Romans 2:7
To those who by perseverance in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, He will give eternal life.
Without ExcuseT.F. Lockyer Romans 2:1-11
CensoriousnessJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 2:1-16
Jews as Bad as PagansJ. Oswald Dykes, D. D.Romans 2:1-16
Judging OthersT. Robinson, D. D.Romans 2:1-16
Judging OthersJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 2:1-16
Judgment -- Human and DivineU. R. Thomas.Romans 2:1-16
Man's InexcusablenessT. Robinson, D. D.Romans 2:1-16
The Final Judgment ForeshadowedW. Tyson.Romans 2:1-16
The Judges JudgedC. Simeon, M. A.Romans 2:1-16
The Judgment of GodT. G. Horton.Romans 2:1-16
The Leading Principles Regulating the General JudgmentR.M. Edgar Romans 2:1-16
The Self-Righteous and the Hypocrite Tried and Condemned ByJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 2:1-16
Unconscious HypocrisyProf. Jowett.Romans 2:1-16
The Righteous Judgment of GodC.h Irwin Romans 2:5-16
A Righteous JudgeS.R. Aldridge Romans 2:6-11
ContrastsJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 2:7-10
Factiousness and its PunishmentJ. Morison, D. D.Romans 2:7-10
GloryJ. Morison, D. D.Romans 2:7-10
Glory, Honour and PeaceJ. Morison, D. D.Romans 2:7-10
Good Works Must be ContinuousT. Brooks.Romans 2:7-10
High LifeW. L. Watkinson.Romans 2:7-10
HonourJ. Morison, D. D.Romans 2:7-10
ImmortalityJ. Morison, D. D.Romans 2:7-10
Indignation and WrathR. Haldane.Romans 2:7-10
Labouring for EternityA. Reed, D. D.Romans 2:7-10
Obedience to Unrighteousness, I.ER. Haldane.Romans 2:7-10
Patient Continuance in Well-DoingRomans 2:7-10
Perseverance: its Value and EffectsW. H. D. Adams.Romans 2:7-10
Seeking for Glory, Honour, and ImmortalityC. Neil, M. A.Romans 2:7-10
The Beatitude of Patient CourageA. E. Gregory.Romans 2:7-10
The Blessings God has in StoreJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 2:7-10
The Christian's Great AimJ. Dunlop.Romans 2:7-10
The Constancy of HolinessC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 2:7-10
The End of Sinful PleasuresT. Guthrie, D. D.Romans 2:7-10
The Glory of HeavenA. Maclaren.Romans 2:7-10
The Glory of HeavenBp. Hopkins.Romans 2:7-10
The Law of ConsequencesBp. Whipple.Romans 2:7-10
The Mercenary SpiritBp. Thirlwall.Romans 2:7-10
The Permanent Determination to Realise GoodnessProf. Godet.Romans 2:7-10
The Punishment of SinT. Robinson, D. D.Romans 2:7-10
The Retribution of Sin Mercifully RevealedH. W. Beecher.Romans 2:7-10
The Reward of Patient EffortGeorge Eliot.Romans 2:7-10
Tribulation and AnguishJ. Morison, D. D.Romans 2:7-10
Well-DoingD. Thomas, D. D.Romans 2:7-10
Well-DoingT. Robinson, D. D.Romans 2:7-10
Working for EternityRomans 2:7-10

That the anticipation of a judgment rises naturally in the mind is shown by the present testimony of conscience - a law recognized as in, yet above us, and by the utterances of heathen writers on morals. The Scriptures corroborate and clarify this conception. The apostle asserts of the future what Abraham felt of the present Providence, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Will he slay the righteous with the wicked?" Note some particulars confirming the righteousness of God's judgment.

I. THE RECOMPENSE WILL BE PROPORTIONED TO MEN'S DEEDS. Not their professions, but their acts, will determine their destiny. And the character and number of their acts will be reckoned. There is no conflict between this statement and other Scripture passages which speak of the reward as one of grace, not of merit, and as a gift bestowed on all Christians. For the reward will be immensely greater than men's deeds deserve, and will not be earned by them, but conditioned by their conduct. The gospel comes not as a substitute for, but as a help to realizing, practical righteousness; and whilst every justified believer will be saved, each will have the praise that is his, according to his works of faith and labours of love.

