Just non-believers

edited December 1969 in Faith Issues
"For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel." -Romans 2:12-16

What is St. Paul saying here about the fate of a gentile who abides by the law based on the instilled law in their conscience? Does this mean there is a chance for salvation for them?


  • I may be wrong, and I'm sure someone will correct me if I am, but this is how I understand it: lets say there is a little village in Sudan, and let's say they aren't Christian, but they live according to the law they established for themselves. Since we are all born with a Godly distinction of what's right and wrong, their laws are similar to ours.. don't steal, don't lie, don't commit adultery..etc. If they live faithfully according to their law, I don't believe God will punish them. He will judge us all according to our knowledge and ability. However, if they had the opportunity to know the truth about God, and rejected it, I think they will be judged according to that.
    The more we know and understand about the Gospel, the more we will be judged. The less we know, the less we will be judged. For a person who has never had the advantaged of learning a Christian life, I think they, instead, will be judged according to their moral standards.
    After all, the moral standards that are set within us are from God.

    So yes, I do believe there is a chance for salvation for them.
  • To elaborate on what TITL said, St. Paul is simply telling us that people who do not hear the Gospel will be judged according to how they lived. We all know right from wrong, it is within and not learned. So if someone did not know Christ at all and lived as a good person doing what you should, that is how they will be judged.
  • So how about Muslims? In the same way we're pretty much taught when we're young that they're wrong and we're right, they're taught that they're right and we are wrong, so many of them reject the gospel without really learning about it, simply because that is what they were taught to do, and so they think what they're doing is right. Many of them turn out to be good people. Is there a chance for them too?
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