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,Romans 2:14(NASB)
In the first few chapters of Romans Paul shows that God will judge people in accordance with light they have received. The Jews, who were given the Law and the Prophets and will be judged by the light of God's Word. They will be judged by the holy scriptures which were given to them by the holy prophets - but the bottom line for every Jew is that all have sinned and all fall short of the glory of God. All are under condemnation; all are charged as guilty sinners, all are in need of salvation, for the written Law of God identifies the sin and exposes the guilty sinner - and the wages of sin is death.. condemnation and eternal separation from GOD.
But Gentiles were not given God's Law. They were not party to the Mosaic Law and the covenant God made with Israel. They did not receive the commandments, statutes, feasts and oracles, which God gave to His people Israel. Nor did they receive the prophetic writings from the Lord. It was not until the time of Christ that Gentiles started to have access to the Word of God - and yet we find that God purposed that those who never had a Bible are equally under His condemnation. Many argue that this is not fair, because millions do not have access to God's Word.. But the first few chapters of Romans show that this is incorrect thinking. God judges people according to the measure of light they have been given - and Gentiles have two indisputable witnesses to God's existence and mans' depravity.. apart from the Law. Throughout the history of mankind all have received testimony to the glory of God through 1) the witness of creation and 2) the inner testimony of our God-given consciences - as well as 3) the holy scriptures.
Although Gentiles do not have God's Law, they have been endowed with an inner conscience, which instinctively alerts them to what is right and what is wrong. Paul tells us that although Gentiles do not have the light of God's Word they have the inner light of conscience and the outer light of God's creation. So although the Gentiles do not have the Law, they instinctively know what is right and what is wrong, due to the inner witness of their conscience. Paul tells us that although they do not have God's written Law, they are a law unto themselves. What the Law does for the Jews in detail, the conscience does for Gentiles in general. God's witness for the Jew was written on stone. God's witness to the Gentiles was written within their heart.
Man's inner conscience monitors motives and it bears witness and mans' inner sinfulness - which alternately accuses when guilty.. or else it defends them. Paul explains that when they do what is right by responding to the inner light of their God-given conscience they are excused.. but when they do not respond to their inner God-given conscience they are condemned. But the bottom line for every Gentile is that all have sinned and all fall short of the glory of God. All are under condemnation; all are charged as guilty sinners, all are in need of salvation, for the conscience identifies the sin and exposes the guilty sinner - and the wages of sin is death.. condemnation and eternal separation from God.
What the Law is for the Jew in detail, the conscience is for the Gentiles in general- but both carry out the same purpose. Both alert man to their own sinfulness, and the wages of sin is death. For there is none righteous not even one. Both Jew and Gentile being products of the fallen race of sinful man are both condemned for all fall short of the glory of God - all are in need of salvation. All bear witness to the fact that there is none righteous, not even one. The wages of sin for Jew and Gentile alike is death - and both the witness of the Law and the witness of conscience attest to the depravity of man - so that all stand guilty before a holy God. Jews will be judged by the LAW and found guilty. Gentiles will be judged by their inner conscience and the outer testimony of God's creation.. and all will be found guilty.....
And ONCE Paul has hammered home this shocking truth about our sin and the hellish consequences that apply to Jew and Gentile alike... he then starts to give the GOOD NEWS of salvation - which is by grace through faith in Christ's finished work.. and this good news is equally efficacious for Jew and Gentile alike. The wages of sin IS death BUT the gift of God is eternal life - through Jesus Christ our LORD.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the light that I have received from You. When I look at the wonders of creation I am amazed that You are mindful of man.. When I realise the depth of sin to which mankind has fallen and the sin that I personally have committed through the witness of my conscience, I have nothing to commend me and stand guilty before Your holy throne.. BUT thanks be to God through Jesus Christ, Who died to pay the enormous price for MY sin, so that by faith in Him I have been declared righteous and have been forgiven of my sins through time and into eternity -praise Your holy name.. and it is in His name I pray, AMEN