“For there is no respect of persons with God.”

       FOR: (Grk.–gar)–This participle is used here to confirm what is said before, particularly that this punishment should be experienced by the Jew as well as the     Gentile.  For God would deal with both on the principles of justice.

         “no respect of persons with God”        
         Literally:  “there is no respect of faces with God.”

        RESPECTER OF PERSONS: (Grk.–prosōpolepsia)–Means partiality, in pronouncing judgment, in favoring one party or individual more than another, not because his cause is more just, but on account of something personal, i.e., his wealth, or rank, or office, or influence, or by personal friendship, or by the fear of him. Jesus expressed this truth of God’s impartiality when He said that God, “makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”  This Greek word is not used anywhere in the O.T., not even in the LXX.

        It means that God will not be influenced in awarding the retributions of eternity, in actually pronouncing and executing sentence, by any partiality, or by regard to the wealth, office, rank, or appearance of men. He will judge righteous judgment; He will judge men as they ought to be judged; according to their character and deserts or by partiality. 
        The connection here demands that this affirmation should be limited solely to God’s dealing with men as their JUDGE.  And in this sense, and this only, this is affirmed often of God in the Scriptures, (Deut. 10:17; II Chron.19:7; Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:25; Gal. 6:7,8; I Pet. 1:17; Acts 10:34).  It does not affirm:
1.      That He must make all His creatures equal in talent, health, wealth, or privilege;
2.      That, as a Sovereign, God may not make a difference in their endowments, their beauty, strength, or graces;
3.      That He may not bestow His favors where He pleases where all are undeserving;
         or that He may not make a difference in the characters of men by his providence, and by the agency of His Spirit.

All these are actually done, done not out of any respect to their persons, to their rank, office, or wealth, but according to His own sovereign good pleasure, Eph. 1:1-23.  To deny that this is done, would be:
1.      To deny the manifest arrangement of things everywhere on the earth.

2.      To deny that God had a right to do it, would be:
3.     To maintain that sinners had a claim on His favors;
4.     That He might not do what He willed with His own; or
5.      To affirm that God was under obligation to make all men with just the same talents and   privileges.
That is, that all creatures must be, in all respects, just alike. This passage, therefore, is very improperly brought out to disprove the doctrine of decrees, or election, or sovereignty. This has respect to a different thing, to the actual exercise of the office of the Judge of the world; and whatever may be the truth about God's decrees, or hHs electing love, this passage teaches nothing in relation to either. It may be added, that this passage contains a most alarming truth for guilty men. It is that:
1.      God will not be influenced by partiality, but will treat them just as they deserve.
2.      God will not be won or awed by their rank or office, or by their wealth or endowments; or by their numbers, or their power, or their robes of royalty and splendor.

        Every man should tremble at the prospect of falling into the hands of a just God, Who will treat him just as he deserves; and should, without delay, seek a refuge in the Savior and Advocate provided for the guilty, (John 2:1,2).
        God (actually, it will be Christ Jesus Who will be doing the judging, not God the Father“For the Father judgeth no man, but hat committed all judgment unto the Son”–John 5:22) will judge in that day according to character and conduct, so His judgment will proceed on the ground of the graces, privileges, and blessings which they had received, improved or abused.  He that will be condemned for his unrighteousness, on the ground that he had sufficient grace afforded him for the salvation of his soul; and his condemnation will rest on the simple principle, that he abused the grace which was sufficient to save him, by acting in opposition to its dictates and influence. Again understand: THERE IS NO RESPECT OF PERSONS WITH GOD.

“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.”

         “For as many as have sinned without Law”

FOR:  (Grk.–gar)—Again Paul uses this participle to give a reason for what he had just said, or to show on what principles God would treat man so as not to be a respecter of persons.

         “as many”
         Literally:  “whosoever”–This includes all who have done it, and evidently has respect to the
Gentile world.

Paul makes it clear that it is not applicable to a few only, or to great and incorrigible instances of pagan wickedness; but it is a universal, sweeping declaration, obviously including all.

         “as have sinned”

         Literally:  “as sinned”–Have been guilty of crimes of any kind toward God or man.

        SINNED:  (Grk.–hēmarton)—Sin is the transgression of a rule of conduct, however made known to mankind. Not “as many as have sinned at all,” but, “as many as are found in sin” at the judgment of the Great Day   Those who have not lived up to their light. He speaks as of the time past, for all time will be past at the Day of Judgment.

As many as have sinned without the written Law, which is the case of the Gentiles or heathens, shall also perish without that Law, being judged and condemned by the Law of Nature written in their hearts; but as many as have sinned in or under the Law of Moses, which is the case of the Jews, shall be judged and condemned by that Law.

         “without law”– That is, without the advantage of a positive Revelation, meaning the Law of Moses.

        WITHOUT LAW:  (Grk.–anamos)—Adverb meaning, contrary to law; unjustly,” but  here in ignorance of the Mosaic Law (or of any law); both law in the abstract and the Mosaic Law.   They shall be judged and condemned without reference to the standards of revealed law. Without the advantage of a positive revelation means without revealed or written law, as Paul immediately says that they had a law of nature, (vv.14-15.). This word anamos is used nowhere else in N.T. 

They (the Gentiles) who shall be found to have transgressed against the mere light of nature, or rather, that true light that lights every man that comes into the world, (John 1:9), shall not come under the same rule with the Jews, who have in addition to this enjoyed an extraordinary revelation; but they shall be dealt with according to the inferior dispensation, under which they lived, while those, the Jews, who have sinned against the law-the positive Divine revelation granted to them, shall be judged by that law, and punished proportionally to the abuse of such an extraordinary advantage.

         “shall also perish” 
         Literally:  “also will perish.”

         PERISH:   (Grk.–apolountai)–This Greek word occurs frequently in the N.T.  It means, “to destroy, to lose, or to corrupt; and is applied to life (Matt. 10:39);  to a reward of labor, (Matt. 10:42), to wisdom,” (I Cor. 1:19). 

         It is also used to denote future punishment, or the destruction of soul and body in hell, (Matt. 10:28; 18:14; John 3:15,) where it is opposed to eternal life, and therefore denotes eternal death (14:15; John 17:12).  In this sense the word is evidently used in this verse. Perish is a terrible word!  When used in Scripture regarding human beings it never hints of annihilation, as some falsely believe, but rather means the contrary.
        It will be remarked here, that Paul is not saying they shall be saved without law. He is not giving even an intimation respecting their salvation. The strain of the argument, as well as this express declaration, shows that they who had sinned–and in the first chapter he had proved that ALL the heathen were sinners–and therefore would be punished.
        If any of the heathen are saved, it will be, therefore, an exception to the general rule in regard to them. The apostles evidently believed that the great mass of them would be destroyed.  On this ground they displayed such zeal to get them saved.  On this ground the Lord Jesus commanded the gospel to be preached to them; and on this ground Christians are now engaged in the effort to bring them to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus. It may be added here, that all modern investigations have gone to confirm the position that the heathen are as degraded now as they were in the time of Paul.    
        There is a poisonous vagary floating around that says that those who do not have the light of the Gospel will be saved, either by a “second chance” after the “Rapture” (or taking out) of the Church, (as is falsely being taught by a popular series of books and movies), or by some “purgatorial fire,” because God is too good to punish sinners.  Paul answers these theories in Chapter 3 by an unanswerable question—“Is God unrighteous who visiteth with wrath” God forbid:  for how then shall God judge the world?”
        This means that wrath is inseparably connected with judgment, whatever the degree of light sinned against may have been.  Some think that the heathen are lost because they haven’t heard of Christ and haven’t accepted Him. WRONG!  They are lost because they are sinners That is the condition of all mankind–“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (3:23).  Men are not saved by the light they have; on the contrary, they are judged by the light they have.

“as many as have sinned within the law”
Literally:  ás many as have sinned in law”–In the sphere of the Mosaic law.  Under a   revelation of God's will.  They sinned having the revealed will of God, or endowed with   greater light and privileges than the
heathen world.

                 WITHIN THE LAW:  (Grk.–en nomōi)–Meaning, “in law; under law” or within the sphere of law.

Paul here has undoubted reference to the Jews who had the law of God, and who prided themselves on their  possession of it.  By the Law; the Jew has to stand or fall by the Mosaic law.  They shall be judged by it, and condemned for disobedience to its commands.

         “shall be judged by the law”
         Literally:  “will be judged through Law.”–This is an equitable and just rule; and to this the Jews could make no objection.