II. THE JUDGMENT WILL TAKE ACCOUNT OF MEN'S AIMS IN LIFE, The one class seek "glory, honour, and incorruption," and also "peace." Their choice does them credit; they selected what is fair and lovely and permanent, what is opposed to the rule of the flesh, and is unaffected by the ravages of time. Their goal is not the "vain pomp and glory of the world;" not simply success, but to reach a position of pure, lasting excellence. And they shall receive in fullest measure what they desire. "Eternal life' comprehends all blessedness - deliverance from the thraldom of sin; no need to gather up the skirts lest defilement ensue, for the very streets of their city shall be of pure gold; enwrapment with the Divine splendour; walking in the light of God; manifested as his sons by the likeness they wear; elevated to princely employments and regal dignities. The objects for which the other class strive are not definitely stated, but may be gathered from antithesis and from the unrighteousness to which they yield themselves. They seek not "peace" and "truth," and their harvest likewise is the multiplied outcome of the seeds they have sown. No description of hell can transcend the awful picture of" wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish," resting upon the soul; that, clasping unrighteousness to its bosom as a prize on earth, finds it sting like a serpent and burn with fiercest remorse when allowed full sway in its "own place."

III. THE AWARD WILL BEAR RELATION TO THE METHODS BY WHICH THE OBJECTS OF EARTHLY ENDEAVOUR HAVE BEEN PURSUED. A righteous aim can be permanently attained only in righteous ways. The recognition of this stamps the government of the universe as moral. The "patient continuance" of the one class could only be practised by the well-doing. It includes passive endurance and active perseverance; the stationary posture of the caryatides, and the carrying of a burden in the face of wind and storm. The other class are described as "factious," quarrelling with their lot, coveting pleasure and notoriety, "working evil." Refusing to bow to the yoke of truth, they become the slaves of unrighteousness; and a hard master and terrible paymaster does unrighteousness prove. The judgment of God will proceed on easily intelligible principles. It is not difficult for men to decide whether they are working good or working evil. It is not reaching a conclusion after abstract speculation, nor holding a creed with multitudinous details. Only an omniscient Judge, however, could bring to light the hidden deeds of darkness, the secret thing, good or bad.

IV. THE JUDGE WILL OBSERVE RIGOROUS IMPARTIALITY. With him "is no respect of persons." Jew and Greek shall be tried with due regard to the presence or absence of religious light (cf. Acts 10:35 in the history of Cornelius). It is impossible to bribe the almighty Arbiter or to overawe his tribunal. The anticipation of a Divine judgment has been a comfort to the oppressed, remembering that "One higher than the high regardeth;" and it will be a terror to the worker of iniquity, and an incentive to all noble deeds. "Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men." None can complain that their condition makes it impossible to be patient in well-doing. Christ, our Pattern and our Power, offers his "very present help" to all who find the stress and strain of life too severe for mortal strength. - S.R.A.

To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life.



(J. Lyth, D. D.)

I. THE SUPREME DUTY OF LIFE. "Well-doing." Man only lives as he is active, and he only lives rightly and happily as he acts well. "Well-doing" does not mean the "well-doing" of one faculty, but of all faculties, not in one sphere of life, but in all spheres; it means doing everything from the right principle, supreme love to God.

II. THE SUPREME DUTY OF LIFE REQUIRES CONTINUANCE. "Patient continuance." He that does not do well always, at all times, in all circumstances, does not do well at all. A man is either under the sovereignty of the right principle or not. If not, whatever he does is wrong-doing; if he is, whatever he does is right. "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he." Hold on to the principle, be ever loyal to it.

