To them, etc. - In this manner will God, in the great day, dispense punishments and rewards:
1. He will give eternal life to them who, in all the trials and difficulties of the present state, have persevered in well doing - seeking for and expecting glory, honor, and immortality.
To them - Whoever they may be.
Patient continuance - Who by perseverance in well doing, or in a good work. It means that they who so continue, or persevere, in good works as to evince that they are disposed to obey the Law of God. It does not mean those who perform one single act, but those who so live as to show that this is their character to obey God. It is the uniform doctrine of the Bible that none will be saved but those who persevere in a life of holiness, Revelation 2:10; Matthew 10:22; Hebrews 10:38-39. No other conduct gives evidence of piety but what continues in the ways of righteousness. Nor has God ever promised eternal life to people unless they so persevere in a life of holiness as to show that this is their character, their settled and firm rule of action. The words well doing here denote such conduct as shall be conformed to the Law of God; not merely external conduct, but that which proceeds from a heart attached to God and his cause.
Seek for - This word properly denotes the act of endeavoring to find any thing that is lost, Matthew 18:12; Luke 2:48-49. But it also denotes the act when one earnestly strives, or desires to obtain anything; when he puts forth his efforts to accomplish it. Thus, Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God,” etc. Acts 16:10; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Luke 13:24. In this place it denotes an earnest and intense desire to obtain eternal life. It does not mean simply the desire of a sinner to be happy, or the efforts of those who are not willing to forsake their sins and yield to God, out the intense effort of those who are willing to forsake all their crimes, and submit to God and obey his laws.
Glory and honour and immortality - The three words used here, denote the happiness of the heavenly world. They vary somewhat in their meaning, and are each descriptive of something in heaven, that renders it an object of intense desire. The expressions are cumulative, or they are designed to express the happiness of heaven in the highest possible degree. The word “glory” δόξαν doxandenotes properly praise, celebrity, or anything distinguished for beauty, ornament, majesty, splendor, as of the sun, etc.; and then it is used to denote the highest happiness or felicity, as expressing everything that shall be splendid, rich, and grand. It denotes that there will be an absence of every thing mean, grovelling, obscure. The word “honor” ( τιμὴν timēn) implies rather the idea of reward, or just retribution - the honor and reward which shall be conferred in heaven on the friends of God. It stands opposed to contempt, poverty, and want among people. Here they are despised by people; there, they shall be honored by God. Immortality - That which is not corruptible or subject to decay. It is applied to heaven as a state where there shall be no decay or death, in strong contrast with our present condition, where all things are corruptible, and soon vanish away. These expressions are undoubtedly descriptive of a state of things beyond the grave. They are never applied in the Scriptures to any condition of things on the earth. This consideration proves, therefore, that the expressions in the next verse, indignation, etc. apply to the punishment of the wicked beyond the grave. Eternal life - That is, God will “render” eternal life to those who seek it in this manner. This is a great principle; and this shows that the apostle means by “their deeds” Romans 2:6, not merely their external conduct, but their inward thoughts, and efforts evinced by their seeking for glory, etc. For the meaning of the expression “eternal life,” see the note at John 5:24.
Immortality - That which is not corruptible or subject to decay. It is applied to heaven as a state where there shall be no decay or death, in strong contrast with our present condition, where all things are corruptible, and soon vanish away. These expressions are undoubtedly descriptive of a state of things beyond the grave. They are never applied in the Scriptures to any condition of things on the earth. This consideration proves, therefore, that the expressions in the next verse, indignation, etc. apply to the punishment of the wicked beyond the grave.
Eternal life - That is, God will “render” eternal life to those who seek it in this manner. This is a great principle; and this shows that the apostle means by “their deeds” Romans 2:6, not merely their external conduct, but their inward thoughts, and efforts evinced by their seeking for glory, etc. For the meaning of the expression “eternal life,” see the note at John 5:24.
All heaven is interested in our salvation. The angels of God are ... marking the deeds of men. They record in the books of God's remembrance the words of faith, the acts of love, the humility of spirit, and in that day when every man's work shall be tried of what sort it is, the work of the humble follower of Christ will stand the test, and will receive the commendation of Heaven. “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:43).22 TMK 234.6Read in context »
Thus will be fulfilled Christ's promise to His disciples, “I will come again, and receive you unto Myself.” John 14:3. Those who have loved Him and waited for Him, He will crown with glory and honor and immortality. The righteous dead will come forth from their graves, and those who are alive will be caught up with them to meet the Lord in the air. They will hear the voice of Jesus, sweeter than any music that ever fell on mortal ear, saying to them, Your warfare is accomplished. “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Matthew 25:34. AA 34.1
Well might the disciples rejoice in the hope of their Lord's return. AA 34.2Read in context »
Heaven will be cheap enough if we obtain it through suffering.... As I saw what we must be in order to inherit glory, and then saw how much Jesus had suffered to obtain for us so rich an inheritance, I prayed that we might be baptized into Christ's sufferings, that we might not shrink at trials, but bear them with patience and joy, knowing what Jesus had suffered that we through His poverty and sufferings might be made rich.17 CG 567.1
Heaven Is Worth Everything!—Heaven is worth everything to us. We must not run any risk in this matter. We must take no venture here. We must know that our steps are ordered by the Lord. May God help us in the great work of overcoming. He has crowns for those that overcome. He has white robes for the righteous. He has an eternal world of glory for those who seek for glory, honor, and immortality. Everyone who enters the City of God will enter it as a conqueror. He will not enter it as a condemned criminal, but as a son of God. And the welcome given to everyone who enters there will be, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Matthew 25:34.18 CG 567.2
Partakers of Christ's Joy—We see a retinue of angels on either side of the gate; and as we pass in, Jesus speaks, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom that is prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Here He tells you to be a partaker of His joy, and what is that? It is the joy of seeing of the travail of your soul, fathers. It is the joy of seeing that your efforts, mothers, are rewarded. Here are your children; the crown of life is upon their heads, and the angels of God immortalize the names of the mothers whose efforts have won their children to Jesus Christ.19 CG 567.3Read in context »
Let the youth take heed to the words of the wise man, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Let them walk softly, prayerfully, and carefully before the Lord, in continual dependence upon Him, and at the same time exerting all their powers, improving all their opportunities, trusting to what the Lord can do with their consecrated abilities. Let them inquire at every step, “Is this the way of the Lord?” Humility is a characteristic of those who have true wisdom, and no matter what may be their attainments, they will not be self-confident and boastful. CSW 13.1
The Lord calls for young men and women to gird themselves for lifelong, earnest labor in the Sabbath school work. Spasmodic efforts will not avail to accomplish much good, or to make you successful laborers in the work of God. By patient continuance in well-doing, you are to become laborers together with God. You are to reckon yourselves the servants of God by the day. Be diligent in your work for one day, and see that you make no crooked paths for your feet, lest the lame be turned out of the path of rectitude by your misdoings.—Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work, 52, 53. CSW 13.2Read in context »