Paul’s Letter to the Romans Part 13

This entry is part 13 of 35 in the series Paul's Letter to the Romans

Part 13

“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). Here Paul shows us the equality of the Jew and the Gentile. He also shows that the Jew had a heavier burden by the gift of the Law because the Gentile is judged without law. The Jew thought they needed no grace, being justified by the Law, however, Paul shows that they need it more than the Gentiles, considering they are liable to be punished more. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). We are sure of two things with reverence to the Gentiles, one, they had sinned, and two, they had not sinned under the law of Moses. This being true, they would not be judged by the law of Moses, but would perish without the law. From Mount Sinai to the cross of Christ the children of Israel were under the law of Moses. The sins they committed were committed under the law and against the law, and by the law they will be judged. Paul’s language clearly shows that only those who were under the law will be judged by the law. As the law did not extend to the gentiles, they will not be judged by it. 

“For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Romans 2:13). If the standard currently was that you were saved by the law, then the Jew would be ahead of the Gentile; especially those who were doers of the law. Why would the Jew be before the Gentile? Because they have heard the law. The law was not known by the Gentiles. The Jew trusted too much in the fact that God had made them custodians of the law, and that it was always with them. They could read it when they so desired, and they heard it read in the synagogues every sabbath. They put too much stress on their hearing the law and on their knowledge of the law. As a result, they neglected the doing of the law. That was a fatal mistake, for not hearers, but doers of the law were justified. The law condemns the guilty and justifies the innocent. Paul does not affirm that any Jew had so kept the law that he would be justified by it. He merely lays down the principle that the doer of the law shall be justified. Absolute justification by the law could be had only by perfect obedience to the law. But no one kept the law perfectly, and for that reason the law justified no one. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16). It is plain, therefore, that no Jew kept the law so perfectly as to be justified by it. The law convicted the violator instead of justifying him.“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” (Romans 2:14). Paul would never reject the Law, but when they are obedient intuitively, he justifies the Gentiles. He does not vilify the Law, but on the contrary exalts it and in showing its greatness he simultaneously strengthens his whole position. Paul shows his admiration for the Gentile when considering they required no law, and yet exhibited all the actions.

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