Rom 2:5-8 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. (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 and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
Robert Haldane (1764-1842) was a Scottish preacher whose life story is remarkable. Born into great wealth, both he and his brother James were wonderfully saved by the Lord, gave up all, and set out to tell others about Christ. In Robert’s commentary on Romans, he wrote these words concerning the verses quoted above:
God, as the sovereign judge of men, receives from them their good and evil actions. These He takes from their hands, so to speak, such as they are, and places them to their account, whether they are to His glory or dishonor. Sinners do not calculate (ie, order their lives) upon this righteous procedure. They commit sin without thinking of God, and without considering that He remembers all their actions.
There is, however, an invisible hand which is treasuring up all that a man thinks, all that he says, and all that he does; not the least part is lost; all is laid up in the treasury of justice. Then, after God has thus received all, He will also restore all, —He will cause to descend again upon men what they have made to ascend to Him.
To every man. The judgment will be particular to every individual; everyone will have to answer for himself. This judgment of those who are under the law will not receive either an imputation of good or of bad works of one person to another, as the judgment of those who are under grace receives for them the merits of Jesus Christ; but every one of those under the Law (without Christ) shall answer for their own proper works.
As Haldane notes, the wicked, those who reject Christ, the revilers and abusers and sociopaths and narcissists and every other category of sinner, live their lives day after day without thinking of God – or if some thought of Him slips through their unholy filters, it is quickly quenched. They do not think of God, nor do they consider that moment by moment, year after year, their wicked sins are being compiled, stored up in a kind of divine bank account, preserved perfectly for that Day when Christ comes to judge the world in perfect righteousness.
Storing up wrath for themselves. Making daily deposits. Fueling the fires which await them. In His mercy and patience, the Lord is showing forbearance with the intent of leading them to repentance. But the wicked presume upon this kindness, perverting it to a meaning of their own design. They insist that God’s wrath is not upon them, that there is nothing to fear, that God is blinking and winking at their sins, and all will be well.
It will not.