Romans 2:12-13 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.
Being “apart from the law” means that people do not have God’s revealed law to guide them. They have to use their own thinking and reasoning. Paul has already shown, however, that this thinking is deeply marred by sin. He will continue that topic in this chapter and the next. God will judge by a different criteria those who have not been given the written law. That does not mean that without excuse. They are accountable for the amount of light they have received. Those who have received the revealed law through Moses and other Scriptures will be judged by that law. Hearing (or reading) the law is not enough to be righteous. Faith must be proven by obedience. The problem is that people lack faith or they misunderstand what faith is, and thus, they do not obey. Paul will go even deeper and say that people do not have faith and do not obey because they have fallen from God’s glory (Romans 3:23). There is something deeply wrong in the human heart that leads people away from God and keeps them from obeying. The answer to this is to take one step back to the solution of faith.
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