Scriptures That Teach All Men Will Be Judged by Their Conduct, Not Their Belief

Primary Text for the Basis for Judgement:

“This is the judgment [that is, the cause for indictment, the test by which people are judged, the basis for the sentence]: the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19 – The Amplified Bible)

Other translations say,

“This is the basis for judgement…” (ISV, NET Bible, NWT)

“This is the test…” (Weymouth, BBE)

“This is why people are condemned…” (GOD’S WORD Translation)

Supporting Texts for the Basis for Judgement:

  1. You reward everyone according to what they have done. (Ps. 62:12)
  2. Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done? (Pr. 24:11-12)
  3. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. (Jn. 5:28-29)
  4. Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” And Jesus said unto him, “This day is salvation come to this house, for as much as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Lk. 19:8-10)
  5. I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:12-15)
  6. But that which bears thorns and briers (evil works) is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which you have shewn toward his name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. (Hebrews 6:8-10)

The Romans Road to Salvation Shows Conduct to be the Basis for Judgement

Some may be familiar with a teaching called the Romans Road to Salvation which is meant to show that salvation is based on belief, not conduct. These scriptures from Romans show the basis for salvation is conduct, not belief. Fortunately this is in the first two chapters of Paul’s letter to set us on the right course from the beginning:

  1. The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness. (Romans 1:18)
  2. For [God] will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. (Romans 2:6-9)
  3. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.  Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts. (Romans 2:13-15)
  4. If those who are not circumcised keep the law’s [moral] requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? (Romans 2:26)

Being Good is Righteousness, Life, and Salvation

  1. “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deut. 30:19)
  2. Riches will not provide security in the day of wrath and judgment, but righteousness (right living) rescues from death. (Proverbs 11:4)
  3. On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,” and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” (Luke 10:25)
  4. I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right. (Acts 10:34-35)
  5. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:17)
  6. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.(1 Jn. 3:7)
  7. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:21-22)
  8. Consider this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death. (James 5:20)
  9. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. (Heb. 5:8-9)
  10. For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God. (1 Corinthians 7:19)
  11. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:16)
  12. If you are calling upon the Father who judges impartially according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves with fear during the time of your alien residence. (1 Pet. 1:17)

Some will say I am confusing the rewards God will give for faithful service to those who are saved with the reward of salvation itself but the above scriptures make it abundantly clear that they all have to do with the reward of eternal life and that reward is determined by conduct. There are many scriptures that mention rewards in the context of the faithful service of the believers.

But these aren’t them.

The Matthew Road to Salvation

Some may be familiar with The Romans Road to Salvation, which is presented as Paul’s Soteriology (Doctrine of Salvation), which is often portrayed by Protestants as a polemic that would contradict the Matthew Road to Salvation. Fortunately Matthew’s Road is positioned at the beginning of our New Testaments, spoken decades before Paul’s writings could confuse people in later centuries, to get us started on the right foot. Again, the basis for judgement is conduct, not belief:

  1. Many will say to me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? And in your name have cast out devils? And in your name done many wonderful works?”  And then will I profess unto them, “I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.” (Matthew. 7:22-23)
  2. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why does your Master eat with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said to them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Mt. 9:10-13)
  3. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:35-37)
  4. The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:37-43)
  5. For whoever wants to save their soul will lose it, but whoever loses their soul for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. (Mt. 16:25-27)
  6. Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.” They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?” He will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. (Matthew 25:41-46)

Repentance From Wickedness Works – Before the Crucifixion and After

Before the Crucifixion:

  1. Say unto them, “As I live, said the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” (Ezekiel 33:11)
  2. If a wicked man turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he will save his life. (Ezekiel 18:27)
  3. The King [of Nineveh] said, “Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. He prayed to the LORD, “O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.” (Jonah 3:8-4:2)
  4. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” (Is. 55:7)
  5. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (John the Baptist – Mat. 3:2)
  6. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Jesus – Mat. 4:17)
  7. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Mt. 3:7-8)
  8. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?  I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Lk. 13:2-5)

After the Crucifixion:

  1. Therefore repent and be changed, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. (Acts 3:19)
  2. God exalted Jesus “to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31)
  3. You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray to God, if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven. (Acts 8:21-22)
  4. “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” (Acts 11:18)
  5. “These [past] times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30)
  6. To the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. (Acts 26:20)
  7. “Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation.” (2 Cor. 7:10)
  8. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9)

The Impartiality of God’s Judgement

God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism. (Rom. 2:6-11)


You might also be interested in:

Salvation by Being Good – Table of Contents

Introduction to Salvation by Being Good

If Being Good Can Not Save a Soul

Love, Righteousness & Salvation: Foundational Christianity

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *