Romans 2:14-16 ESV For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. (15) 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 (16) on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
When I was about 10 or 11 years old, I was playing with a friend at a property that his family had just bought. We were exploring the barns and outer buildings when we came up on a box. Naturally being curious we opened the box and found out that is was full of dirty magazines. No one had ever told me not to look at dirty magazines and I was curious about what was inside of them. At that moment however there was a gut feeling that looking at those magazines would be wrong. Fortunately my friend had the same but stronger intuition and closed the box and took it to his parents.
What was at work in my heart was my conscience. I intuitively knew that looking at those magazines would have been wrong. Part of me was curious and willing to violate my conscience. This is the drama that Paul says works out even in those people who have never heard the Law. God’s law is written on their heart in such a way that they intuitively know that some things are wrong and they violate their own conscience.
Someone may not believe the scriptures and subscribe to God’s law. Yet, if they have ever violated their own conscience they can’t claim to stand before God guiltless. We are so great of sinners that not only do we fail to keep God’s law perfectly, we can’t even keep our own conscious clear.
The only real solution is Jesus. Paul reminds us that we will all stand before God and give an account for our lives. Some of us will stand under the judgement and wrath of God as we answer for what we have done. Some of us will stand under the grace and mercy of God because our sins have been forgiven through Jesus Christ and we have new life. On that day we will rejoice as God rewards us for the work he has done in our lives to change us from sinners into saints.
I don’t want anyone on that day to have to stand and face the full consequences for their sin. Not when Jesus has already paid for their sin and all they need to do is repent and trust in Him. I’m praying for opportunities to tell others about Jesus and his glorious gospel that has transformed my life.
Father, Thank you for your mercy and grace. We rejoice to know that you love us, Jesus has paid the penalty for our sins, and we can come to you in faith and receive the forgiveness of our sins. We ask for opportunities to tell others today about Jesus and how they can be forgiven of sin and have new life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.