Romans 2:12-13 - People who lived before the time of the law, as well as the nations who were never under the law, people today who are not under law, the Mosaic Law will not be cited against these people. The law itself was proof that Israel was unable to earn righteousness through their performance. Israel had a problem when it came to learning the lesson of their inability and the futility to gain righteousness through performance. They trusted in themselves that they were righteous.
When performance is the measure of a person’s righteous standing at the bar of God’s justice, only a patient continuance in well doing would cut it, and there is none that do good, not to that degree. What is a patient continuance in well doing? Keep the whole law if you want to obtain eternal life through law-keeping. Wrath worthiness if you fail in even one point of the law is the other side of the coin. Paul is proving the wrath worthiness of the entire human race, when it comes to a non-wrath-worthy self-defense plea before God.
The dilemma of the human race, just as religion did not save the Israelite during the time of the law contract, religion could not save the Gentiles during that time either, just as it cannot save the Israelite or Gentile today. Religion is an equally inadequate self-defense plea today for people to make, as it was in Paul’s day. No amount of rules and regulations, no observance of rites and rituals, no matter what they are would suffice when it comes to meriting a righteous standing before God. This will be the issue at the Great White Throne Judgment, people will be standing there not clothed in Christ’s righteousness, because they have rejected what Christ accomplished where their sin debt is concerned.
To walk after the flesh, is to assign righteous credit to your fleshly conduct, from Adam onward, people have been doing what seems right to a person in regard to having a relationship with God. Not one member of the entire human race has ever lived up to any system of rule-keeping for righteousness. Yet, how many are attempting today, to do what humankind before us was totally unable to do? How many people think they are measuring up to God’s standard today? Israel supposed they were producing sufficient righteousness through their performance for God to recognize their performance and call them just in his eyes.
Romans 2:14-15 - The Gentiles who were never placed under the law of Moses, do by nature the things contained in the law, the Gentiles determined for themselves their own right and wrong. The Gentiles were following what the Bible calls “the way of Cain” the WORK of the law was written in their hearts. Paul did not say the LAW was written in Gentile hearts. Writing the law in the heart is something God is going to do for the nation Israel in fulfillment of their New Covenant, Jeremiah 31:33-34.
The works of the law are written in the hearts of the Gentiles, in other words, God knows whether or not a person has placed their faith in the faithfulness of his son, or whether that person is still holding onto the notion that his good works will somehow merit them a position of righteousness in the eyes of God. God knows the motivation that resides in the human heart that underlies all the works that we call good.
Any kind of works at all, even if they appear to be good works in your mind, that are done for the purpose attaining salvation or for the purpose of maintaining salvation, and yes, even for the purpose of proving one’s salvation is a slap in the face of God who had to provide the gift of salvation, because people’s righteousness would be totally incapable of meriting it. Our good works must be done solely out of appreciation for what God has already accomplished.
Romans 2:16 - We seldom recognize the sin within ourselves. The most insidious evil present in the heart of people is a person’s refusal to recognize the evil that is present within self. This is what the pride of life is all about, it is always the other person who does the really serious sins. You see, we have a pretty good cause to justify ourselves, because the pride nature uses only relative righteousness as its reasoning. The pride nature rebels against and hates to accept the truth.
We do not want to see ourselves as unjust. We resist seeing ourselves as unjust and being in the same boat with those poor unfortunate souls we consider to be less just than we are. The prideful human nature convinces us that we possess some righteousness, some meritorious standing before God of our own doing, some goodness achieved by our own accomplishments. Paul has set out to prove to the human race that nothing we do and nothing we promise to do will have anything whatsoever to do with our righteous standing before a perfectly righteous God.
The dilemma of the human race, just as religion did not save the Israelite during the time of the law contract, religion could not save the Gentiles during that time either, just as it cannot save the Israelite or Gentile today. Religion is an equally inadequate self-defense plea today for people to make, as it was in Paul’s day.