12 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. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. Romans 2:12-16.
When Paul writes about those who sin apart from the law he is referring to gentiles and those who sin under the law are Jews. The apostle Paul whenever he would go to minister would go first to the Jews. Many times he would be rejected and in rejecting the gospel, it was opened to gentiles who were hungry to know the true Living God. The Lord will always reach those who are hungry for truth and hungry to know the true Living God.
It is not those who hear the law who are righteous but those who actually are obedient to the law. This verse was directed toward Jewish believers who took pride in their heritage found through Abraham. True righteousness is found solely through faith in Jesus Christ, but the truth is that we cannot claim to have true faith in Jesus Christ if we are living in disobedience because faith in Jesus Christ requires us to lay down our lives and our will to the Lord alone.
The apostle Paul speaks of gentiles doing things by nature that are found in the law. Jews had a very low opinion of gentiles because they took great pride in the covenant God established with Abraham. But when Jesus came He opened the door of salvation to all people. The opportunity to become one of God’s sons and daughters is found simply in placing one’s faith in Jesus Christ. It is by faith alone that we are born again and it is only accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit.
When we come to Jesus Christ and our faith and trust is placed in Him the living word of God is written on our hearts. It is the Holy Spirit who leads and guides us and this is why we are no longer under the demands of the law, but we are led by the Spirit. This is why the apostle Paul wrote in Galatians that we will not gratify the lust of the flesh if we simply walk in accordance with the leading of the Holy Spirit. If we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit we will naturally walk in freedom and truth because the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth.
There will come a day when all will stand before Jesus Christ. Everything will be revealed. There is nothing that can be hidden from the Lord even though many believe there can be. Let us simply pursue the Lord with our whole heart and hold nothing back. The Lord has given His life for us, let us simply give all that we have for Him. He is coming soon.