III. CONTINUANCE IN THE SUPREME DUTY CALLS FOR PATIENCE. "Patient continuance is well-doing." Patience, because there are so many forces that obstruct, so many circumstances that try, so many agencies that are hostile. "Resist the devil," etc.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

"Good work," as the Greek has it — not "works," but lifelong work. Consider this —

I. NEGATIVELY. It is not —

1. Well-knowing.

2. Well-promising.

3. Well-professing.

4. Well-abstaining.

II. POSITIVELY. It is well-doing; good.

1. As to the matter — prescribed by God and according to His will (Micah 6:8).

2. As to the motive — done for God's glory and pleasure (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:23).

3. As to the manner — carefully, earnestly, heartily (2 Corinthians 9:7; Romans 12:11; Colossians 3:23).

4. As to its essential element — love (Matthew 22:37-39; Romans 13:10).

5. As to its example — Christ (1 Peter 2:21-23).

III. RELATIONALLY. Well-doing is agreeable.

1. To the nature God has given us.

2. To the relation in which we stand to God and our fellow men.

3. To the rule God has given us in Scripture.Conclusion:

1. Well-doing is the effect of grace alone (Romans 3:12; Ephesians 2:9).

2. Man is renewed in Christ for this purpose (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10).

3. Believers are required to abound in it (Colossians 1:10; 1 Timothy 6:18).

4. Well-doing alone will be rewarded. "Well done thou good and faithful servant."

(T. Robinson, D. D.)

As the sun never leaves off shining, though clouds sometimes obscure its light, so we must never cease to do well, even to our enemies and persecutors.

If we look back to the history of efforts which have made great changes, it is astonishing how many of them seemed hopeless to those who looked on at the beginning. Take, e.g., the effort after the unity of Italy. Look into Mazzini's account of his first yearning, when he was a boy, after a restored greatness and new freedom for his country, and of his first efforts as a young man to rouse the same feelings in other young men, and get them to work towards a united nationality. Almost everything seemed against him; his countrymen were ignorant or indifferent, governments hostile, Europe incredulous. Of course the scorners often seemed wise. Yet you see that the prophecy lay with him.

(George Eliot.)

It is only by slow stages that we can rear a monument whose proud boast it shall be that it is oere perennius. The constant dropping of water, says one proverb, hollows out the stone, and another that "he who goes slowly goes long, and goes far." No work is well done that is done by fits and starts. Steadfast application to a fixed aim is the law of a well-spent life. When Giardini was asked how long it would take to learn the violin, he replied, Twelve hours a day for twenty years. Alas! too many of us think to play our fiddles by a species of inspiration. The Leotards and Blondins — what painful diligence must they have exhibited! The same adherence to a settled purpose might assuredly have made them benefactors of mankind had they been animated by a nobler impulse. In music, take the examples of Malibran and Pasta; in painting, of Titian and Raffaelle; in letters, of Lord Lytton and Carlyle; in science, of Laplace and Faraday; and you will find that the great results which have surrounded their names with imperishable honour, were wrought out by the most wonderful constancy of labour, and the most heroic energy of patience. Nothing can be greater mistake than to suppose that genius dispenses with labour. What genius does is to inspire the soul with a power to persevere in the labour that is needed; but the greater geniuses in every art invariably labour at their art far harder than all others, because their genius shows them the value of such patient labour, and aids them to persist in it.

(W. H. D. Adams.)

No grace, no, not the most sparkling and shining grace, can bring a man to heaven of itself without perseverance; not faith (which is the champion of grace), if it be faint and fail; nor love (which is the nurse of grace), if it decline and wax cold; nor humility (which is the adorner and beautifier of grace), if it continue not to the end; not obedience, not repentance, not patience, no, nor any other grace, except they have their perfect work. It is not enough to begin well except we end well. Manasseh and Paul began ill, but ended well; Judas and Demas began well, but ended ill.

(T. Brooks.)

