Romans 2:11-20
Rom 2:11 (KJV)
For there is no respect of persons with God.

If there is one abounding principle in Scripture concerning the Judgment of God, it is that there is no favoritism when it comes to sin. If a person dies without the Lord Jesus Christ being their Savior, then it does not matter whether that person is Jew or Gentile, they will stand at the Great White Throne Judgment and give an account for their sins, which will result in eternal damnation.

Rom 2:12 (KJV)
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;

There are tribes and nations who do not have the law of God and those will also be judged for their sins. Just because someone does not know of the law of God does not cancel out the fact that they will face the judgment of God. There are many remote tribes where there are no Elect, therefore God will not dispatch a missionary to that tribe. If a remote tribe has Elect in it, then God will get His word to them in some fashion. Those who knew the law of God will be judged by the law of God.
(John 5:45 KJV) Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. The Jews were trusting in the belief that because they had the law of God and was keeping its ceremonies, that they were within God’s requirements for salvation. Paul is telling them that they will be judged according to the law which every human being fails to keep. People will be judged by the light that they have. Even the universe is a testimony to a Creator as we read in Romans 1:20.

Rom 2:13 (KJV)
(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

Only those who are able to fulfill the righteous demands of God’s law will be justified before God, which means they are saved. This requires a person to be totally sinless and there is no human being which has sinlessly kept every tenet of the law of God. Those who are just hearers are do nothings and would never be able to keep the law. Only in Christ can a person be justified as if they kept the law in its entirety. Christ was the one who fulfilled the righteous demands of God’s law and as a result, those in Christ are regarded by God as fulfilling the requirements of the law of God through Christ.

Rom 2:14 (KJV)
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:

There are countries both past and present who do not have the law of God governing their countries. For example, in the past the Code of Hammurabi which was in existence in ancient Babylon about the 18th century BC. Hammurabi lived from about 1792-1750 BC. The law of God was given to Moses on Sinai about 1447 BC. So the Code was around about 300 years before the law was given at Sinai. It was not the law of God but it was the law of the land and those who disobeyed that law paid the penalties for their crime. A modern example is Saudi Arabia, who does not have the law of God, yet has a code of laws which governs them. If a person is caught stealing, they lose their hand. Now even though both of these are not based on the law of God, they do have much in common with the law of God. Their laws carry penalties for disobeying the laws as does the law of God.

Rom 2:15 (KJV)
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;)

Each people group will have a set of laws and these laws are written on their hearts, basically they have been placed in each person by God. That is why you cannot find any people group which does not have some type of set of rules and regulations. There is a standard of right and wrong in every group. That standard did not just appear out of nowhere, it is the product of God’s law being written on the hearts of men which will give men a conscience that will be able to discern between right and wrong. This will either indict or exonerate someone when matters of law are taken up. The word “thoughts” carries with it the meaning of “reasoning.” Their reasoning is called upon when a matter needs to be adjudicated.

Rom 2:16 (KJV)
In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

If you notice there is a parenthesis around the verses 13-15 which conveys some understanding about those without the law of God. Verse 16 picks up from verse 12 where we read concerning people being judged by the law of God and even those who do not have the law of God are culpable for their sins. God states here that every secret sin will be brought to light and judged according to the Gospel of Christ. As God saw the secret sin of Achan in Joshua 7, he sees the secret sin of every person and the unredeemed will give an account of all their sins. Not one can be hidden from God no matter how hard a person tries. They may hide their sins from fallible man on earth but Judgment Day will reveal the secrets of men.
(Psa 44:21 KJV) Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart. Those who reject Christ will face Him on Judgment Day as He will judge those secret sins that they have tried to keep hidden.

Rom 2:17 (KJV)
Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,

Now Paul specifically speaks to the Jews. He accused them of resting in the law, which means they had their confidence in the law and they would boast that they had some kind of special relationship with God by means of having received the law. Their glory was in the law of God, even though not one could keep it perfectly. The word “Jew” is really a shortened word for someone from the tribe of Judah. We will look at the spiritual implications of the word “Jew” a little later on in this chapter. On the return from Babylonian captivity, the majority were from the tribe of Judah. The Northern ten tribes went into captivity in Assyria but were never heard from again as they assimilated in the population of the world. As a Christian rests in Calvary because salvation has been purchased, the unsaved Jew rested in the law believing that because they had the law, they were special, not realizing they would suffer more condemnation. The more light someone has, the more accountable they are.

Rom 2:18 (KJV)
And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;

Here Paul is asking the Jews if they really believe that they know the will of God. The word “will” carries with it the meaning of “desire or purpose.” What human being can know the will of God perfectly? There is none and that is why Paul is asking these Jews if they think they are informed of His will. Then Paul speaks about them being able, based on their knowledge of God’s will, to approve what is more excellent. The word “approvest” means “to try, scrutinize, or prove.” Would they be able to prove what is more excellent and having done that, are they able to put into practice what is approved? Were they practicing the law in its purest form? The word “instructed” in the Greek gives us the English word “Catechism.” Were they taking their instruction for living out of the law or were they adding things to it for the purposes of justifying certain behaviors?

Rom 2:19 (KJV)
And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,

Paul was chiding them because they had such confidence, which gives us an alternate meaning in the Greek of “persuaded,” that they were capable teachers and examples to the Gentiles who they believed walked in blindness and their teachings and methods were bringing light out of the darkness. Their belief was, that because they had the law, all the Gentiles were in darkness and were to look to the Jews as a source of light concerning the teachings of God. This is why the Pharisees tried to make many proselytes out of the Gentiles. That practice is carried down to today where a Gentile can convert to Judaism. In fact, there is something called a Hasidic Gentile.

Rom 2:20 (KJV)
An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.

There were many among the Jews who did not know the law of God and it was not an uncommon practice to call the leaders who taught the law, instructors. When they brought them into the temple to teach, they would try and mature them in the Jewish religion. If you notice the word that the Bible uses in this verse concerning their knowledge of the truth. It is called the “form.” The word “form” may also be understood as “appearance or semblance.” Paul is saying that these Jews really did not understand the essence of the law, instead were postulating only a form and a doctored form at that. By the time the book of Romans was written, which was approximately 56 AD, Judaism had replaced the law and was more of a collection of commentaries such as the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud. The Rabbis had already overshadowed the true teachings of Scripture with things like oral traditions and Rabbinical writings. This already took place as far back as the Babylonian Captivity plus we saw the lack of understanding of Scripture the leaders had in their failure to recognize the Lord Jesus Christ.