In this passage, the apostle Paul is writing about the time in which we live – that is, the time of the kingdom of God, the age of eternity. In this age, God is not concerned with whether we are Jew or Gentile. Since Jesus Christ has died for our past sins and demonstrates God’s righteous and yet forgiving nature to us, we can relate to God as a loving Father. The way to please Him is simply to do His will, and His will is that we do right by each other.
There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.
– Romans 2:9-16
Notice that the well-being of our souls depends on whether or not we are doing good. Do bad and your soul is not going to be experiencing peace and joy. Do good and you can’t help but feel the approval of God in your heart.
Note also that God’s judging through Christ has to do with the secrets of our heart – not merely our outward behavior. What kind of secrets do you keep from everyone else? If they are secret sins, your soul will suffer. If, however, your secrets are the acts of kindness for which you seek no approval except from the One who sees you in secret, then “glory and honor and peace” will be the outcome for your soul.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, I want all my secrets to be things You like…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)