Holiness consists not in the rushing of intense resolve, which, like Kishon, sweeps everything before it, and then subsides, but in the constant flow of Siloah's still waters, which perpetually make glad the city of our God. Holiness is no blazing comet, amazing nations with a transient glory; it is a fixed star that, with still, calm radiance, shines on through the darkness of a corrupt age. Holiness is persevering obedience; it is not holiness at all if it be occasional zeal and sensational piety.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The notion of patient continuance is emphasised here, not only in opposition to the idea of intermittent moral efforts, but to indicate that there are great moral obstacles to be met on this path, and that a persistent love of goodness is needed to surmount them. The apostle says literally; perseverance in "good work." In verse 6 he had used the plural. He now comprehends this multiplicity of "works" in the profound principle which constitutes their unity — the permanent determination to realise goodness. What supports a man in this course is the good which he has constantly before him: "glory," an existence without defilement or weakness, resplendent throughout with the Divine brightness of holiness and power: "honour," the approbation of God which forms the eternal honour of its object: "incorruptibility," the absolute impossibility of any wound, interruption or end to this state of being. The "and" between the last two substantives, shows a certain degree of emotion; the accumulation of terms arises from the same cause. In all human conditions there are souls who contemplate the ideal here described, and which, ravished with its beauty, are elevated by it above every earthly ambition and the pursuit of sensual gratifications. These are the men who are represented under the figure of the merchant seeking goodly pearls. For such is the pearl of great price — "life eternal!" This last word, laden, as it were, with all Divine riches, denotes the realisation of the ideal just described; it worthily closes this magnificent proposition.

(Prof. Godet.)

I. THE IDEAL CHRISTIAN LIFE. "Patient continuance in well-doing."

1. The feverish ambition which must see its name in the newspaper and be congratulated in public meetings, is in great danger of exhausting its reward before the day of judgment (Matthew 6:2-5). Happier far is he who hears with glad surprise the Master's "Well done," and finds that the work which was unnoticed on earth was seen and remembered in heaven.

2. Spasmodic effort, brief fervour followed by long languor, wins no enduring honour either in this world or the next. Steady, brave, unremitted work is that which pays best, both here and hereafter. How many teachers have for years toiled on receiving scant recognition on earth, yet day by day preparing for that time when their pound shall have gained ten pounds! There was a teacher at East Grinstead who for fifty-seven years had been present at his post twice every Sunday with few exceptions. "He has in his class the grandchildren of those he once taught. He does not remember a single occasion on which he has been late." It would be hard to find a more apt illustration of patient continuance in well-doing.

3. Patient continuance means more than patience, perseverance, endurance. It is heroic patience, strong both to bear and to do, which, like love, "beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things" and "never faileth." There are many short cuts to success in Christian work, but this is the only true way. Let us seek it earnestly, and tread it consistently.


1. What they seek they win. Eternal glory, the honour that cometh from God, a life that knows no decay, these are the objects of Christian ambition, and they who patiently seek shall find them. God giveth to such eternal life — not simply unending life, but life in all its glorious fulness. This is the end of patient Christian toil.

2. There is way which to the natural man seemeth dull, hard, uninviting, unhonourable, "but the end thereof are the ways of" life (Proverbs 14:12). The loftiest end is reached by the lowliest path.

3. Eternal life, with all its unutterable joy and glory, awaits the faithful Christian worker in every field. It is not well to dwell exclusively upon the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him, but it is surely well ever and anon to glance upward for a moment to that crown which the man with the muck rake neither sought nor saw. These things are made known to us, not that we may become careless or boastful, but that we may be strengthened and heartened.

(A. E. Gregory.)

I. THE GRANDEUR OF THE AIM. — "Seek for glory, honour, immortality." What great words these! Some wish to take them out of the vocabulary, and out of human life — they deride such ideas. But we need them, and cannot get on without them. We go into the fields, and there grows a modest simple daisy. But think what a costly flower it is! It owes its shape to the action of the vast terrible law of gravitation working through all the realms of space; to refresh it the ocean must yield its virtue; to vivify it the electrical forces must sweep through the planet; to colour it millions of vibrations must shoot through the light ether; to build it up, unfold it, perfect it, it requires an orb ninety-five millions of miles away, five hundred times bigger than all the planets put together — a million and a half times bigger than the earth itself. "Vain little daisy, will not less than this do for you," says the sceptical critic. No; less will not do. So man may seem a poor creature in infidel eyes, but if he is shut out from large ideas and hopes he loses the fulness of life and happiness. Take these words, "glory, honour, immortality," out of the vocabulary, and what is the effect on —

1. Character? It is all very well to attempt to shut men up to beef and beer, but we shall never get large, strong, beautiful life out of that. It is certain that where these words have been most laid to heart, the rarest, purest graces have bloomed. Some horticulturists hold that roses grow best on their own roots. I am quite sure that God's roses grow best so; and whenever they are severed from their own roots, grafted into some wild briar of the wilderness, and planted on secular ground, the moss rose of the garden becomes the dog rose of the hedge. No; you only get noble, tender, pure, beneficent character out of a lofty faith and a glorious hope.

