You’ve got to read this entire chapter to really crack open Romans 2:6-11. In vs. 6-11 it sounds like one’s works decide salvation, but down in Romans 2:25-29 the difference between good and bad is really defined.
Romans 2.25-29 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law.28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.
If a do-gooder is a do-gooder for their own purposes and their own glory, then it’s evil! It’s what is inside, not outside, that shows the value of the deed.
Take King Saul for instance. It was good on the outside for him to have that big sacrifice, and to keep all of the best cattle from his invasions for more sacrifices. Samuel, on the other hand, could tell from what God told him that what was inside Saul was bad.
“What is that bleating of goats I hear?!” says Samuel. God told Saul what was good, what was righteous, but Saul thought he could out do God and upgrade that righteousness by doing something different.
That’s what the Pharisees were doing in Jesus’ day. God said not to walk more than a couple thousand steps from your property, in order to keep people from being distracted and give them a day of rest. The Pharisees said “Hey, if we have a jar of dirt from our property hanging around our neck, we’re never far from our land, and we can go all over the place and conduct business, just like it’s any other day!” They thought they were upgrading God’s plan for their Sabbath, but instead they were just walking their hearts right out of life in God.
Tomorrow we’ll explore this some more.