Romans 2:12-16

Romans 2:12-16

to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *

November 05, 2019 – Tuesday

Romans 2:12-16  NIV

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.


A careful reading of the above five verses will show for Gentiles the law is not written on their hearts, but that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts. An important distinction for it is from these requirements that everyone, Jews and Gentiles alike, ends up with a a moral code by which they live, and by which they will be judged, and that all will be judged by their own moral code. Thus none will have grounds to complain. (Peter Pett)

Who will be saved? Who will be declared righteous? Paul states clearly it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. You might wonder why Paul makes this declaration and it would be reasonable to do so. It is because he wanted to make clear no man is made righteous or justified by hearing the law as many Jews believed and likely many Christians believe when it comes to reading the Bible. What matters is the doing! Or as Paul stated in Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus … the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.  He may also have had in mind Deuteronomy 27:26 Cursed be anyone who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them. ESV

The last two verses for the day explain how Gentiles, most of us, who are not under the law (v2:12) how are they to be judged? The actions and behavior of Gentiles show a morality related to the requirements of the law written on their hearts resulting in a conscience that judges each of us – the moral law at work. All too often the morals of Gentiles are violated or changed to suit the needs of the day, thus violating God’s laws by not following His requirements.

The only cure for this prior to judgment day is the same for Jew and Gentile alike is the grace offered by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for all of our sins. It matters not if one had the written law as the Jews did or the requirements of the law written on one’s heart as the Gentiles did, all fell short. All have the need for grace, for forgiveness. It is only through Jesus that one may be justified and have imputed righteousness.

No one has any righteousness without Jesus and His forgiveness of sins. No one. Yet we live in a time when the world wants to believe nothing matters but doing what we wish to do. Nothing could be further from the truth.

RileyD, nwJ
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)

* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.   (1 Samuel 15:22)