Paul continues the sad tale of humanity. We are in trouble. Verse 12 sums it up: All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law (12). The scary word for me is ‘all.’ Whether under the law or not all who sin, which is everybody, will perish. Like I said this is not a pretty picture. Humanity is in trouble.
But thinking in terms of ‘humanity,’ buffers the blow of this verse. Humanity is a sea of people, a nameless glob of people. Humanity is not personal. It is a statistic that doesn’t connect with real life or my life.
I read about an advertising study. Advertisers raised more money for a cause when they told the story of one person in need than when they talked about the thousands or millions who were in the particular predicament. The inference of the study is that we cannot or do not relate with large numbers. However, give us one situation and ask us to donate and hearts are penetrated and funds come in.
Sensing the truth of this study, I moved from considering humanity to considering one life, my life. I am not a Jew so I do not live under the law. But verse 12 says of my situation All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law… That’s me. I have sinned and do sin ‘apart from the law’ so I will perish apart from the law. That is my fate; that is your fate.
Everybody will perish for the sins we have committed.
I am in dire straits… and this is where the story ends in chapter 2.
Fortunately, I have read Romans before. I know this is not the last word. And I know that the last word is Jesus, faith in Jesus to be more precise. While I was a sinner Jesus died for me (Romans 5:8). But this is getting ahead of the story.
I return to the predicament… I am in trouble. My sin will cause me to perish and there is nothing I can do because I have already committed my sins. I am doomed. No amount of being good or even perfect from this day forward will help because the sin I have already committed is enough for me to perish as a punishment for my sins.
I am so thankful that Romans doesn’t end here…
I can’t help it, as my time with Jesus closes, I thank Him for the message of Romans and all He did to save me while I was a sinner with my back turned on Him.
Thank You, Jesus. Thank You. Amen