A slight shift in thought, but not really.
The Biblical caption inserted by the translators reads like this:
God’s Judgment and the Law
Romans 2:12 CJB All who have sinned outside the framework of Torah will die outside the framework of Torah, and all who have sinned within the framework of Torah will be judged by Torah.
Who would have sinned outside the law?
The Gentiles/nations. An example of the nations is easily seen when you look at Nineveh; that large city that Jonah had been sent to with the purpose of delivering a message of destruction.
The threat of death sounds rather ominous, but he is making a point that few will catch. It is that these people – the Gentiles world, will not be judged according to the law.
How then will they be judged?
Look at Matthew 25 where you find the sheep and goat judgment. (At this point, we have to apply some logic, as there is no clear, directive that tells us to treat these two groups as the same. Here are some of the reasons I do so.)
What we see in Matthew’s account, is a parallel to Revelation, however,
in Matthew 25:32 we see “All the nations” being gathered before Him, whereas in the Revelation it merely states that the “ the dead, the great and the small” are brought before Him.
In the gospel of Matthew, it is Jesus who has “segregated” the massive crowd of those who died outside of Christ or the law; and yet, the sheep are shown mercy and given entrance into the kingdom of God. While Revelation 20 does not show us the segregation, it merely speaks of those who received the harsh judgment.
Those, in Matthew’s account, who are stunned by this mercy, ask why.
The answer from Jesus comes,
because when I was hungry – you fed me;
when I was thirsty – you gave me a drink;
when I was incarcerated – you came and visited me.
All these things Jesus mentions are indicative of persons acting in the nature and character of the Father God; and yet, WE do not perceive them as having known the Father, why?
Because we did not see them doing the appropriate religious thing, in a religious manner. Look closely at what Revelation 20:13-15 tells us.
Revelation 20:13-15 NASB (13) “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. (14) Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. (15) And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
These people, just like those in Matthew’s account, were judged by their deeds. How odd considering that Paul’s gospel plainly states that we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ as our savior. Since I can perceive a chain of events, such as the catching away of the church;
Then it’s obvious that neither Matthew’s crowd nor the one we see in Revelation 20, have put their FAITH in Christ, at least that is NOT apparent to me.
These are NOT the martyred saints from the seven-year period, as they were resurrected just as the seven-year period began;
There is one other thing that stands out, and that is the fact that many of these have lived through the thousand-year reign, chose to fight against Christ one last time, and are now counted among the dead – a number that may go back to Cain and Abel in the garden.
If I focus strictly on those who are deceived and fight against God, one last time, at the end of time, it is hard to perceive that any of those would be found in the book of life, but still, Jesus looks to see if there is any mercy that could be extended to them because of their deeds, which are detailed in Matthew 25.
Do you not yet understand that sin was forgiven at the cross, and this includes these deceived people who came to believe that they could kill God?
Oh, we do not escape judgment, and neither will they, but they will judge according to what they did with Jesus, just as all believers are.
This justification seems almost miraculous but read on.
Romans 2:13 NASB for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.
These people have somehow been followers of the law, and they were not Jews. I might put this another way, These people we see in Matthew 25, where they are called sheep, have managed to follow the law written upon their hearts, and the majority of this crowd may have had NO RELIGIOUS experience, as defined by religion. I once heard a missionary state, that even though some of the people groups they encountered had never been contacted by outsiders, they still had standards that they lived by, such as, don’t eat other tribe members. If they demonstrated any of the qualities seen in Matthew 25, then Jesus extends mercy to them.
Don’t think for a second that God will allow you to bring YOUR garbage into His kingdom, and therefore, somehow, these too will be changed in a twinkling of an eye.
Hey, wait a minute, isn’t Romans 2:13 talking about me as well?
It is and you can see that in the phrase “for when Gentiles. If you are NOT a Jew, then you are a Gentile.
Romans 2:14 NLT Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it.
(14 NASB) “For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,”
I had originally put forth the NASB because it frequently conveys an understandable account, however, in this case the NASB uses a phrase that portrays those Gentiles as being a law to themselves. I suppose I watched to many cowboy movies when I was young because characters that operated as a law to themselves were the bullies that murdered others just to get their way, and that is not what we are talking about here. For that reason I gave you the NLT translation as well because it says, “they instinctively obey it (that law written upon their hearts,) even if they don’t openly accept that the law came from the heart of God.
