“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. All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” (Reference: Romans 2:9-13 )
It is an Anabaptist/Mennonite tenet of faith that proper and righteous actions (“good works”) MUST accompany faith. It is not enough to believe; that belief must show forth in actions. The historic Anabaptist Balthasar Hubmaier said, “Since mere faith is not sufficient for salvation, good deeds must . . . be added to the faith. This article I stressed so earnestly and highly in my booklets on the Lord’s Supper and the second one on the freedom of the human will that my heart can be known from them well enough, by the vigor of my insistence on good works. In both pamphlets I cited these verses of Scripture: It is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but those who do the law who will be justified, Rom. 2:13. Everyone who hears my words and does them will be likened to a wise man who builds his house upon the rock, Matt. 7:24. In Sum: Just as a good tree cannot be without fruit at the proper season, so it is also impossible for true faith to be without good works. Those who say they can do nothing good deceive themselves and there is no true faith in them.”
I could discuss Paul’s logic and rhetoric about this passage; how this passage and letter differs from other letters he has written, and explain that Paul wrote for his audience but keeping within the large boundaries of his own faith beliefs. It would not further the understanding of how historic Anabaptists and modern Anabaptists/Mennonites perceive this passage. And I do not want you to think, beloved, that Anabaptists/Mennonites express perfect faith through perfect action. What I do want you to understand is that they/we believe our actions should be a direct reflection of our faith stance. If you want to know what we believe, watch what we do. And if that does not match God’s law of love, call us on it!
May you, beloved, be found righteous in the eyes of God and of others. Selah!