Romans — Lesson 6
12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
Verse 16 looks back to verses 12-13. Those who sin – in the Law of Moses or out of the Law of Moses – will be judged by Jesus Christ.
God’s judgment will be according to the gospel. There will not be one judgment for the Jews, one for the Moslems, one for the Hindus, and one for the Christians. All men will be judged according to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This judgment is part of the gospel – the good news! Judgment sounds like bad news – but it is only bad news to those who do not obey the good news. We are not proclaiming the gospel unless we warn others about the coming judgment. In fact, no one will heed the commands of the good news unless they first understand the “bad news” – that a final judgment is coming.
God will judge by Jesus Christ. See John 5:22 (“For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son.”).
John 12:48 (“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”)
Acts 17:30-31 (“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”)
But the good news is that judgment need not be bad news:
2 Timothy 4:8 (“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”)
Overview of Romans 2:17-29
This next section addresses the objections that Paul knew would be raised by the Jews to what he had just said. The Jews had a favored position. Right? They had the Law of Moses. Right? They couldn’t really be in the same boat as all of those horrible Gentiles. Right?
Paul will accept their own self-image, and indict them for not living up that self-image. He will tell them what it means to be a real Jew.
17 Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, 18 and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law.
Paul devotes this entire chapter to the issue that is encapsulated by verse 17 – “You call yourself a Jew and rely upon the Law.” The Jews trusted in the Law and their righteousness under the Law – and that trust was misplaced! The Law could not save them.
Here is the Jewish self-portrait. The first item Paul mentions is that they rested on the Law of Moses.
The Jews rested primarily on the Torah. The word “Torah” literally means “to lead" or “to instruct." Depending upon the context it may refer to the first five books of the Old Testament, to the entire Old Testament, or to the entire collection of Jewish religious texts. The Bible is generally called the written Torah and the Talmud and other such works are called the oral Torah.
“The Torah is the essence of Judaism. The whole of Judaism's long history may be viewed as one of exploring the meaning and ramifications of the Torah. The Torah is more than just a book or a scroll to a Jew – it is something that is lived; it is a form of transcendent wisdom. The Rabbis compare it to a sea – a vast unified whole teaming with life. One Jewish commentary says ‘As water gives life to the world so does the Torah give life to the world.’”
One cannot understand the Jews without understanding their opinion of the Torah. From the orthodox religious vantage point, Judaism exists to maintain the presence of Torah in the world.
Jews believe that in addition to the five books of Moses, an oral law was given and handed down from generation to generation. This oral law deals with questions that are left unanswered by the written Torah. For example, what type of work is prohibited on the Sabbath.
William Barclay wrote that: “All kinds of things were classified as work. For instance, to carry a burden on the Sabbath Day is to work. But next a burden has to be defined. So the Scribal Law lays it down that a burden is “food equal in weight to a dried fig, enough wine for mixing in a goblet, milk enough for one swallow, honey enough to put upon a wound, ..." and so on endlessly. So they spent endless hours arguing whether a man could or could not lift a lamp from one place to another on the Sabbath, whether a tailor committed a sin if he went out with a needle in his robe, whether a man might go out on the Sabbath Day with artificial teeth or an artificial limb, or whether a man might lift a child on the Sabbath Day. These things to them were the essence of religion. Their religion was a legalism of petty rules and regulations.” Those who call us legalists don’t know what legalism is!
The Jews had the Law – and they were defined by that Law. Paul says they rested on the Law. But he was about to explain to them why the Law was not something that anybody could rest on. If they were looking for a rock on which to build their house, the Law was not that rock.
The Jewish self portrait continues in verse 17: They worshipped the one true and living God. They had the truth. They knew God’s will. They were in a position to teach others – not to be taught by others.
And the Gentiles? They are the blind that need a guide. They are the babes that need to be taught. They are the foolish that need instruction.
What was the relation between the Jews and the Gentiles?
“When Christianity began it faced a very difficult problem. The message of Christianity was meant for all of mankind yet Christianity was cradled in Judaism. From a human perspective, no message meant for the entire world could have a more unfortunate cradle. The Jews were involved in a double hatred – the world hated them and they hated the world.”
No nation was ever more bitterly hated than the Jews. Cicero called the Jewish religion a barbarous superstition. Tacitus called the Jewish nation the vilest of people.