2. Experience? Will the spirit of man be content without these words? No, say the men of the world, but they can find glory, honour, immortality within the worldly life. Can they? "Glory" means solidity, reality, durability; have they these? Certainly not. According to their philosophy, man is a soap bubble, and, pricked by death, where is he? "Honour," have they that? If you take the soul out of man he is but one of the beasts which perish, and social honours are his golden shoes, his jingling bells. Is this honour? "Immortality," have they that? Yes, fame. Fame! a death's head decked with a fading wreath. No, they have not these things, they have only the words. There is no lofty, luminous character, no rich, satisfying experience, except as we recognise our share in the Divine and the eternal. "To them who seek glory, honour, immortality, eternal life." God goes beyond our utmost ideas. In the lips of men these words shrink to nothing, but God fills them to overflowing with glorious meaning. Aim at the highest. When a great ideal slips out of a man's soul he begins to rot; only as he cherishes grand thoughts does he find rest to his soul, and come to the stature of a perfect man.

II. THE SIMPLICITY OF THE PATHWAY. "By patient continuance in well-doing." There is something quite startling between the aim and the condition. "Well-doing." Men have sought "glory," etc. in many strange paths, but the true plain path is here — well-doing. Not brilliant doing in trade, war, scholarship, but well-doing. Doing the work of life with a willing mind, a loving heart, with both hands earnestly — diligence in getting good, being good, doing good. In this world all the grand prizes go to a few brilliant people. It was so at school. The brilliant boys carried off the prizes. It is the same in the big world, which likes genius, brilliance, audacity. But what a blessing it is to us, the dim million, to know that God recognises patient merit, and that the grandest prizes of all are kept not for the brilliant, but for the faithful. God recognises —

1. The greatness of simple character. We are apt to overlook great character in humble guise, but God does not. We look at the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. I do not want anybody to tell me about the man who spoke prose for forty years without knowing it. Scores of men speak poetry for forty years without knowing it, nay, act splendid poetry without knowing it, and God shall surprise them with a splendid reward. "Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungered," etc. Thousands of lowly men think but little of themselves and their doings, but God knows their measure and shall surprise them with glory, honour, immortality beyond their most glowing dream.

2. The greatness of simple duty. The cynic loves to show how mean splendid things are when critically examined. Such substances as clay and flint form the basis of nearly all the precious stones. But so far from showing the meanness of magnificence, he shows the magnificence of meanness. So men of a certain temper love to show how all the business of life is vulgar and insignificant; but if our daily tasks are viewed in regard to the will of God, the fashioning of our character and destiny, they are solemn and momentous. Angels and shopkeepers, archangels and manufacturers, belong to the same celestial hierarchy as they stand before God's face and do His bidding. "There is no difference, for God is no respecter of persons."

3. The greatness of simple suffering. One of our writers said the world just now wants heroes. It altogether depends what kind of heroes they are. Some of these make a great stir for small advantage. The most illustrious of heroes are often those of "obscure life." All around us simple people bear uncomplainingly the most bitter suffering; nobly resist the most terrible temptation; sustain with silence the heaviest burdens. Gordon flashed a splendid figure on the imagination of the world, but there are many Gordons unknown to fame, but who are known to God, and shall not lose their appropriate reward. Conclusion: Let us be content with our place and work however coarse and common. If we cannot be flowers of the garden, of the aristocracy of flowers, let us be flowers of the grass, very beautiful in the eyes of Him who makes the grass to grow upon the mountains. It is not in brilliance that we shall be saved, but by pegging away in simple, honest work. But let us feed our soul with high beliefs and hopes. Let us talk to ourselves all the day long about glory, honour, immortality, eternal life; so shall our path of life, however lowly, be a royal pathway, brighter and brighter, to a perfect day!

(W. L. Watkinson.)

I. THE OBJECT OF THE CHRISTIAN'S PURSUIT. A triple crown — a crown of "glory and honour and immortality." But does not this reduce their virtue to a thing of hollow utility? No; as will appear if we consider their motive, which is that they may east their crowns at Jesus' feet. They seek —

1. A glorious position — "glory," "majesty." The inhabitants of heaven are all glorious within, and all glorious without.

