In Part 2 of this series on the alleged Israelite identity of the Romans, we discussed the state of the Roman Empire at the time Paul wrote the epistle to the Romans. We considered the implications of the mixed empire Rome was according to Daniel 2:43 — and how we cannot merely assume that all Romans in Rome were ethnically homogeneous — thus showing the fundamental flaw in assuming they were all Israelites.
From here, we’d like to show how Paul’s discourse in Romans 1-2 proves that he was addressing non-Israelites as well as Israelites in his epistle. In so doing, we will provide a general exposition of these chapters for anyone who merely wants to understand them — even outside the scope of the matter we seek to address.
PAUL — THE STUDENT OF RHETORIC
Paul himself was well versed in Hellenistic education. He did not merely learn to read and write in Greek — it seems as though Paul’s learning extended even to higher education within the Hellenistic curriculum. He quotes Greek authors multiple times in his writings and demonstrates a working knowledge of their philosophy. Moreover, Paul relied heavily on Platonic — or stoic — philosophy in his own writings.
Stoic philosophers believed in a concept called “logos” — a kind of anthropomorphic and spiritual reason which animated and guided the universe. By Paul’s time, we see that Judean philosopher’s had appropriated the idea — mostly notably Philo of Alexandria who had formulated a frighteningly accurate picture of the Lord Jesus by combining the stoic logos with the Scripture — which he cited throughout his work.
In Colossians 1:15-17 Paul refers almost directly to this stoic concept,
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation: 16 for by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or rulers, or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
In Colossians 2:17 he uses the concept of shadows from Plato’s cave metaphor in book VII of Plato’s Republic — indicating that the “substance” or heavenly fulfillment belongs to the Lord Jesus. In 1 Corinthians 12 he uses the body analogy also found in Plato’s Protagoras (349c).
Moreover, we believe it reasonable to conclude that Paul also authored the epistle to the Hebrews — though we don’t tacitly presume it in most of our writing. The epistle itself is intensely Platonic, again referring directly to Plato’s cave allegory in Hebrews 8:5 and 10:1 — and His entire discourse on the priestly and temple ordinances makes use of the cave allegory.
Furthermore, when we consider Philo’s views already mentioned above — Hebrews 1-10 could just has well have been written by Philo himself in its adherence to contemporary Judean thought on the logos. In other words, Hebrews 1-10 was undeniably a discourse on the logos without actually mentioning the logos explicitly.
From this perspective, we even have extra-Biblical witness — not that it’s necessary — that the Lord Jesus is the independent, conscious and living manifestation of the Father’s will — and not the Father Himself. In this way, the concept of the logos — and the Scripture itself — is incompatible with both trinitarian and modalistic doctrines.
However, when John refers to the Logos/”Word” in John 1:1-3 — Peter uses a shadow allegory in 1 Peter 3:21 — and Paul makes extensive use of the same philosophy in his writings, we do not take this to mean that Greek philosophy was true. Rather, Greek philosophy was useful to understand existing Biblical concepts. Hebrews 8:4-5 says,
4 Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; 5 who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, “See,” He says, “that you make all things by the pattern which was shown to you on the mountain.”
Here we find the argument that Platonic thought predated Plato himself. In other words, Plato’s allegory of the cave was derivative of Moses’ original works — else the “pattern which was shown….on the mountain” would not have referred to any greater fulfillment. The advent of Platonic thought didn’t make Moses’ work refer to something else — rather, Platonic thought provided a useful allegory to understand Moses’ original intent.
We’d like to restate this point as a pre-emptive measure for any who may be tempted to accuse us of “inserting” philosophy into the Scripture: Platonic and stoic philosophy were useful aids in understanding divine, Scriptural truths established since before the foundation of the world. Furthermore, if Platonic and stoic philosophy came to any truth, they still fell short of the ultimate Truth — which is Christ Jesus.
Having shown Paul’s familiarity with Greek higher learning, we can return to the original point we wanted to make. The study of logic, rhetoric and grammar were heavily interwoven into Greek higher education. This was especially true of Platonic philosophy as Plato was a prolific writer on these subjects. If Paul relied heavily on Platonic philosophy, he would have been well versed on logic, rhetoric and grammar as well.
In other words, Paul would have been skilled in constructing coherent and sensible arguments (logic) which were carefully thought out to be as persuasive as possible (rhetoric). Essentially we contend that Paul did not need any help or extra context to make his point clear. We do not need to add extra context to somehow “help” Paul make his argument.
If we want to understand what Paul was saying, we need to pay specific attention to what he actually said — not what he didn’t say. Those who are confident in their arguments are very specific — they are intentionally not vague in anything they say. Likewise, we presume that Paul was never vague and that the sum-total of his words sufficed to convey the point he was trying to make. Paul was never trying to say something other than what his plain words meant.