Some Jews said that the Gentiles were created by God to be fuel for the fires of Hell. It was forbidden to give a Gentile mother any help when it was time to deliver her child since to do so would only help bring another Gentile into the world. Many Jews would refuse to offer any help to Gentiles; even refusing to give them directions on the road.
Rumors among the Gentiles at the time were that some Jews had taken an oath never to show any kindness to a Gentile and even Josephus mentioned the rumor that Jewish religious ceremonies began with the yearly sacrifice of a Gentile. One author of the day wrote that the Jews “alone of all nations refuse all fellowship and intercourse with other nations and suppose all men to be enemies."
While the Jews did have some missionary efforts, they were not entirely successful. See Matthew 23:15 (“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”).
The Law of Moses was intended to be a light to the Gentiles. It was intended to make all nations honor and glorify God and his people, the Jews.
(Deuteronomy 4:6-8) “Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ 7 For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? 8 And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?”
So how can Paul lump the Jews together with the Gentiles as if there were no differences between the two groups? Paul is about to tell them!
21 You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say, "Do not commit adultery," do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
Paul goes straight to the point – hypocrisy! Is the teacher teaching himself?
(Matthew 23:3-4) “All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. 4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”
“Any man in a poor teacher if he does not teach himself while he is teaching others. He is a poor preacher that cannot preach better than he can practice, but he is poorer preacher if he does not try hard to live up to his preaching.” (Whiteside)
The commandments referred to here all stem from the Decalogue, which prohibited stealing, adultery, and idolatry.
Paul is certainly not saying that every Jew is guilty of these sins. Instead, he is giving extreme examples to prove his point that the Jews as a whole did not keep the Law they possessed and trumpeted.
“Paul uses particularly blatant and shocking examples (like any good preacher) to illustrate the principle that Jews violated the Law that they possessed.” The sins listed here are representative of the contradiction between claim and conduct that pervaded Judaism.
The Jews despised idols – but did they make themselves rich by plundering idol temples? Robbing temples could be used metaphorically to denote any sacrilegious actions in a temple.
It may denote any kind of illegitimate profit from the wealth of idols. The Jews claimed to detest idolatry and spurn any association with idols, but they were perfectly willing to be defiled of they could profit from the very idols they detested.
(Deuteronomy 7:25) “You shall burn the carved images of their gods with fire; you shall not covet the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, lest you be snared by it; for it is an abomination to the LORD your God.”
Another possibility is reflected in the King James translation for “rob temples,” which is “commit sacrilege.” In Ezekiel 22:26, the prophet accused the Jews of profaning God’s holy things by making no distinction between the holy and the common. They had put things of their own devising into their worship and service to God. The Jews of Paul’s day had turned the temple into a place of merchandise and fraud. What good does it do to say you abhor idols while simultaneously committing sacrilege against God and his temple?
The Jews seem to have had a reputation for temple robbing. The origin of that reputation may have been lost to history, but we know the reputation existed based both on the secular historian Josephus and the book of Acts.
Josephus recounts a fictitious story fabricated by an anti-Semite in which a group of condemned Jewish lepers are sent out into the desert to die. They eventually reach the land of Judea, where according to this tale that built a city called “the town of the temple robbers.”
During the Ephesian riot in Acts 19, the city clerk said: “For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess.” (Acts 19:37)
Lesson for Today: Do we ever find ourselves in a position to profit monetarily from something that we are supposed to abhor? If we do, then are we in a position where we could be guilty of “robbing temples”?
Example: (Acts 19:19) Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
If they had sold those books instead of burning them, would that have been an example of temple robbing? What is they had used the money for some “good” purpose? Would that really have made any difference?
They proclaimed the 7th commandment, yet did they steal? There were no doubt some actual thieves, but is that the only way one can be guilty of stealing?
(Malachi 3:8) “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings.’”
Example: (Mark 7:9-13) He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. 10 "For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' 11 "But you say, 'If a man says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban" -- ' (that is, a gift to God), 12 "then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, 13 "making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do."
And what about adultery? Jesus spoke to this issue in Matthew 19:8-9 when he condemned the Jewish practice of permitting divorces without just cause.
(Matthew 19:7-9) They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" 8 He said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery."
Some of the most celebrated Rabbis are in the Talmud charged with adultery.
They knew the Law – nevertheless they worked to twist that Law to provide justification for their wicked deeds.
See Matthew 15:6. (“Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.”)
23 You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? 24 For "the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you," as it is written.
The Jews boasted in the Law of Moses, and yet sin was reigning in the world because people did not keep that law. The Law of Moses had advantages, but those advantages were nullified when the Law was broken.
