Romans 2: 12-16 (ESV)
12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 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.15 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 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
Be careful when you read commentaries about scripture, even mine – – especially mine. Read it yourself then think. Read the verses before and after then think. Go on a long stroll and think. If you are a believer, pray for wisdom before, during, and after your reading. If you are a skeptic (or a believer), read naturally and ask rational questions. Let scripture speak for itself, even if – – especially if it disagrees with the grooves worn in your intellect through the salad days of life.
If have two favorite interlocutors on this blog. Russell is a personal friend and we meet frequently for breakfast. CC is a kindred spirit that I met here. Read her comments on the last post. How many more have these heartfelt questions? Can the bride of Christ ignore them? No friends . . . no. Why does the concept of hell disturb you? I hope to address this tomorrow and for the next several decades as my heart pulls more and more to the lost sheep for whom the shepherd would leave the 99 for a season.
What does this paragraph in Romans 2 teach me? God will judge us by the knowledge that he gives us. God will judge the secrets of humans by Christ Jesus. Secrets from whom? Secrets that I keep from myself. What about (I’m paraphrasing from my boyhood journal) the person who lives and dies in deepest Asia without ever hearing the name of Christ? This paragraph tells me that she is safe in the integrity of a just God who can be trusted. She will be judged by the work of the law that is written upon her heart.
Do I still believe in Christian missions? I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. I need no other reason to go than this – – Jesus said go. But this paragraph encourages me and ties well into Romans 1: 18-20. God has made his invisible attributes of eternal power and divine nature clear in the things that he made. Our failing is to worship created things instead of creator. When I, the drop of water on a maverick wave, accuse the ocean of injustice – – I come back to this scripture. I come back, calm down, sometimes cry and learn to trust him again.