2. The highest praise, "honour." Courtiers have spent years to insinuate themselves into the favour of their king; while vast numbers have not spent an hour in seeking the smile of God. And yet to have the approbation of the highest potentate of earth, is nothing compared with the approbation of the King of Glory.

3. To hold this position and this praise in perpetual possession. There is here a contrast between the things of earth and of heaven. Here, the leaf must wither and the flower must die; there, the leaf is evergreen and the flower amaranthine.


1. There is the performance of good works. This universe is an infinite conjugation of the verb "to do." And it is either conjugated ill or well. By the Christian, it is conjugated well.

2. The patient performance of good works. "Good doing" in this world is climbing the steep, often with bleeding feet. Hence, Christians require the Divine virtue of patience; and patience is true heroism.

3. Perseverance in the performance of good works. Our life must resemble the sun in his commencement, continued course, and consummation. We must travel onward and upward to "the perfect day" of knowledge, of purity, of joy.

III. THE OBJECT OBTAINED BY THE MEANS EMPLOYED. Those who seek in the way described not only find what they seek, but much more — eternal life. This life is —

1. Pure.

2. Progressive.

3. Permanent.

(J. Dunlop.)


1. As one who feels the want of those blessings (Luke 15:14; Ecclesiastes 1:2; Jeremiah 2:13).

2. As one who discerns their surpassing excellence and worth (Matthew 13:44; Philippians 3:7, 8).

3. As one who is willing to strive for them in the appointed and proper way, and to accept them upon the terms offered (2 Timothy 2:5; Isaiah 55:1).

4. As one who is prepared to make any self-sacrifice, brave all dangers and oppositions, and never to be deterred by failure (Acts 21:13).

(C. Neil, M. A.)

or splendour, is here as often elsewhere in Scripture, specified as the distinguishing characteristic of that celestial state in which the holy find their everlasting award. "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matthew 13:43; cf. Romans 5:2; Romans 9:23; Ephesians 1:18; 1 Timothy 3:16; 2 Timothy 2:10; Hebrews 2:10; 1 Peter 5:1, 4, 10). On earth the righteous may have their lot in the midst of the mean accompaniments of poverty. In heaven everything around as well as within them will be lustrous and glorious.

(J. Morison, D. D.)

This is another fold of the manifold excellency of the heavenly state. It is kindred to "glory." Its idea, however, has more of relativity about it. One may be absolutely glorious. God from everlasting was so. But one can have "honour" only when others esteem and prize and praise. Hence the connection of the Greek word (τιμή) with price (see 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; Matthew 27:6; and compare the German preis, and the English "prize" and "praise.") Relative "honour" as well as essential glory awaits the holy. They will bask in the Father's approbation and complacency. Angels will rejoice in their companionship. They will be "kings unto God," and will "reign with Christ" (Revelation 5:10).

(J. Morison, D. D.)

naturally looks back to "glory" and "honour," and contrasts the permanence of the celestial with the fleeting shadows of the terrestrial. The "inheritance" is "incorruptible." The diadem that encircles the brows of the glorified heirs is amaranthine. It "fadeth not away."

(J. Morison, D. D.)

"There," exclaimed an artist, on finishing a perishable work on perishable material, "it is done! — and it has been thirty years in doing!" We labour for eternity; and shall we think a life long to devote to endless results?

(A. Reed, D. D.)

Apelles, the Grecian painters when asked why he touched and retouched his pictures with so much care, answered, "Because I paint for eternity."

But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation, and wrath

1. Factious.(1) The expression is literally "those who are 'of ' a factious spirit." Descent or parentage is suggested as in "him who is of faith," "them who are of the circumcision" (cf. also Galatians 4:10; John 18:37), and in "children of light," etc. (Ephesians 2:2, 3; Ephesians 5:8; 1 Peter 1:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:3). In all such expressions the outstanding idea derived from the universally recognised law of like begetting like, is that of predominant characteristic.(2) The word itself denotes a spirit of faction, but always with a vile implication of interested and selfish aims. The apostle's reference, therefore, is not to mere political sectarianism, or national bigotry. His mind has before it the conception of God's vast moral empire. Faction in it is opposition to the monarch of the universe; opposition that springs from a base desire to gratify the lower principles of the nature. It is in fact a covert kind of rebellion; only it is rebellion animated by the most ignoble aims.

