Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.
Thoughts for Today:As is often the case, I prefer the King James Version of this passage (verse 15): "Which shew 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." Paul is saying, God imprinted His law on the conscience of every man, woman and child -- in every tribe, society and civilization throughout time. So just because they haven't been given the law on tablets of stone or etched into concrete on the walls of the local courthouse, doesn't provide them with an excuse.
Our passage today reads: "...written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, their thoughts the mean..." The mean in mathematical terms is defined as: "a value that is intermediate between other values." In other words, God's law is in our conscience, and in-between what society says we should do and what our sinful nature wants to do -- we know the right thing to do because God has written His law in our hearts.
I was watching a television show with my eight year old daughter Amanda the other day, when the main character did something unethical yet was rewarded. I paused the program and asked her what she thought about what had just happened. Amanda answered, "Zack lied." I said, "So what -- he got what he wanted, right?" She looked at me disapprovingly and said, "Come on Dad, you can't lie just to get what you want." "Why not?" I asked. "Because it's wrong. Everyone knows that -- even babies." Amanda is probably right -- even babies are born with God's law imprinted on their hearts.
Questions to Ponder:The next time you are faced with an ethical dilemma, pause for a moment and look toward God's law which Paul instructs is imprinted upon our hearts. In my experience, the answer then becomes crystal clear. I may not like what He says but I know it to be truth. God's way is always a path to higher moral ground. What is God speaking to you about right now? Will you obey?