Romans 2:12-16 makes it sounds like salvation is all about the heart and the motives behind our actions, more than the actions themselves. Does this scripture teach that some people can be saved despite their track record? (Say, if they had not been baptized, or were still living in sin?) This would make sense considering that we all have a flawed track record with God. -- Jaxon

Certainly the Lord looks at the heart before he looks at external conformity to law. And yet this passage does not say that anyone can be saved through good intentions, good deeds, or a good conscience. Quite the opposite!

Whether or not people have been confronted with God's righteous law, they will perish because of their sin (vv.12-13). Theologically speaking, in this passage Paul is leveling the field. But not by suggesting everyone can be saved, whether or not respecting the word of God! No, it's the other way around. Paul argues that the religious and the irreligious, Jew and Gentile alike, are all lost and can only throw themselves on God's grace (see Romans 3:23-24).

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