2. The factious are disobedient to the truth. Such, indeed, is implied in their factiousness. "The truth" is personified as a lady or mistress who ought to be obeyed. The truth is disobeyed when there is a wilful refusal to have the life, at once in its inner thoughts and feelings, and in its outer acts, conformed to the rule which it embodies. The rule is imperative. For moral, religious, evangelical truth is revealed just in order that the living mind may live in conformity with it, and thus in consonance with the will of Him whose voice truth is.

3. The factious while disobedient to the truth are obedient to unrighteousness — the counterpart idea which is the complement of the preceding clause. The lawful sovereign of the soul being disobeyed, subjection is transferred to a usurper's sway. Unrighteousness has doubtless its usual import as the antithesis of moral rectitude, and is not to be regarded as doctrinal error. It is the case, however, that just as "the truth" received is the kernel of that of righteousness, without which no one can be meet to enter into the kingdom of heaven; so unrighteousness is a husk within which will be found the primal seed of error.


1. "Wrath and indignation" from God. The one word reverberates on the other. The two are an intensification of the idea of each.

2. The suffering of tribulation and anguish.

(J. Morison, D. D.)

Contentions is mistranslated on the supposition that it has something to do with ἐρις — strife — whereas it comes from ἔριθος, a day labourer, a hireling. The word ἐριθεία is used of those who canvass for office, and form cabals and parties to accomplish their ends. Hence, in the largest sense it will signify those who labour for their own private and selfish ends; and it is remarkable that this should be contrasted with the patient continuance in well-doing, as containing in itself every form of evil. The words would be properly translated, "those who are of a mercenary spirit."

(Bp. Thirlwall.)

revolting against what is good, and becoming slaves to what is evil. Here a striking contrast is indicated between that contentious spirit which disobeys the truth, and yet obeys unrighteousness. The one denotes an extraordinary haughtiness, and an exceeding boldness, and the other extreme meanness and servility of soul. They who do not choose to serve God as their legitimate sovereign become the slaves of a master who is both a tyrant and usurper.

(R. Haldane.)

mark the greatness of God's anger proportioned —

1. To the dignity of the Sovereign Judge of the world.

2. To the authority of those eternal laws which have been violated.

3. To the favours which sinners have received.

4. To the unworthiness and meanness of sin.

(R. Haldane.)

Tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil.
Tribulation means pressure, which, when extreme, as in various modes of torture, causes excruciating pain. Anguish means straitened room — straits — the source of utter despair and ruin when one is pursued by an invincible antagonist. The latter is stronger than the former (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:8) — in every way troubled and hard pressed, but not reduced to absolute straits. Here the one term simply intensifies the other; and the two in union are a representation of the award of woe which hangs over the persistently wicked. They represent the award as it terminates in the persons judged; whereas "indignation and wrath" represent it as it emanates from the Judge.

(J. Morison, D. D.)


1. Tribulation. By —

(1)Exclusion from God's presence and the bliss of heaven.

(2)Confinement to the society of the devil, his angels, and wicked men.

(3)The absence of all that can afford comfort and pleasure.

(4)The presence of all that can occasion misery. Outer darkness: furnace and lake of fire; undying worm; bottomless pit, are its emblems.

2. Anguish. From —

(1)Experience of God's anger.

(2)Sense of abhorrence of all holy beings.

(3)Consciousness of moral loathsomeness and corruption.

(4)Working of uncontrolled passions and ungratified desires.

(5)Sense of all being self-caused and justly deserved.

(6)Inability to escape or obtain mitigation.

(7)Knowledge that all is everlasting.


1. Universality. "Every soul that doeth evil."

2. Suitability. "The soul" —

(1)The chief seat of suffering as the chief agent in sinning.

(2)Especially capable of realising the Divine anger.

3. Impartiality. "The Jew first and also the Gentile."

(T. Robinson, D. D.)

