"They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus." Romans 2:15-16 (ESV)
The unbelieving Jews of that day felt superior to the Gentiles because they were not given “the law” and “chosen” by God as a people. In other words, the Jews were looking down their noses at the Gentiles. Paul then addresses an issue I think affects all of us…the conscience; the area that we go to to either act right or wrong, the inner witness that judges our actions. Even though the Gentiles did not have “the law”, some were still able to show an ability to obey the law.
Even though we may be severely scarred by sin, we must remember that God still has the blueprint to us as human beings and that we originally belonged to Him. We were made in God’s likeness and we possess the ability to do right. The hard part comes when the appeal to do what is right gets overpowered by the pull to do what is wrong. This is what I refer to as “the struggle”.
"So I find it to be a law (rule of action of my being) that when I want to do what is right and good, evil is ever present with me and I am subject to its insistent demands." Romans 7:21 (AMP)
The conscience is an important part of human nature, and our conscience is affected in a number of ways; good, clear, guilty, corrupted, weak, and seared. In spite of the condition of our conscience, we need to know God’s standard when it comes to His righteousness and justice.
Standard - A level of quality or excellence that is accepted as the norm, or by which actual attainments are judged. - Encarta Dictionary
The unbelieving Jews Paul refers to in verses 15-16, are told by Paul in so many words that possession of the law will not spare them from judgment. We ALL are faced with the following statement:
NOBODY ON HIS OWN MERIT CAN BE DECLARED RIGHTEOUS BY GOD.
Then we move from v. 15 (thoughts) to v. 16 (judgment), “on that day when.” I believe that Paul is talking about the Day of Judgment when ALL men are judged by Christ Jesus. The secret place in our mind that we go to make decisions that nobody knows about, or at least we thought nobody knew about.
Does the above statement leave you at a loss? Good! It’s supposed to leave you at such a loss that it drives you to desperately want to be rescued. How many times have you heard people yell out, “God help me!” I yelled it, but I don’t have a problem with God. I hear a bunch of people who don’t want to have anything to do with God yell for help from God. Why do people who reject God yell for Him in time of need? Because in that secret place, called the conscience, where you make decisions, be it right or wrong…guess who’s right there with you? What does the last part of verse 16 say? “God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus”.
The One who made the sacrifice also makes the judgment…He earned that right and not that He needed to earn anything with us. (Creator vs. Created) God did not circumvent His own justice, but rather died after taking on our sin. (Sin = Death)
In the Day of Judgment, EVERYTHING will be laid bare before Christ. With that knowledge in mind, it drives me to confess, I AM A SINNER, JESUS SAVE ME! I am comforted by the promises of God that when I cry out to Him, He hears me.
"But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 (ESV)
That leaves us with two very important questions to consider as we move forward:
What is the effect of Jesus Christ on our conscience?
What are you going to do with Jesus?
Posted on Wed, December 28, 2011
by Scott Stevenson