Romans 2:6-11 (ESV)
6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking[a] and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.
Actions have consequences. That is not a lesson that I enjoyed learning and honestly not one fully learned yet. My understanding is honored more in the breach. Is God just? Do you want him to be? Injustice is one of the heartfelt arguments against God. If God were real and worthy of worship would we want him to be just?
Most say yes. Do the patient who do well deserve life? Most say yes. Is it wrong for them to seek glory, honor, and immortality if such things exist? Some say no.
What about me? I am selfish and seldom obey truth but prefer unrighteousness. Do I want justice? Not really. Do I want God to be just if God exists? Yes. Conflict then. Cognitive dissonance? Or resonant conflict between what I want and what it requires?
Is it just for disobedient self-seekers like me to receive wrath and fury? Yes it is just. Is it just for me to receive trouble and distress for the evil I do? Yes it is just. Do I want God to be just? I do. I agree with the skeptics that a God of injustice clashes with the moral sense that I claim he put within me. Yes – – I want God to be just. Can I afford that justice? No. Not I can’t.
Why would justice be first for the Jews and then for the Greek (non-Jews) – – another major theme in Romans that will unfold with further study. I’ll start with a simple assertion and elaborate in future chapters. God chose to reveal himself through the Jews and to bless the world through the Jew Jesus Christ. The Jews are still first in justice. Can they afford justice? No more than I.