God … will render to each one according to his deeds: … to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath.
Alongside the people who accept the revelation of God by the “obedience of faith” and then “by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honour and immorality” (v.7) there are those who revolt against God.
Such are “self-seeking and do not obey the truth”. They refuse to acknowledge God’s sovereign claims on their life and will not submit to the “truth”, i.e. the revelation of God and His thoughts. They decide the standards and objectives for their life according to their own discretion. They nonchalantly establish their own opinion in opposition to God’s revealed will. Such people thus “disobey the truth”. That is their habitual attitude, the stamp of their entire life.
Truth and unrighteousness are opposing forces (cf. Romans 1:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:12). Unrighteousness includes not only crude immorality (as is dealt with in chapter 1) but also everything that is in contradiction to God’s righteous claims and the truth He has revealed. But God will not tolerate unrighteousness.
For this reason it has been revealed from heaven with the gospel that the wrath of God must come upon “all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men”. Whoever rejects God’s authority and His offer of salvation in the gospel is amassing wrath for himself by his deeds. And on “the day of wrath” he will inevitably receive indignation and wrath as just retribution (cf. Romans 1:18;2:5).