All those who sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all those who sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For the hearers of the law are not righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be declared righteous. So, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, instinctively do what the law demands, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences confirm this. Their competing thoughts will either accuse or excuse them on the day when God judges what people have kept secret, according to my gospel through Christ Jesus.
The text we have before us answers the question “What happens to the heathen who has never heard of Jesus?” We know God’s Law. On the day of judgement, you and I will be judged according to what we know of God and his Law. But what about the person who knows nothing really of the Bible nor Jesus Christ?
This individual over time proves that he knows God’s Law instinctively. He or She begins to do what is right because his conscience has been imprinted on some level with the Law of God. For example, the heathen gets angry with someone he knows. He begins to think of killing this person. As he is pondering how he will take their life, his conscience begins to internally accuse him that those actions are wrong. Then if this individual acts against the voice of his conscience and commits murder, he has became guilty in the courtroom of his own mind. At the judgement he will stand before the God whom he has never heard of, yet he knew of him on some level because the creation reveals God, and his conscience. This individual will not need God to pronounce a judgement because his own conscience will declare him guilty. God will then be the final judge who sentences him either to eternal hell, or eternal bliss based upon the individuals faith to live according to the convictions of his conscience or not. The Bible tells us that “there is no one who is righteous, no not one”. So we know that there isn’t anybody who even lives innocently according to their own standard of right and wrong.
Our consciences are powerful allies of God. They do undercover work for the Lord. They are the voice of God in our mind and are to be informed by the Word of God. They mediate competing thoughts and either accuse or excuse our behavior. For many years I put a gag in the mouth of my conscience so that it would remain quite in the halls of my mind. When I heard the gospel and Jesus woke my heart to trust upon him alone for deliverance, he took the gag out of my consciences’ mouth so that he might speak to me though it once again.
- We are commanded to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” This happens in the courtroom of our minds where we have competing thoughts.
- Does your conscience speak to you or is it quiet?