No Partiality in God’s Judgment
In the previous verse Paul stated that God would provide glory, honor and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Prejudice was rampant in the first century among many ethnic groups but the group that was most relevant to the church was the Jewish/Gentile group. Many of the early Christians were Jewish by race and then as the church began to spread outside of Jerusalem, many Greek people became believers. Just as there is no racial discrimination in God’s glory, there is none in God’s judgment. Here is what Paul writes in verses 11-16: “11 For there is no partiality with God. 12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law 13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.” Gentiles (those without the law) would perish just as those Jews who had access to the law. Sin is the issue, not ethnicity. In fact, Paul points out that even those who had no exposure to God’s law through a written scroll or oral teaching, actually had the law “written in their hearts”. Paul goes on to say that not having access to the law is not an excuse. This is consistent with what we read previously in Romans 1. It all makes sense. Being created in the image of God means that a “God-consciousness” or awareness is present within each of us. Therefore God will reward and judge not based on ethnicity but on response to the gospel of Christ. If it was any other way, it just wouldn’t make sense.