Gentleman, Can we show a little objectivity in this discussion and try to make an attempt to recognize the immediate context in which it is placed and what it actually says versus what we want it to say? A. It is placed in a context of disobedience to God's law: 1. Romans 1:18-32 precdes it and it does not give one instance of repentance or faith or conversion but rather a devilution into greater depravity. 2. Romans 1:17-3:8 follows it and it does not give one instance of true repentance or obedience to God's Law 3. This is why Paul can draw his conclusion in Romans 3:9-21 in regard to the "Whole world" and "every mouth" and that "no flesh" is justified by the works of the law. B. It is not set in a context of justification by faith and faithfulness to God. C. Romans 2:1 presumes guilt to anyone who claims to obey God's law "whosoever thou art" by declaring unconditional disobedience "thou doest the same thing" D. Romans 2:11-24 presumes disobedience to the law by the Jews E. Romans 2:25 introduces the suppositinal "IF" a Jew obeys the law then it profits him but never states that any Jew DOES obey the law. F. Romans 2:1-15 sets forth JUST PRINCIPLES by which God judges men on the basis of works. G. There is not one word in Romans 2:1-15 that declares, states or necessarily infers that there will be persons on judgement day whose works will satisfy these just principles. For example, it is one thing to say that God's goodness in restraining wrath against willful sins SHOULD lead sinners to repentance and quite another thing to say it DOES or WILL do so. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? 4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Notice that the disputed phrase in verse 4 is directed against the man who sins and "thinketh" that he "shalt escape the judgement of God" because God's goodness in forbearing and suffering long with his rebellion. Notice the stated response is that of assumed further disobedience in verse 5 rather than repentance as our friends ASSUME contrary to the very context. There is no contextual grounds for assuming repentance when Paul assumes the opposite in verse 5 of the man introduced in verse 3 who thinks he will escape judgement simply because it is not immediate to his sin. There will be a judgement in the future where 'the dead"(not the living) will stand before God and be judged every man according to his works. Those who stand before God in that judgement "there was no place found for THEM" but in the lake of fire. None in that future judgement are said to be justified but condemned to the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15-17). Paul clearly sets this judgement in the context of lost and rebellious mankind consisting of Gentiles (Rom. 1:18-32) and Jews (Romans 2:17-29). Here are the just principles that God will judge the works of lost men by: Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: Rom. 20:11 ¶ And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. This judgement has but one described destination "according to their works" and it is not heaven. Conclusion: God will judge the works of lost men FAIR and EQUITABLE and that demands that the reward of righteousness be set forth and qualified as well as the reward of unrighteousenss be set forth and qualified and that is all Paul is doing here.