         Yet the admission of this would have led directly to the point to which Paul was conducting his argument, to show that they also were under condemnation, and needed a Savior. Take note that Paul uses a different expression in regard to the Jews from what he does of the Gentiles.  He says of the Jews, that they “shall be judged;”  but of the Gentile, that they “shall perish.”  It is not certainly known why he varied this expression.
         Kenneth Wuest, in his Word Studies in the Greek N.T.,  translates this sentence as:  “For there is not partiality in the presence of God.  For as many as without law sinned, without law shall also perish.  For as many as under law sinned, through the law shall be condemned.”

“For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.”

“For not the hearers of the Law”–The possession of a revelation will not save, but obedience to it will do so.  Hearing God’s Word is no advantage without obedience to it. The possession of God’s truth can avail nothing with God apart from being in subjection and obedience to it.

Even though he is making a general statement, Paul obviously has an eye upon the Jews.  Their Law could not make them righteous unless it was obeyed.  The same sentiment is implied in James 1:22; Matt. 7:21, 24; Luke 6:47. Paul here doubtless planned to meet an objection of the Jews; to wit,
1.      That they had the Law;
2.      That they displayed great deference for it,
3.     That they heard it read with attention, and professed a willingness to yield themselves to it.
To meet this, Pal states a very plain and obvious principle, that this was insufficient to justify them before God, unless they rendered actual obedience.

The Law was read in the synagogue, but there was no actual virtue in merely listening to it. The virtue is in doing. See a like contrast by James between “hearers” and “doers” of the gospel (James 1:22-25).

            HEARERS: (Grk.–akroatēs)–Like the Jews who heard it regularly in the synagogues.  This is the only place in all his writings that Paul uses this word.  James uses  it three times (James  1:22-23, 25).

“are just before God”
Literally:  “are just with God”–More correctly: “shall be declared just.”  Are
justified before God, or are personally holy. Or, in other words, simply hearing the Law is not meeting all its requirements, and making men holy.

         If they expected to be saved by the Law, it required something more than merely hearing it. It demanded perfect obedience. On this idea of perfect obedience, James said, “For whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet offend in one {point} he is guilty of all(James 2:10).
         It does not follow, because one people are favored with a Divine revelation, and therefore they shall be saved; while the others who have not been so favored with that revelation, shall finally perish.  This is not God's procedure; where He has given a law (that is, a Divine revelation, He requires obedience to that Law; and only those who have been doers of that law) who have lived according to the light and privileges granted in that revelation, shall be justified; that is, shall be finally acknowledged to be such as are fit for the kingdom of God.

“but the doers of the Law”– They who comply entirely with its demands; or who yield to it perfect and perpetual obedience. This was the plain and obvious demand, not only of common sense, but of the Jewish law itself, (Deuteronomy 4:1, Leviticus 18:5).  The law was read in the synagogue, but there was no actual virtue in listening. The virtue is in doing.

         This expression is evidently synonymous with that in Lev. 18:5 where it is said that “He shall live in them.” The meaning is, that it is a maxim or principle of the law of God, that if a person will keep it, and obey it entirely, he shall not be condemned, but shall be approved, and live forever. This does not affirm that anyone has ever lived like this in this world, but it is an affirmation of a great general principle of law, that if a creature is justified by the Law, the obedience must be entire and perpetual.  If such were the case, as there would be no ground of condemnation, man would be saved by the Law.
         If the Jews, therefore, expected to be saved by their Law, it must not be by hearing their Law, or by being called Jews, but by perfect and unqualified obedience to ALL its requirements. This passage is designed, doubtless, to meet a very common and pernicious sentiment of the Jewish teachers, that all who became hearers and listeners to the law would be saved.  The inference from the passage is that no man can be saved by his external privileges, or by an outward respectful deference to the truths and ordinances of religion.
         The Jews boasted that they ad quite a case:  they were sons of Abraham; had the Law of Moses, the prophets, the Ark of the Covenant, the priesthood, the Temple.  At the same time the Gentiles had none of these things; but it seems here that Paul is saying to the Jews: “So what?”  The modern counterpart to what these Jews were saying is:  “I am a church member;” or, “I came from a preacher’s home;” or “I teach a Sunday School Class;” or “I am a deacon in my church.”  To all of these Paul would also say, “So what?”

“shall be justified”–Shall be declared righteous (like James 1:22-25); accounted righteous; not held to be guilty.