Romans 2:7 NASB
“to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and and immortality, eternal life;”
It’s easy to get emotionally shipwreck into a works based salvation if you take a passage like this without the proper context in how it’s being used as well being consistent with all of Paul’s soteriology.
Examples of evidence that it is not by our works that we are saved:
Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Paul explains that it is by God’s grace that we are saved. Manifested out of a regenerate heart and real faith comes good works out of a believers life. Paul says that we are God’s workmanship, created to do good works. Not to be saved by them, but to do them for the sake of the glory of Jesus Christ.
“With respect to obedience to and doctrine, we are not all the sons of God. Rather, it is only those who truly believe in Him and do His will. Now, those who do not believe and do not obey His will are sons and angels of the devil….Those who do not obey Him, being disinherited by Him, have ceased to be His sons.” Irenaeus (c. 180, E/W), 1.525.
The early church father Irenaeus, though harshly explained, gives a clear picture that it is the sons who have faith in Jesus that will be saved, and the sons of disobedience who have denied Jesus who will perish. This isn’t a “work my way to heaven” but a “trust in the work of Jesus to get to heaven”.
Belief in Jesus brings about good works, this is why Paul emphatically displays the one who is judged by God that has faith in Him will be judged with mercy, not because of his works but because of God’s grace.
In perseverance believers do the works of God for glory and honor to Him and in the belief that eternal life and salvation will be given to them. It is so important that we understand this doctrine of salvation. It is this lack of knowledge that I believe prevents so many people from understanding their true standing before God. As we have earlier seen, God judges the sinner severely under His wrath and judgement, but reserves His mercy and kindness for those who have true faith in Him.
The question may arise, how do I know if I’m saved? If good works are some of the signs of genuine regeneration and faith in Jesus then that needs to be some of the criteria. If you have not shown any good works as a result of your salvation then you need to examine whether you’ve truly placed your faith in Jesus. When eternal destiny is at stake, why gamble with your soul? Place your faith in Jesus Christ, repent of your sins, and commit your life to obeying Him. He is faithful to bring you from death to life, faithful to impart His Spirit into you, faithful to give you new desires to do good things, faithful to enable you to persevere to the end, to eternal life with Him.