Romans 2:11-16

In Romans 2:11-16 Paul reminds us that God has one set of standards for all of us. There is no partiality, no matter race, creed, knowledge, location – it doesn’t matter. Some felt back in Paul’s day that Gentiles would be judged one way, and Jews another. But it is plain that isn’t the case, then or now. “For God shows no partiality.” Each of us will stand before God on our own and face the judgment of our lives compared to His standards. We’re going to come up short, which is why we have to have a saving relationship with the only solution to our sin problem – God’s answer which is Jesus Christ.

God’s not interested in whether we know what is right. He doesn’t care what our head knowledge is. He cares only about what is in our heart, and that is demonstrated by how we live and what we do. God’s righteous judgment is not withheld because someone has heard the law; it is only held back if someone actually does the law. “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.“ Make no mistake about it, people will be condemned, not because they have the law or do not have the law, but because they have sinned. Sin is the problem whether someone knows the law or not.

Some argue that people who don’t know the law won’t be subject to it. You know, those people in a faraway land who have never heard the gospel story. But Paul explains why the Gentile can be condemned without the law. Their conscience (which is the work of the law written in their hearts) is enough to condemn them – or, theoretically this law on the heart is enough to justify them. “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.” It’s about the heart, and even those who have not ‘officially’ heard God’s law know it exists because of the world they live in.

People demonstrate that they understand things by the way they live. It is written on their hearts and our heart is what defines our actions. People who have never heard God’s word directly still have a moral compass they are accountable to – the conscience. “They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.” On this day no man will escape God’s judgment by claiming ignorance of His written revelation. Violating God’s internal revelation is enough to condemn us all. We are all ultimately accountable to God.

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