The Berean Expositor
Volume 51 - Page 126 of 181
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Taken by themselves and not as a result of internal desire they prove nothing. This
explains a similar passage relating to the Apostle Peter (Acts 10: 34). The sincere seekers
that Paul is referring to, do not trust in their works alone, but in God Who is the only
source of glory, honour and eternal life. Their continual seeking in action is only the
practical outward expression of their inward sincerity.
But in it all, as we have seen, God is no "respecter of persons", that is, He never
indulges in partiality or favouritism. Above all He is absolutely righteous and fair
whether dealing with the believer or unbeliever, Jew or Gentile.
2: 12 - 29.
pp. 141 - 145
The absolute righteousness or fairness that the Apostle Paul is stressing in the context
we are considering, is now shown in God's dealing with those who have never had a
written revelation from Him, or for that matter a preacher to make known the gospel of
salvation by grace through the Lord Jesus Christ:
"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 show 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" (Rom. 2: 12-16).
What this passage makes clear is that the Gentile who never had the standard of the
law of God given through Moses, will not be judged by that standard. Nevertheless he is
not without law entirely, for inwardly, he has a law which should be the regulator of his
thoughts and actions, and this is his conscience. This is the moral law in miniature as it
were. Conscience either condemns his wrong doing (accuses him) or witnesses that he is
right (excuses him), and all this is open to God Who, unlike man, knows the thoughts and
the intents of the heart in every person and in every particular.
Furthermore we are assured in Scripture that the righteous Judge of all is able to do
what no human judge can, that is, He assesses what an individual would have done if his
circumstances had been different. God's judgment is dependent upon the amount of light
a person has had and what the circumstances surrounding him were like. In other words
guilt is proportionate, and God is able to make a righteous comparison with the favoured
and those who were not so favoured.
In the O.T. God's earthly people, Israel, were compared with Sodom, which, on the
surface, is surprising to say the least: