Romans 2:11-16, “For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”
Under the Mosaic law, the Jews were required by God to observe numerous ceremonial laws. These were not laws required to get to Heaven, but to avoid national judgment if the Jews didn't obey God. This is why God chastised His people in Babylonian captivity for 70 years (1 year for every 7 years the Jews failed to keep the Sabbath Day). No one has ever been saved by works, nor by partial faith in Christ plus works (Acts 10:43).
Romans 3:19-20 plainly tells us that the primary PURPOSE for the Old Testament law of Moses was to give men THE KNOWLEDGE OF SIN. This was necessary so that seeing their sinfulness, the law of God would bring men to Christ to be saved by grace through faith (Galatians 3:24-26). But many of the Jews didn't understand this truth because they viewed the things of God from an unsaved carnal viewpoint:
As we just read, the unsaved Jew who knowingly rejected the truth of the coming Messiah, remained in darkness, and Christ to them became as a stumbling block. In His great love for man, God the Father sent His only begotten Son into the world to die on a cross to pay our debt of sin (John 3:16). The coming Messiah (Jesus Christ) was supposed to be the chief cornerstone for the Jews, upon which everything else in the house of God would be built. But by rejecting the blessed Savior, the Jews instead made Christ a stumbling block and a rock of offence.
1st Peter 2:5-8, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.”
As we enter into the New Testament, we see these type of unsaved religious Jews, attempting to keep the law of Moses to merit Heaven. They utterly failed to grasp the true purpose of the Mosaic law, which was to show men their sinnership, to bring them to Christ to be saved by God's grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:3-4; Philippians 3:9).
In the Epistle of Romans, the Apostle Paul is writing to the believers at Rome (Romans 1:6-7), but he teaches them the truth, just in case some of them are not really saved:
Romans 2:12-15, “For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)”
Many preachers misunderstand verse 13, teaching that we must keep the law to be saved. Evangelist Dan Corner on the internet is one such infidel, who preaches a counterfeit gospel, damning men's souls to Hell. Dan Corner cites Romans 2:13 to support his false teaching that works are necessary to get to Heaven. But kindly said, Dan is woefully ignorant of the Bible.
In the preceding Scripture passage, Paul is saying that whether a person is aware of the Ten Commandments of not, they are still guilty for breaking them. For the ignorant person who hasn't heard the Bible, God has still given them a moral conscience to guild them, so that all men are without excuse. That is why even in the remote pagan jungles of tribal groups in Africa and places around the world, sinful people still know what is wrong and that all wrongdoing must be paid for, so they cut and torture themselves as a form of penance, and even in some cases have sacrificed their children or themselves in an attempt to cleanse away the evil, hoping to redeem themselves. Man's need is God's proof!
The Pharisees and other religious Jews in New Testament times, were trying to keep the law of Moses to get to Heaven. But here in Romans chapter two the Apostle Paul rebukes them, teaching them in verse 13 that in order to get to Heaven, you actually must keep the law. It is not enough to merely hear the law, which is all that the Jews were doing! They were breaking God's commandments, but foolishly thought they could still get to Heaven in their false religion. They had utterly failed to understand the reason for which God gave His law in the first place, which is to show mankind our hopelessness because of sin, and our desperate need for the Savior (Galatians 3:24-26).
Dear reader, this is exactly what is happening still today in fake churches around the world. Unsaved religious people are trying to get to Heaven by partial faith in Christ plus turning away from their sins. But that is not even possible! Just as the Jews failed to perfectly keep God's law, so also cannot anyone today repent of their sins. Even the best Christian still lives a lifestyle of sin, as evidenced by Paul's struggle with the sinful flesh in Romans 7:14-25.
NO ONE has ever turned away from their sins! You may have exchanged sins like adultery, homosexuality, theft and murder for the milder sins of gossip, envy, slander, indifference, hatred and not praying for others, but you are still just as much a dirty sinner in God's sight. The ONLY difference between the holiest Christian and the unholiest sinner is the redeeming precious blood of Jesus Christ!!! You and I have no righteousness of our own (Isaiah 64:6). God alone is the believer's righteousness, which is through faith in Jesus (Philippians 3:9).
Paul makes it clear in Romans 2:12-15 that no one is without sin. We are all wicked!!! If someone wants to get to Heaven through keeping the law, then they must actually keep it! They cannot break the law even one time!!! James 2:10, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” This should make it very obvious dear reader that NO ONE has ever gone to Heaven by keeping the law of God, because no one ever has perfectly kept it except Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:17). Jesus perfectly obeyed the Mosaic law, because He is sinless (Hebrews 4:16). That is why ONLY Jesus could be the acceptable perfect Lamb of God, who sacrificed Himself for us (John 1:29; Romans 5:6-9). What a Savior!!!
My friend, if those Jews in Paul's time couldn't perfectly keep the law to merit Heaven, then neither can you! The very idea that a person must turn away from their sinful behavior to be saved is of the Devil. It is tommyrot, poppycock and balderdash! Nowhere does the inspired King James Bible tell anyone to “repent of your sins” to be saved. The word “repent” is mentioned in several places in the Bible, but most of the time is NOT concerning salvation. For example: Repentance is not mentioned in Acts 16:30-31, when Paul and Silas simply told the curious Roman jailer to “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” to be saved.
Neither is any form of repentance mentioned in the Apostle Paul's definition of “the gospel” in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4, which he received directly by revelation from Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:12). Neither is the word “repent” mentioned even once in the entire Gospel of John, which book of the Bible was exclusively written to convince us that Jesus is the Christ, the only begotten Son of God, so that we might believe and be saved (John 20:31). How silly and foolish it is then, to take just a very small collection of obscure Scripture passages, to base a new doctrine on them that demands for lost people to forsake sinful behavior to get to Heaven. It is simply another Devil's lie. The only thing that you need to repent of to be saved is the only thing that can keep a man out of Heaven, and that is UNBLIEF (Hebrews 4:2).