Scripture Reading: Romans 2
“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;” – Romans 2:12 (KJV)
Today’s Radio Program
Another very common question pastor and church leaders are asked is, “What about the people who don’t have the opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus, will they still be separated from God?” The quick answer to that question is “Yes”. Paul begins this second half of Romans with an explanation of the topic. It really could not be any more clear than here and in chapter 3:10-18. What most folks really struggle with is not the logic, but the truth. Because God created us with compassion, which is a godly attribute, our compassion is sometimes clouds our justice.
Our verse (above) is clear. Those who sin, which, according to the next chapter as well as many other places in Scripture is all of us, will perish. Sin is not a fumble or mistake, it is rebellion and separates man from God. Paul’s argument here, however, is that whether a person has the law (referring to the moral laws of God), or not, all will be without excuse. The only difference is that we, who have the law of God will be judged by the law. This would be our eternal story if not for saving faith in Jesus Christ who, “became sin for us”.
Again… Is it fair?
It’s almost as if Paul was waiting for us to ask that question. His arguments in verses 14-15 ever so clearly explain that even though the Gentiles (those apart from God), do not have the law, their conscience is “a law to itself” (ESV). In other words, our conscience tells us that we know something is wrong and we still disobey this law that was put inside of us, the law that was part of the image of God He created us with. Paul takes the argument another step to demonstrate their sinfulness (‘depravity’). He explains what almost every human being has experienced.
Have you ever had someone tell you to “stop justifying your actions”? The human conscience has a keen ability to not only ignore what it is being told to, or not to, do. More than this, the mind starts to create justifications for bad actions. They may be external, or verbalized, they may also be internal, in the heart. It matters little really, because our God can see right into the heart of every man and woman.
We should take comfort in the closing verse of this section (verse 16). For those of us who have exercised saving faith in Jesus, we will not be judged according to our works. We will be judged according to the Gospel of Grace. The sin debt of our works has been paid for through the blood of Jesus!