(Isaiah 52:5) Now therefore, what have I here," says the LORD, "That My people are taken away for nothing? Those who rule over them Make them wail," says the LORD, "And My name is blasphemed continually every day.”
The ultimate reason the Jews were given the Law was so that their lives would bring honor and glory to the name of God. By their transgression, however, they had brought scorn and dishonor upon his name.
Throughout the Old Testament, God would punish Israel by bringing them into captivity of the surrounding nations. This captivity was a punishment by God, but the nations viewed it as a sign of God’s weakness and inability to protect his people. God’s name was blasphemed because of the wickedness of his people.
We all know that Daniel was a man of prayer. In Daniel Chapter 9, Daniel prays to God and appeals to God’s pity on the exiled nation and the ruined city of Jerusalem.
Daniel’s primary concern is not the discomfort of the Jews but instead is the tarnishing that they have inflicted upon God’s image and reputation in the eyes of the world. In verse 19 he says “Delay not, for thy own sake … because thy city and thy people are called by thy name.”
To Daniel, the worst part of the captivity was that someone might look at it and conclude that God was not able to deliver them. Daniel did not pray “Get me out of this!” Instead his first concern was for God and His reputation. Is this how we look at things? Do we think of God first like Daniel did or do we think of ourselves first?
The religious world is in a mess today. The Catholics, for example, are imploding as news surfaces daily about the pedophile priests and the underground homosexual culture that pervades their seminaries. The worst part about all of that – and that is saying a lot considering how horrible it all is – is that unfortunately when the secular world sees the Catholic church they see “Christianity” – and so God’s honor and reputation suffer due to the actions of these priests who say they are acting on his behalf. We know they are not – but the world does not know that. The same sad result occurred with the televangelist sex scandals of the 80’s.
Is there any lesson in this for us in the church? We don’t have any control over what the Catholics do or the denominations do, but we do have control over what we do. We in the church must be different from those outside of the church. If we are not, why should anyone care what we preach or teach?
“It is hard to make any one believe there is any good in your doctrine if it has not done you any good. The greatest hindrance to the spread of the gospel today is the conduct of many of its professed believers. Immorality, worldliness, dishonest dealings, and divisions hinder Christianity.”
“Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).
25 For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.
But wait, Paul must have forgotten that the Jews had the covenant of circumcision. That alone was enough to mean that they couldn’t be lumped together with the uncircumcised heathen. Right? After all, the Jews used “uncircumcised” as a term of scorn and contempt.
Paul “turns his fire so as to dislodge the Jews from this deceptive stronghold. He drives them from their hope and trust in circumcision.”
Paul agrees that circumcision has some value – but only if you keep the Law! The mark of circumcision was not a mark of privilege, but a mark of obligation. The Law was superior to circumcision.
By breaking God’s law, the Jews’ circumcision had become uncircumcision. By breaking God’s law, the Jews had become the very thing they despised.
(Galatians 5:1-6) Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
In this parallel passage to Romans 2, Paul affirms that “Christ will not profit” those who receive circumcision for they will be cut off from him and separated from salvation. The purpose of Romans 2:25 is to likewise show that the covenant sign of circumcision will save only if one practices the law.
Galatians 5:3 confirms this interpretation, insisting that anyone who relies on circumcision “is a debtor to do the whole law.” In other words, those who submit to circumcision to enter the covenant are under obligation to keep the rest of the Law to gain salvation.
In short, the Jew and the Gentile were on equal footing. Although the Jew had a better law, neither Jew nor Gentile could attain salvation based on their law.
What relation, if any, is there between circumcision under the Old Covenant and baptism under the New Covenant?
Some argue that baptism in the New Testament parallels circumcision in the Old Testament. They then point to Romans 4:11 (“And [Abraham] received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised.”) in an effort to show that we are saved prior to our baptism. How are baptism and circumcision related?
Descendants of Abraham and Jacob were not brought into the Old Covenant by circumcision; they were physically born into that covenant, and they were circumcised as a sign of their membership in that covenant.
(Genesis 17:11) “and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.”
Those who failed to be circumcised were said to have broken the covenant.
(Genesis 17:14) “And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”
Thus, they were circumcised to remain under the covenant, not to enter the covenant.
In this sense, our baptism does not parallel circumcision under the Old Covenant, but rather parallels physical birth under the Old Covenant. Just as a Jew was physically born into the Old Covenant, we are spiritually born again into the New Covenant when we are baptized for the remission of our sins.
