised perhaps by an award of one kind or another. But most people who are doing good will not be recognised in this life. It’s the same with glory. Something that we are banking for the next life. However, we can experience peace in our lives today. That comfort we achieve in knowing that the life of someone around us has been made a bit easier. Peace, because we don’t have on our consciences something we should have done for someone else, but didn’t do it. Peace, in these troubling and challenging times is something that is invaluable.
We pilgrims are the glue that holds our societies and communities together. And we achieve that by doing good. Being examples to those around us. Doing good enables us to enjoy “glory and honour and peace from God” both is this life and in the life to come.
Dear Father God. You have blessed us so much. We thank You and worship You today. Amen.