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For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

2:12 without law. Even though God had a chosen nation, “there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:11). Since all have sinned, both Jews and Gentiles, all are under condemnation. The Jews had knowledge of God’s written law and had covenanted to keep the law, so they must be judged by the law, for “by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). But God has written at least the intuitive knowledge of His law internally in the human conscience (Romans 2:15), and no Gentile has been able to live up even to this knowledge. Furthermore, they have ample evidence of God in the external creation, so that they are “without excuse” (Romans 1:20). “Inexcusable” in Romans 2:1, is the same word (anapologetos) in the Greek.

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