There are many passages in the writings of Paul that point to our free agency and the need to choose God, to repent, and to live the teachings of the Gospel in order to receive the gifts of forgiveness and eternal life. Romans 2 is one relevant passage:
4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
The goodness of God leads us – but does not compel us – to repent. And we need to repent, for we will be held accountable for our deeds.
As verse 7 indicates, God gives eternal life “to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality.” Gasp – that sounds like that dread cult featured in The Godmakers. Can any real Christian possibly think that patient enduring in faith unto the end is expected of them? And what can we say of those lost souls who dare to seek glory, honor, and peace in the kingdom of God?
God, of course, is just. He is no “respecter of persons.” In the end, He is fair to all, regardless of whether they are Jew or Gentile, born before or after Christ, or born in a nation where Christianity exists or not. He does not arbitrarily will some to suffer in hell and others to go to heaven, independent of the choices and actions of humans in response to the gift of grace that He offers.
Romans 2 presupposes that we have at least enough agency to choose God and repent, and to be held accountable for what we do, whether we choose to patiently follow God and receive the gift of eternal life, or to choose to rebel against God and receive something far less. We are accountable, we have agency, and we need to repent and “obey the truth.” Obey?? Ah, there is that hallmark of both modern and ancient cultists: the ever-offensive call to obey, as if our obedience and endurance had anything to do with accepting the grace God offers.