(Romans 2:15-16 NASB) in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, (16) on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.
Instinctively is an excellent choice of words as we are so prone to attribute our behavior to that concept instead of accepting personal responsibility. Many, leaning upon their heritage, will say something foolish like, it is just an instinctive within in my heritage to be an angry and violent person.
One more thing I want you to consider before letting go of verses 15-16, and it is this.
“their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.”
They, whoever they are, lived their lives without the benefit of a Bible. An acquaintance of mine would tell you that Jesus cannot return for His church because of that very issue.
Sorry, I do not see it that way, because, as the Amplified Bible conveys,
“They show that the essential requirements of the Law are written in their hearts and are operating there,” (BBE) “their sense of right and wrong giving witness to it, (CJB) “for their conflicting thoughts sometimes accuse them and sometimes defend them.”
With the law written upon their hearts, their hearts provokes them to live by God’s moral standards, even if they cannot express that it is God’s moral standard living there. So there is no excuse available to them. In other words, they cannot whine about NOT having a printed copy of the scriptures and, therefore, did not know.
Seriously, how many of us have six Bibles and open none of them in an effort to curtail and maintain our lives before God?
And, though our hearts will often judge, when it is not our place to judge, and condemn these at this final throne, to the fires of hell, we refuse to acknowledge that God has the right to show these at the judgment seat, mercy. In order to come to the conclusion that all here must go to hell, we have to set aside the Word of God where it says, “ their thoughts alternately accusing or defending them.”
Consider something. We know that all believers will be “judged,” and yet, you expect mercy. The idea of judgment for the church comes from Romans 14:10, where it plainly states, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. I would like to point out that the word judgment/bema is the same word used to describe the rostrum or podium at the Olympic games where the awards are given for an outstanding performance. You are not here to be judged, as though some part of the body of Christ should be cut off and thrown into the pit of hell. You are safe in the arms of Jesus and thanked for the smallest of efforts. You will be given a crown, which we will delightedly cast before the feet of Jesus, the only one who deserves our accolades.
Why can’t you allowthese that God has brought before His throne the same mercy?
It’s a rhetorical question that does not demand an answer.
A not-so-friendly approach.
Romans 2:17-21 NASB But
if you bear the name “Jew”
and rely upon the Law
and boast in God,
(18) and know His will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law,
(19) and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind,
a light to those who are in darkness,
(20) a corrector of the foolish,
a teacher of the immature,
having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,
(21) you, therefore, who teach another,
do you not teach yourself?
You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal?
Note the practical and logical side of this; wouldn’t the confident guide, a teacher and corrector of the foolish, teach themselves?
Of course, they would, that is unless they were deluded.
Romans 2:22-23 NASB
You who say that one should not commit adultery,
do you commit adultery?
You who abhor idols,
do you rob temples?
(23 CJB) You who take such pride in Torah,
do you, by disobeying the Torah, dishonor God?—
If this is the way you live, then you need to know, there is no HONOR in that, and you can see Paul’s reaction in verse 24.
“For “THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU,” just as it is written.” (Romans 2:24 NASB)
No wonder the world blasphemes God, we certainly haven’t shown them anything.
Romans 2:25 NLT The Jewish ceremony of circumcision has value only if you obey God’s law. But if you don’t obey God’s law, you are no better off than an uncircumcised Gentile.
But if you don’t obey God’s law, you are no better off than an uncircumcised Gentile. I think these words would sting if I was a Jew (I do have some Jewish blood, but I don’t count because it comes through my grandfather and not my grandmother. Go figure. Thank God I was adopted.)
Romans 2:26-27 NLT And if the Gentiles obey God’s law, won’t God declare them to be his own people? (27) In fact, uncircumcised Gentiles who keep God’s law will condemn you Jews who are circumcised and possess God’s law but don’t obey it.
Well, Romans 2:26-27 bites, but why?
Because the law of God is written upon the hearts of everyone.
Romans 2:28-29 NLT For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. (29) No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.
No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God.
And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law;
rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit.
And how about this:
a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.
Do you have a changed heart?