Romans 2:12-16: Questions about Judgement

“If you had to ask me what the most difficult verse in Romans is, I would point you to one of the verses we are dealing with this morning, 2:13. It is a hard verse because on the surface it appears to contradict the main argument of Romans 3-5, that we are justified by faith alone. Have you ever had the experience of reading the Bible, and there you are reading along and you are suddenly arrested and shocked by what you read. Maybe you were reading, thinking about God’s goodness and all of a sudden, there is something in the text that appears to contradict that. Or you believe in God’s unchangableness, His immutability, and then you come across a verse that appears to say He does change. Or that He is slow to anger, and then you find a verse that says He is quick to anger. Or that He is holy and then it appears as if He orders something evil. Well, this verse seems, on the surface to fly in the face of justification by faith alone. However, that is not the only questions that is associated with our passage, one of the most often asked questions is, ‘What will happen in the judgement to the bushman who has never heard about Jesus?’ Our text speaks about the Gentile who does not have the law being judged without the law, and this has raised a number of questions about salvation and judgement.

This is one of those portions that provokes many questions, so as we deal with it today we will seek to answer three questions all relating to the judgement. Firstly, I would like to show you a few basic rules in reading a difficult text. You will come across many of them, and I want to equip you so that you don’t feel like tearing your hair out, and feel like becoming a woolly headed liberal who bases his/her religion on personal felt experience rather that the Word of God. Secondly, we will deal with the judgement of the Gentiles and how it relates to the issue of the unevangelised. And thirdly, we will look at how God will judge on the final day. “