Romans 2:12-13 “Those who have sinned outside the Law will also die outside the Law, and those who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law. It isn’t the ones who hear the Law who are righteous in God’s eyes. It is the ones who do what the Law says who will be treated as righteous.” (CEB)
Are you on God’s team or do you just wear the t-shirt?
The decision to follow Jesus is like joining a team. Once you join the team, you have to wear the uniform, go to team meetings, practice, and work out so that you can play well and be of benefit to the team. The idea is to be a player.
“Those who have sinned outside the Law will also die outside the Law,” Knowledge of what God wants your life to be like is worthless if you don’t apply it to your life. But not knowing God’s standards isn’t an excuse either. God looks at the heart and sees the intent with which you do or don’t do what He requires. Even without ever hearing the Ten Commandments, all humans know that murder, lying, stealing and adultery are wrong. Knowing that these things are wrong and doing them anyway is contrary to God’s desire and God judges those people based on that knowledge.
“and those who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law.” The Law was given to God’s people, the Jews. Throughout the last 2000 years God’s message of what He desires has been spread around the world. The great majority of people have heard God’s message proclaimed in various ways and are aware of God’s standards. Knowing those standards and living contrary to them is a direct violation and God judges us based on that violation.
“It isn’t the ones who hear the Law who are righteous in God’s eyes.” There is a difference between religiousness and righteousness. God determines who is righteous and who isn’t. Sitting in church on Sunday, listening to a sermon is of no value if there isn’t a change inside of you. Here you become a disinterested spectator.
“It is the ones who do what the Law says who will be treated as righteous.” God judges us based on our heart and our intent. God’s judgement of people who never had the opportunity to hear His commandments is based on their actions. Before Jesus came to Earth, there were entire civilizations that existed without the benefit of even hearing about Him or what He wants. They still knew that certain things were wrong and that others were right. By living righteous lives and in accordance to His standards, they are treated a righteous.
It is clear that God’s choice is to judge people by their actions. Once you decide to be a Christ follower, your actions must be in line with God’s laws. The moment you decide to follow Christ, you are a new person in God’s eyes. Your life, attitudes, and actions should change to conform to His desires.
If you have chosen to be a Christ follower, your actions must conform to God’s standards because your actions reflect the decision you’ve made. It is not, however, the actions by themselves that make you righteous in the eyes of God. If you work out, practice, and buy a team shirt, that doesn’t make you a part of the team, You need to be fully committed to do whatever it takes to benefit the team. You need to be a player, not a spectator.
God’s team is open to all. It is you who has to decide to get on the team.
Question for discussion
Think of all the civilizations that existed prior to the Israelites being chosen as the people of God. How does God judge them if they had never even heard of Jehovah?