I do not accept the doctrine of eternal punishment because I delight in it. I would cast in doubts, if I could, till I had filled hell up to the brim. I would destroy all faith in it, but that would do me no good; I could not destroy the thing. I cannot alter the stern fact. The exposition of future punishment in God's Word is not to be regarded as a threat, but as a merciful declaration. If, in the ocean of life, over which we are bound to eternity, there are these rocks and shoals, it is no cruelty to chart them down; it is an eminent and prominent mercy.

(H. W. Beecher.)

After a service in a place where the people had been a good deal bewildered by a young preacher, who accepted only so much of the Bible as suited his whims, and who was wont to make merry over the idea of future punishment, a man stepped up to me and said in a bantering voice: "Bishop, do you believe in hell?" I said, "Are you anxious to know what I think of hell?" "Yes," said he. "Well," said I, "the best answer I ever heard came from a poor woman. She had a young niece, who sorely tried the poor soul. The more she struggled to keep this wilful charge in the right way the more she seemed to wander. One day, after hearing a new preacher, the niece came bounding into the room and said: 'Aunty, I ain't gwine to believe in a hell no more. Ef dar is any hell, I jest wants to know where dey gets all de brimstone for dat place; dat's 'zactly what I would like to know.' The old woman fixed her eyes on her, and with a tear on her cheek, said: 'Ah, honey darlin', you look out you don't go dere, for you'll find dey takes dere own brimstone wid 'em.'" I then said, "Is there any other question in theology you would like to ask?" "No," said he. And he went home, I hope, with a new idea that sin brings sorrow and that to be saved we need deliverance from sin. Some men carry "their own brimstone" even in this world.

(Bp. Whipple.)

Be assured, a serpent lurks at the bottom of guilt's sweetest pleasure.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

But glory and honour and peace to every man that worketh good.
This is the echo of verse 7. "Peace" is added in contrast to "anguish." He who is pursued by an antagonist with whom he cannot cope in strength, he who while thus pursued, finds himself shut in within some strait place, either on land or sea, can have no repose of spirit. But in heaven there are no foes to pursue, and no straits into which to he pursued. "Honour and glory" shall be enjoyed in uninterrupted peace. "On earth," says , "whatever good things a man has, he has with many troubles, even though he be rich and powerful, or even a king. Although, too, he may have no dissensions with others, he has them often with himself: there is war within his own thought. But in heaven all is reversed. There is calmness and freedom from trouble, and genuine peace."

(J. Morison, D. D.)


1. Glory.

2. Honour.

3. Peace.

II. THEIR OBJECTS. Those who work good.


(J. Lyth, D. D.)

We know not, and never shall know until experience strips the bandages from our eyes, what new methods of participation of the Divine nature, and new possibilities of intimacy and intercourse with Him may be ours when the veils of flesh and sense and time have all dropped away. New windows may he opened in our spirits, from which we shall perceive new aspects of the Divine character. New doors may be opened in our seals, from out of which we may pass to touch parts of His nature, all impalpable and inconceivable to us now. And when all the veils of a discordant moral nature are taken away, and we are pure, then we shall see, then we shall draw nigh to God. The thing that chiefly separates man from God is man's sin. When that is removed, the centrifugal force which kept our tiny orb apart from the great central sun being withdrawn, we shall, as it were, fall into the brightness and be one, not losing our sense of individuality which would be to lose all the blessedness, but united with Him in a union far more intimate than earth can parallel.

(A. Maclaren.)

The glory of heaven is such that it can never be fully known till it is fully enjoyed. And yet if heaven were ever made crystally transparent to you, if ever God opened you a window into it, and then the eyes of your faith to look in by that window, think what it is that you there discovered, what inaccessible light, what cherishing love, what daunting majesty, what infinite purity, what overloading joy, what insupportable and sinking glory, what rays and sparklings from crowns and sceptres; but more from the glances and smiles of God upon the heavenly host, who forever warm and sun themselves in his presence; and when you have thought all this, then think once again that all your thoughts are but shadows and glimmerings, that these are dust and ashes in the eye of your faith that makes all these discoveries come infinitely short of the native glory of these things, and then you may guess, and somewhat near, what heaven is.

(Bp. Hopkins.)

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