Romans 2:11 – 16 — “For there is no respect of persons with God.
“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; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”
No one has any right standing with God in and of themselves. There is NO RESPECT OF PERSONS WITH GOD. We are moving to find that the Jew, the children Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by birth, has no better place of standing before God in his own righteousness than the Gentile. Before moving on to that point, however, we will discuss more on God’s judgment in dealing with mankind in general.
We read in chapter 1, verses 18 – 32, about the ungodliness of the Gentile world given up because of idolatry to all their vices and wickedness, and in chapter 2 we find that all those that click their tongue and wag their finger at the ungodly “heathen” around them are really no better. God, the righteous Judge, does not judge based on how well we recognize the sin of others, but He will “render to every man according to his deeds” (Romans 2:6).
He will render to EVERY MAN according to his deeds!
He will render to every man ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS!
Those who boast “only God can judge me” make this boast because they do not believe that He really will, or they think themselves as more righteous than others. The Holy Scriptures do not put this forward as anything but a coming doom:
Revelation 20:11 – 15 — “And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from Whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
So in the indictment, the argument has already been made that mankind in its entirety, represented as Gentiles, is unrighteous measured against the standard of the righteousness of God. History, however, shows that even the ungodly Gentile nations (all of them, from pole to pole, and east to west) have a standard of righteousness that generally does not allow the things that the Law of God (exemplified in the “10 Commandments”) does not allow. Yes, many cultures have become very debased, but they generally do not allow murder and stealing, they know lying is wrong, etc.
In any culture, just knowing the law of the land does not make anyone right with the law of the land. The law must be followed, or the one not following it is a law-breaker. Not to mention people have a conscience. We generally know when things are wrong. What we do with that information is another story.
The time between the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and the world wide flood of Noah’s day is known by many theologians as the dispensation of conscience, because the way that God allowed the world to manage was without any instituted government. When Cain was found guilty of the murder of Abel, he did not own up to it immediately. Why? It was written on his heart, in his very being, that it was wrong. It did not stop him from committing this first in a long line of human atrocities, but he did know it was wrong. And when he was “cursed from the earth” and made to be a fugitive and a vagabond, the Lord strictly forbid that anyone would take vengeance on him.
Generations later, Lamech boasts of slaying a man, and commands that justice would mean he would be avenged seventy and sevenfold (Genesis 4:24). We find out later:
Genesis 6:5 – 6 — “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart.”
Genesis 6:11 – 13 — “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
“And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”
So much for man being able to govern himself by his own conscience. After Noah left the ark, there would be no more of the “no one better take vengeance on me” stuff.
Genesis 9:6 — “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man.”
So since then, God has put human governments in place to keep the evil under reins. We will discuss this more in depth when we study chapter 13 and discuss the “powers that be”.
Romans 13:4 — “For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”
So the Gentiles can say that they were outside of God’s law given to Moses. They are not, however, outside of the administration of conscience, and mankind as a whole, and each and every one of us individually, is found wanting under the dictates of conscience. All have sinned (Romans 3:23). All of us that find ourselves able to find another guilty know that we ourselves are also totally guilty. We try to excuse each other if we like each other, or accuse if we do not, but we all know wrong. Our conscience bears witness and our thoughts are the mean while accusing us of our evil.
We try and keep our sins a secret, but God sees them. “[F]or there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known” (Matthew 10:26). We do things in secret, “but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13).
God already is our judge, He will judge us, and He has judges us and found us guilty. Notice also who the judge is. He will judge the world by Jesus Christ! Modern “Christian” thinking imagines a “Jesus” that does not judge anyone. That is not the Lord Jesus Christ Who is the subject of the Word of God. My Bible states this:
John 5:22 — “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son…”
Acts 17:31 — “Because [God] hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.”
And yes, according to Paul’s gospel, God will judge the world by Jesus Christ. While God is now dealing with mankind in grace, reconciling us to Himself by the finished work of Christ on the cross, there will come a day when the day of salvation will give way to the day of wrath and judgment will be given to the Son. He is now waiting “till his enemies be made His footstool” (Hebrews 10:13). This day is coming to this earth:
2 Thessalonians 1:7 – 10 — “…the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed ) in that day.”
Until that day, all mankind can be saved by the gracious offer that God has set forth in the Scriptures. Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and He was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. There is no other way for anyone to be saved from the wrath to come, which will be the judgment coming by direct agency of the one Who died and rose again for their sins. Remember that the Lamb that was slain is the One who is worthy to open the seven-sealed book.
The one who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ and His death on their behalf for his sins does not need to fear this condemnation. The Worthy Judge of the world sits enthroned as Savior, and His very presence on His throne in Heaven at the Father’s right hand is our intercessor.
Romans 8:34 — “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us.”
All of us must ponder which side of Christ we are on. Will we face Him in our own righteousness, and stand before Him as judge, remembering that the first phase of His judgment is unloading the wrath of God on this world, and later sitting on the great white throne, or will we enjoy peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ even now and be accepted by God because He is accepted and all who believe on Him are justified from all things?
The Apostle Paul makes it abundantly clear that He will judge the world in righteousness. He will also save all who come to God by Him.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.