Hi Richard and Timmy,
Originally Posted by RAM
I'll take a stab at it.
Ro 2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
So the law brings everyone guilty before God. All have sinnned, all come short.
Ro 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
It is Grace that leads us to admit we are not measuring up to God's standard,which is reality.
Ro 2:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
Ro 2:9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
Tribulation and anguish are the result of trying and failing to measure up to God's perfect standard as laid out within the law. Break one you are guilty of all.
Ro 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
We fail again and again and repent again and again. Because we cannot be doers of the laws that concern the mind.
Ro 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
This can be a good thing at one level. Gentiles who know not the law are apparently living by the same standards of behaviour contained in the law. This would go for many Christians.
Ro 2:15 Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another
But wait, Jesus standards are just as tough if not tougher than the law. Be ye perfect.
So a person who's conscience excuses them are not going deeply enough in self examination. They are not being honest. They may see other's faults and shortcomings but that is not conscience. Conscience concerns self examination not examination of others. Modern day Pharisees appearing holy but not really..
So there is no difference between Jew and Gentile here. If they are both confronted by a standard of perfection, they must both either live up to it (which they won't) or choose one of two different paths.
Path number one water down your standard of perfection. And appear to those around you and maybe even yourself as doing all that you must do to reach that perfection.
Path number two. Go through all the tribulation and anguish that is involved in taking an honest look at yourself.
At this point, if you have chosen Path number two, you realize what Grace is. And that it was really God's Grace that brought you to all of this tribulation and anguish.
Harry Potter,.. "Is this all happening in my head, or is it real?"
Professor Dumbledor,.. "Of course it's all happening in your head. What makes you think that means it isn't real?"