“When the Gentiles sin, they will be destroyed, even though they never had God’s written law. And the Jews, who do have God’s law, will be judged by that law when they fail to obey it. For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight.” Romans 2:12-13
Paul continues to built his case that we are all guilty in the eyes of God. In this verse Paul is saying that the Jews had the laws of God, but they did not obey the laws. The Gentiles will be judged but they did not even have the law. Earlier Paul said that even if we don’t have the law, we know what is right or wrong. It is built into our DNA by God. Some people say that we are not under the law anymore because we are under God’s grace and this is true to an extent. Jesus told us that, “Don’t misunderstand why I have come, I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.” (Matthew 5:17-18) We need to realize what law Jesus was talking about. It was not the rules of the Pharisees. It was the law of Moses, which is the Ten Commandments. It is not about just knowing the Ten Commandments; it is about obeying the Ten Commandments.
“Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” “Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19:16-17)