Romans 2:12 – 16 bring us to focal point of Paul's teaching of God's judgment on man, pointing out that those who have not heard the Word of God have sinned and are condemned apart from Christ as well as those who know the Truth and have transgressed it. Paul’s use of the term “the law” in this paragraph is very clearly meant to refer to the Mosaic Covenant and the Law of Moses – most of the time. Those without the law are Gentiles: everyone who was not a Jew in Paul’s day. In verse 12 we see that these people (which includes all here) are no worse off than those with the law. Sin was announced as carrying the sentence of death in the garden, long before the Law of Moses was given to the Hebrews. The soul that sins, it shall die! That is the consistent judgment of God throughout His Scriptures. The Jews had no problem seeing sin in the Gentile camp, their religious leaders tended towards self-righteousness. The apostle, a Jew of Jews, lumps both groups together, telling his kinsmen of the flesh that having the Law of Moses is not the same as keeping it. Verse 13 spells it out: those who hear the Law of Moses are not justified; those who DO the Law of Moses are. Hence the common but deadly wrong assumption by many Jews that they were keeping the Law of Moses because they were following the traditions laid down by their fathers.
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