We end off this week by reading Romans 2:12-16
Although much of the Biblical law is not in force today (due to no functional temple in Jerusalem – many of the laws in the Old Testament need a functioning temple if they are to be kept correctly) it does not mean that it is no longer relevant or that it is now insignificant. In the Torah (the first five books of Moses) there are 613 commandments. James 2:10 tells us (hypothetically) that if we stumble on only one of these laws (we keep all 612 but fail on only one) then we are guilty of all of them. As it stands today, it is impossible for a single person to keep all of the laws. The Torah is a unit – you either keep all of it, or, if you cannot do that, you become guilty of all of it. With the law it is either all or nothing. According to Judaism, because of the impossibility to keep the law they say the Torah is no longer in force. This however doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t study it or apply its principles to our lives. Paul tells us that we are no longer under the law. This means that the law is not an instrument of judgment for us. As believers we have the Holy Spirit living within us. The Holy Spirit brings G-d’s order into our lives. Romans 7:6 tells us that as believers – new creations – we are supposed to do the law in the newness of the Spirit. When we walk led by the Spirit we fulfil the righteousness (the purpose) of the law (Roms 8:4).
v12: Many… without law: Referring to the Gentiles – those who did not have the law of G-d.
- Perish: Sin brings death. Sin, very simply, is disobedience to the instructions or the commandments of G-d. G-d is the only One who gets to define what sin is.
- Sinned in the law: Referring to the Jewish people – who did have the law of G-d. G-d does not show favouritism. All people, whether they have the law or whether they do not have it, will be judged.
Note: The law teaches us what the expectations are that G-d has for our lives – what we ought to do and what we ought not to do. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we need to apply these laws to our lives with spiritual maturity – we desire to live righteous lives.
v13: The doers of the law will be justified: There are two ways that we can be righteous in G-d’s sight – by never violating the law i.e. doing all of the law correctly (only one person –Messiah – has ever been able to manage this: 1 Peter 2:22) and the second way is through Messiah Yeshua.
v14: Gentiles: Someone from the nations i.e. not from the nation of Israel. A non-Jew.
- Do not have the law: G-d did not initially give the nations the law.
- By nature do the things contained in the law: These who naturally (it is in their nature) are obedient to the will of G-d…despite the fact that they are unaware of G-d’s written laws.
- A law to themselves: They practice a law among themselves. This law is prompted in them through their conscience.
v15: Who: This is written in the plural and is referring to this group of Gentile people.
- Conscience: Everyone is born with a conscience. A conscience is like an inbuilt moral compass that G-d places within every single human being. Although a conscience does not give us a full degree of understanding in the natural, it is like a faint whisper within us of what is right or wrong. Although the conscience is good, and although the law written down is good…even better is the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit in our lives, as He can guide us into all truth – John 16:13.
- Accusing…or excusing: The conscience works in their lives to show them what is right and what is wrong.
v16: Note: In this world we might be able to manage through it with our conscience. People might call us honest, dependable etc. But the problem is that this is according to man’s standards and not according to G-ds. The only way that anyone can stand in that final day is if they have received the gospel of Messiah Yeshua.
- The day: This is a specific day – the day that G-d is going to judge all men.
- Secrets of men: Hidden things. The world can claim that a person is good, but G-d sees deeper into a person than just their outward behaviour.
- My gospel: The gospel that Paul was sharing.