答案：外邦人虽“在律法以外” (without the law)，“没有律法”(have not the law)，即没有上帝（话语）启示的律法，他们并不是无法则 (not without law) 的。
他们“自己就是自己的律法” (they “are the law unto themselves”)；他们“显出律法的功用刻在他们心里”(they show the work of the law written in their hearts， 15)。
(… not things of an entirely different law – it is essentially the same law.)
他们是自己的“律法” (the Gentiles are not simply a law to themselves, but the law.)。
 “律法”就是上文提到的，上帝启示的律法 (the law, 不是 law)；即外邦人没有的“律法”，即犹太人有的“律法”，即审判之日定罪的“律法”。
 保罗并没有说，上帝将祂的律法刻在他们的心里（耶33，结36）。这种被圣灵重生的心思意念(heart, mind, will)， 不是那些不信基督的外邦人所能达到的。
 良心是“同作见证” (giving joint witness)的那位。
 “良心”是人性里的功能一种；是人作道德分辨、判断的功能 (function in moral discrimination and judgment)。“良心”，就是从道德意识的角度来看一个人。
THE GOOD WORKS OF NON-CHRISTIANS
Outline of Message
Overall context (1:18-3:20): All mankind is under sin and God’s judgment.
Gentiles (non-believers) sometimes will do things required by the law. This doesn’t mean they fulfill (obey) the whole law.
Thus, though they are “without the law,” “outside the law,” they are “not without law”, they are not law-less. God’s Law functions in them; they must face it.
Because God’s Law works in him, man’s conscience may justify or condemn him.
The Bible never says that: non-believers will receive eternal life some other way.
Explanation of the Passage
2:14 “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.”
No one can be justified by his own righteousness. However, although mankind is fallen, God gives humanity his general revelation and his common grace. Thus man knows some moral norms. Man knows he must obey these norms, and be responsible to God.
Verse 14 answers the question (12): Since Gentiles don’t have God’s law, why are they “sinners”? Because: “Where there is no law, there is no transgression (4:15, 5:13)”!
Answer: Although Gentiles are “outside the law,” they “do not have the law,” i.e., they do not have God’s verbal (word-) revelation, they are not without law. God’s law has been revealed them – through a different means. The law “works” in their hearts.
They are “the law unto themselves”: they show the work of the law written in their hearts (v. 15). Therefore, according to this law, “the Law” which is working/written in their hearts, they are sinners. They have sinned against God’s Law.
“By nature.” Not in response to outside pressure, but intuitively, spontaneously.
“Do what the law requires.” Paul doesn’t say: they obey the entire law or “fulfill” the law.
“Things of the law” / “What the law requires”, e.g. rearing children, filial piety, lawful occupations, care for the elderly and the sick, etc.
These are required by God’s law, not some other law.
“… not things of an entirely different law – it is essentially the same law.”
They are the law unto themselves – this doesn’t mean they are autonomous! Rather: they have the imprint of God’s law in their hearts; therefore, inside, they must face God’s law.
Inside man: this is where God reveals his law! We are the medium of God’s revelation.
Therefore those who do not have God’s (verbal) revelation:
 They must face God’s law: for God has imprinted his law inside their consciousness.
 They do some of the things which God’s law requires.
 They do these things not because of outside pressure, but spontaneously by nature.
2:15 “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.”
The fact that they do what the law requires shows that: God’s law is written in their hearts.
 “The law” refers to God’s law (the law), not some vague “law.” “The law” is exactly the law which the Jews have, Gentiles don’t have, with which God will judge mankind.
 Paul does not say that God has written his Law on their hearts (Jer. 33, Ezek. 36). This transformation of the heart, mind and will which is “regeneration” (being born again) is not something attained by Gentile non-believers.
 “The work of the law” refers to things which “the law requires” (14). The things which the Law requires are written in their hearts.
 “Written on their hearts.” Those who have the law, have it written in stone and in Scripture; those who don’t have the law, have God’s requirements written in their hearts.
“Their conscience bears (co-) witness.” This “co-witness,” “joint witness” is different from “the work of the law,” because:
 “Conscience” here is giving joint witness. If conscience (the witness-giver) is the same as the content of the witness, then conscience couldn’t be giving joint witness!
 “Conscience” is a function in human nature: it is the function in moral discrimination and judgment. Conscience, is man viewed from the viewpoint of moral consciousness.
Man first has the work of God’s law written in him; this is part of man’s nature. Ten, man also have the function of conscience’s joint-witness.
 What this verse means is: The function of conscience giving joint-witness, demonstrates the fact that the work of the law is written in man’s hearts.
“And their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.”
This fact is parallel to “their conscience bears witness.” Both acts demonstrate/prove that: the work of the law is written in man’s hearts. “Excuse” – man justifies himself as righteous. “Accuse” – man condemns his own sin. This 2-fold self-judgment proves: man has a moral nature/moral consciousness.
The only way to explain this fact is: the work of God’s law is written in man’s hearts.
2:16 “On that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.”
“Day when… God judges.” Same as verse 5: “the wrath of the day of wrath.”
“According to my gospel.” The secrets of men who don’t have the law are not judged according to God’s Law: of course they are not judged by the gospel then! They will perish, but they perish not according to the law (12).
Therefore: “According to my gospel” means: the gospel declares that God will judge the secrets of men’s hearts. God will judge all men by Christ Jesus.
All judgment is under Christ’s authority. Matt. 7:21-23, 25:31-33; John 5:22; II Cor. 5:10. Christ’s judgment is flawless, inerrant. It penetrates men’s hearts and minds. Nothing is
hidden from him. Hebrews 4:12-13.
What are you depending on for justification before God?
We all have to be responsible before God, whether we have the Bible or not.
Next study: What does it mean to be a true “Jew”? What is the true meaning of “circumcision”? (Romans 2:17-29)
2/17/2006 4:35:00 PM