What Does Romans 2:12 Mean?

For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law;

Romans 2:12(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

In the most systematic way, Paul lays out the depravity of man and the grace of God in the early chapters of Romans. All humanity is depraved. None do right and all are under God's condemnation. None are disadvantaged by race, parentage, place of birth, or colour of skin, and no-one benefits from their nationality, bank balance, talents, qualifications, or education. All have fallen short of God's glory, but all have equal access to the riches of God's kindness and grace - by faith in Christ.

From the beginning of time, God has shown no partiality towards Jew or Gentile, male or female, moral or immoral, the religious or irreligious, for all are labelled sinners and all need salvation. God's impartiality is demonstrated in that He will judge all men righteously. In Genesis we read: "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

Yes, indeed God will do right, and His impartial judgement on each individual will depend on the dispensation in which they lived and the understanding that they had during their lifetime: "For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law (this refers to unsaved Gentiles), and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law (this refers to unsaved Jews)."

Gentile sinners who had no access to the God's Law will not be judged by the Law, but they are nonetheless sinners who remain under God's condemnation and are in need of a Saviour if they are to escape the wrath of God and eternal separation from Him. Jews who sin under God's Law will be judged by that Law but, just like Gentile sinners, will be found to fall short of the righteousness of God. Jews are equally in need of salvation and a Saviour if they are to escape the Lake of Fire.

And in a systematic way, Paul lays out the depravity of all people in the early chapters of Romans to show that NO-ONE can merit forgiveness. NO-ONE can keep God's Law. NO-ONE can stand before God and proclaim that they are righteous, for all have sinned, all fall short, and all are under God's condemnation, for there are none that do good, not even ONE.

All humanity, without exception, is under the eternal wrath of God. Every member of Adam's fallen race is condemned and under the righteous judgement of God. Nothing in heaven or hell, visible or invisible, can save mankind with ONE exception - faith. Faith in God, trusting the Word of God, believing the truth of His promises, for without faith, it is impossible to please God. Sinners are saved by faith in God's Word and the just shall live by faith. We read that Abraham believed God and it was credited to Him as righteousness. Abraham believed God's Word. He trusted God's truth. He held fast to God's promises. He had faith in the covenant God made with him. Abraham believed that God was faithful to do what He pledged.

In this Church dispensation, we are also saved by faith in the Word of God, the incarnate Word made flesh. We are saved by faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness for sins and life everlasting: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved," Paul tells us. We are saved by faith in the eternal Son of God who became the perfect Son of Man. We are saved by trusting in His death, burial, and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.

The judgement of God for both Jew and Gentile depends on the amount of light each has received. Those under the Law will be judged by the Law which will condemn them, and those that are not under the Law will be judged by whatever revelation they have received... which will also condemn them, for all are sinners and imputed with sin, all fall short of God's righteousness, all are under condemnation.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is important, but Romans is the seedbed of all Christian doctrine and in the most systematic way, Paul lays out the depravity of man before opening up the way of salvation. Romans takes the believer through every single step of Christian doctrine and gives a full systematic teaching of the fundamentals of our faith, which we would do well to take to heart. And in these early chapters of Romans, we are faced with the shocking truth that man is a sinner in need of a Saviour - and Christ is the only answer.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the truths that are contained in the book of Romans. I pray that I may never stray from the gospel of Christ, that I am a sinner and that there is nothing that I can do to merit Your forgiveness, except by grace through faith in the atoning blood of the incarnate Word of God. Thank You that I have been saved, simply because I believed that Jesus took the punishment that I deserved and thus transferred me from death to life. In Jesus' name, AMEN.

Choose a Verse from Romans 2