The Virtue of Seeking Glory and Honor

By David Servant

“God…will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life” (Rom. 2:5b-7).

Paul unmistakably indicates in the above-quoted passage that there is nothing wrong with seeking glory and honor for yourself. In fact, he declares that those who do are the people who will ultimately inherit eternal life. So, if you desire for God to grant you eternal life, according to Paul, the means to obtaining it is by seeking glory and honor. Read it again if you don’t believe me!

How are glory and honor sought? Paul answers that question in the passage we just read. They are sought “by perseverance in doing good.”

Of course, Paul was referring to seeking honor and glory from God. It is wrong to seek praise from men at the expense of the praise of God (John 5:44; Rom. 2:29; 1 Thes. 2:6), but it is virtuous to seek praise from God at the expense of the praise of men.

Genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ motivates believers to seek, above all else, to one day hear Jesus say, ““Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21, 23; Luke 19:17). They are the only ones who will “enter into the joy of their Master,” because only they have made Jesus their Master.

In fact, those who are seeking the praise of men demonstrate that they are not believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, even if they claim otherwise. Jesus once said to such folks: “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” (John 5:44). Believing in Jesus is antithetical to seeking praise from men.

Incidentally, Romans 2:5b-7 is one more passage that, along with hundreds of others in the Bible, makes it crystal clear that eternal life, just like glory and honor from God, will be granted on the basis of one’s consistent good deeds. God “will render to each person according to his deeds,” and He renders either “eternal life” or “wrath and indignation…tribulation and distress” (Rom. 2:8-9). That is heaven or hell. Praise God that when we first believe in Jesus, all our past sins are forgiven, and if we truly believe in the Lord Jesus, we turn from our former rebellion and devote ourselves to His service. Then we are empowered by His Spirit to live obedient lives as born-again children of God.

The hyper-grace heretics will, of course, object to most everything, if not everything, I have written above on the basis of some twisted logic coupled with some twisted interpretation of Romans 2:5b-7 and the rest of the New Testament. Their perverse, devilish doctrines, however, don’t change the Bible. Salvation is by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9), and genuine faith obeys (Rom. 1:5; 16:26, Jas. 2:14-26 and so on). Persevering faith perseveres in “doing good.”

As believers seek for glory and honor from God, they become servants of others from whom they are not seeking glory and honor. Jesus once told a parable to that end when He noticed how banquet guests were picking out seats of honor for themselves:

When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, “Give your place to this man,” and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, “Friend, move up higher”; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 17:8-11).

Notice that Jesus wasn’t condemning seeking honor, at least from the One who has invited us to the wedding feast. Rather, He implies that seeking honor from that One is virtuous, and He also reveals the means to gain that honor. That means includes humbling ourselves. Those who humble themselves will be exalted and thus honored, and vice versa. In God’s kingdom, the way up is first down.

The big lesson? Continue to persevere in doing good, and seek for glory, honor and immortality from God. Eternal life awaits you!