Sunday, December 4, 2022

A Law for Themselves (Romans 2:14)

Romans 2:14-15 (NIV) 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.)


Who is Paul talking about here?


Gentiles {non-Jews) who naturally obey the Law.



I remember discussing this a little when I was at bible study at university.

I imagined a tribe of Godly people in the jungle somewhere, with a high sense of morality.


They may well exist, but I am not aware of any definite examples.


But what I have become aware of as I read through Acts of the apostles, is the description of some of the gentiles (people who were not born of Jewish parents, and therefore not raised in the Jewish understanding of God) who, prior to coming to faith are described as “worshipers of God”


An example is Lydia as well as Cornelius.


Acts 16:14 (NIV) One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.


Acts 10:1-2 (NIV) 1 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.


It seems that there were people, non-Jews, who believed in God, prayed to him, worshiped him, and feared him, before they had any inkling of Jesus, or Paul, or Peter, or anything Christian.


Did they have faith?


Was this faith a saving faith?


Did Paul have to “set them straight” so to speak, because they were off track?


Or did God simply make sure that Peter, Paul and others found these people who would otherwise have no understanding of who Jesus is and what he has done for them (and us).


Do we need to already fear God in order to hear and respond to the Gospel?


I do think there are people whom God has prepared ahead of time to receive his word in a wonderful way, and who respond eagerly, tenderly and gratefully when they finally hear it.

If nothing else, they have a strong sense of their own sin and the holiness of God, and the dilemma that presents. I can identify, to some degree, with that description.


But there are also others who “kick against the spikes”. Still God speaks to them (and us) and floods them with his wonderful saving grace.


As followers of Jesus, we want/need to live in the joy of full forgiveness and share this with others. May God both direct and bless this desire.