But, you ask, what about Colossians 2:11-13? (“In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.”)
That passage compares baptism with circumcision to show that our baptism is the moment when sins are put away. (We know this also from Acts 22:16. (“Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”))
Baptism in the New Covenant corresponds to two events in the Old Covenant. First, it corresponds to physical birth in the Old Covenant because we enter the New Covenant at our baptism. Second, it corresponds to circumcision because we put off the old man at our baptism.
Both of these comparisons can be pushed to false extremes. The comparison with physical birth does not justify infant baptism. Neither does the comparison with circumcision suggest that we enter the New Covenant before our baptism. The source of that comparison in Colossians 2 shows that we put off the old man at the moment of our baptism – not before.
26 Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision?
What difference does circumcision make if the circumcised Jew ignores the Law of God? If an uncircumcised man keeps the Law, won’t people think that he is indeed marked out by God?
What does it mean to have uncircumcision counted as circumcision? First, it does not mean that the Gentiles would be saved by occasionally following the Law. Nowhere here does Paul say that the Gentiles will be saved while the Jews will be lost. His whole point is that ALL will be lost without Jesus Christ.
It would hardly make sense for Paul to tell the Jews that the Gentiles could be saved by keeping the righteous requirements of the law when he has been arguing that no one can be saved that way!
Some look at this verse and say that if an unbaptized person lives right, then perhaps his “un-baptism” will be counted as baptism. An obvious problem with this view is that the Gentiles were never commanded to be circumcised, and yet today ALL people are commanded to be baptized. Men (Jew or Gentile) enter the New Covenant when they are baptized for the remission of sins.
Paul is a perfect example. We sometimes hear people talk about Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. But Paul was not converted on that road! In fact, for the next three days he prayed to God – and yet he was still not converted! When Ananias found Paul, Paul was still unconverted. He, no doubt, believed. He no doubt, had prayed “the prayer of faith.” But Acts 22:16 tells us he was still in his sins. And how were those sins removed? That is, when was Paul actually converted? At his baptism – and not before. “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”
Acts 22:16 must fall into our “simple verse” category. Will we be saved if we die in our sins? No. (John 8:24) At what point do we cease being in our sins? When they are washed away at our baptism. (Acts 22:16) Thus, we are not saved prior to our baptism, but we are saved following our baptism.
I think we would miss an important point if we failed to notice the great importance of water in the Scriptures.
When God first began to order his creation, he moved upon the face of the waters.
When mankind's sin became too great, God cleansed the earth with water.
When the Israelites escaped from Egypt, God put a wall of water between their former bondage and their promised land.
God put water between the priests and the Holy Place in the temple. Before they could enter they were required to wash themselves with water.
God put water between sickness and health in the case of Naaman, who was healed only after he obeyed God and washed himself in the Jordan river.
Jesus put water between blindness and sight when he put clay on a blind man's eyes and told him to wash in the Pool of Siloam.
Anyone who is surprised that God put water between spiritual death and spiritual life just hasn't been paying attention. It would have been surprising if He had not done so!
27 And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law?
In Matthew 12:41 Jesus told the Jews that the heathen would be their judge. (“The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here.”)
The Gentiles will not literally assume the role of a judge, but rather they will be a witness for the prosecution in the sense that their obedience will be evidence of what the Jews ought to have been and could have been. They will be like Noah, who by his obedience condemned the world (Hebrews 11:7).
Circumcision bound a man to keep the entire Law. So wouldn’t an uncircumcised man who keeps the moral requirements of the law tower over a circumcised Jew who breaks the law?
Paul never says here or elsewhere that an uncircumcised Gentile could be justified by doing honorable deeds that were in accordance with the Law of Moses. Justification is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ – for Gentile and Jew alike. Instead, Paul is showing the Jews that they are wrong to trust in mere possession of the Law. They really are in the same plight as the Gentile.
How could the Jewish arguments possibly withstand the existence of Gentiles who lived more upright and moral lives than the Jews who purported to be their teachers, guides, and instructors.
Many of the Jews depended on their outward appearance, but were inwardly full of corruption.
(Matthew 23:27-28) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
Neither of the two grounds on which the Jews generally relied – the Law and circumcision – were able to provide salvation. The Jew was really in no better situation that the uncircumcised heathen. Both groups needed Jesus Christ.
God's Plan of Salvation
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)