Romans 2:5 But by your hard and impenitent heart you (unbelievers) are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 For he will repay according to each one’s deeds: 7 to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.
There is an interesting shift happening here. I noticed it in v.6:
“For he will repay according to each one’s deeds…”
In the Old Testament faithfulness was generally understood to be a corporate endeavor. The Israelites as a whole were judged to be right with God or not. But in the New Testament the nature of God’s relationship to people has changed. God is no longer principally acting on behalf of one specific people group (Israel) but now invites all people into the family of God through Jesus Christ. Corporate faithfulness shifts to individual faithfulness. This can lead to problems if we’re not careful.
When I was in the army we had to learn the value of the group, not the individual. I can remember the first time the entire platoon was punished because one person in the platoon had screwed up though everyone else had done their jobs. Not a good day for the guy who messed up or for the rest of us. But after this happened a few times we finally got the message. We didn’t just need to look out for ourselves but needed to make sure everyone else was squared away too. Why? Because in the heat of battle, if one person misses his assignment, everyone’s life is at stake. We had to look out for one another to survive.
In the church we too need to look out for one another. We need one another. No one can follow Jesus and grow as a disciple without the support and accountability of the group. Left to ourselves we will fall away. In relationship with other believers we can be pulled back when we go off the rails. And I happen to go off the rails quite regularly.
Lord Jesus thank you for the gift of the body of believers. Without each other we would surely be lost. Give us grace to lock arms and follow after you. Amen.