I see the Christian walk on 2 different levels. The major leagues and the minor leagues. The NT can be more readily understood keeping this idea in mind.
What do these different leagues consist of?
The minor league is ruled by the law. Here we are in the power of our own strength. We are sent here for conditioning in order to prepare us for the major leagues. In order to qualify for the majors we need to get with the program and the purpose of the law. Let's look at the book of Romans and sort out what Paul is saying according to these 2 different levels.
Rom 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
Rom 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
Rom 2:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
Rom 2:9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
Rom 2:10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
Rom 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
Rom 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
Rom 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
Unfortunately, through ignorance of the way of God, many consider that the above verses seem to preach a works based salvation. (they won't say Paul is preaching that just those who quote these verses! )
But the minor league is there to teach ALL men to always do what is right. At this level, it is doing what the law requires that counts. So many Christians refuse to be taught...they have become major leaguers (in their own minds) and are too spoiled to be treated like people who desperately need training.
It is God who decides who needs further training. He is the coach! Should we buck against His decisions?
Many Christians are actually in the minor leagues but CLAIM to be in the majors. They are stuck in the minors because they refuse to NOT see themselves in the big time. So while claiming to be major leaguers they are actually flunking out even in the minors.