For example, Christians who claim that the Romans were Israelites claim that in Romans 9 Paul’s “context” was the land of Judea which had been heavily infiltrated by Edomites — a view we have already addressed. They claim that Romans 9:13 proves this theory, even though Paul doesn’t mention any such thing. If they stuck to following Paul’s words and argument, they would realize that Romans 9:13 was one example of children of the promise — not a reference to some other context which Paul himself didn’t establish.
As we discussed in Part 2, the view that Romans were Israelites is upheld only by its own co-dependent assumptions. They have seen the whole New Testament through the lens of the assumption that ancient Judea was highly compromised by Edomite “non-whites”, despite the fact that the Scripture doesn’t mention that alleged context even once, as we have previously demonstrated in great detail.
These Christians apply the same logic to Paul’s epistle to the Romans — they presume Paul means something other than what he is saying — and that they — not Paul — need to establish the context of Paul’s words. In our own analysis of Paul’s writing, we will instead focus on what Paul actually said.
EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES
We will begin our analysis of Paul’s discourse — after his greeting and the statement of his purpose — in Romans 1:16-17,
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Judean first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written: “But the righteous one will live by faith.”
Here Paul begins his discourse essentially with a brief statement of his two-part thesis. Paul first describes the purpose of the gospel: “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Judean first and also to the Greek.” As we explained in Part 2, Peter said in Acts 10:43, “through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”
“Everyone who believes” — in Romans 1:16 and Acts 10:43 — means “not excluding anyone.” When Paul said “both to Greeks and to the uncultured” (Romans 1:14), he accounted for the Hellenized and non-Hellenized world. That is to say, not everyone who is a “Greek” in this context necessarily hails from Greece itself. The term was used as a catch-all to describe those who lived within the Greek culture which had begun to spread across the known world since the time of Alexander the Great.
The word “Judean” was rather similar to “Greek” — those who hailed from the Roman province Judea or those who expressed Judean culture in their lives were referred to as “Judeans.” However, we have provided very objective definitions of these words from the perspective of the Hellenized world. In other words, this is how a Greek would view Greeks and Judeans.
On the other hand, how would a Judean view Greeks and Judeans? This is a very important question because the New Testament writers were Judeans — not Greeks. When we consider how these terms are used in their writings, we do not ever find one instance where an Israelite according to the flesh is referred to as a Greek. Neither do we find one instance where a non-Israelite is referred to as a Judean. Yes, we may find such instances outside of the Bible, but certainly not from within the Bible.
Within the Bible, we find the word “Judean” means either Israelites according to the flesh in general — or Israelites according to the flesh living in Judea — as opposed to say, the Galileans. We find the word “Greek” merely refers to Hellenized Genesis 10 nations. “Uncultured” would refer to Genesis 10 nations who had not been Hellenized.
If we adopt this simple view of what “Judeans” and “Greeks” means within the context of Biblical writings, we do not need to add to Paul’s context or make any more assumptions than we need to. Using Occam’s razor, we can assume Paul’s meaning is self-evident — and that his audience would have found it self-evident as well. If we were to assume a “Greek” could be an Israelite according to the flesh, we’d be making an assumption which we cannot prove from the writings — and by extension the meaning and understanding — of the New Testament authors.
Paul created a distinction when he said, “to the Judean first and also to the Greek” — distinguishing between the Israelites and Hellenized nations in the audience of his epistle. When we combine Greeks, the uncultured (Romans 1:14), and Judeans, we account for the entire ancient white, Adamic world — summed up in the phrase, “everyone who believes.” (Acts 10:43, Romans 1:16)
If Paul were referring only to Israelites in this epistle — as those who claim only Israelites will be saved believe — then he sure did a poor job of making it clear to his audience. From their perspective, Paul’s words were insufficient to convey “what he really meant” — and that without their extra explanation no one could ever have understood Paul’s epistle to the Romans in the first place.
If Paul’s words were not good enough to convey his meaning — and that we may receive that meaning only by the special context they will add to Paul’s words — without being able to prove their case from within the Scripture — they tacitly presume that they are the sole arbiters of Paul’s meaning. In a sense, they take on the same role as the Catholic priesthood which insisted that they needed to interpret the Bible for their Christian congregations — because they weren’t “trained” to do so on their own.
Now surely it goes without saying that if Paul was talking to non-Israeltes — or Greeks — and he was highlighting their need for the gospel, then the epistle to the Romans could fundamentally never prove that only Israelites are saved — or that all Romans are Israelites.
Then Paul gives the second part of his thesis — the gospel and the righteousness of God are accessed through the personal faith of the believer. In other words Paul’s thesis states:
- The gospel is for everyone
- The gospel is accessed by personal faith (We will this second part of Paul’s thesis in Part 4)
Paul said in Romans 1:16 that the gospel is the “power of salvation,” but the power of salvation from what?
NO EXCUSES FOR THE NATIONS
Paul continues in Romans 1:18-19,
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
Recall how Paul said that we have the righteousness of God if we live by faith (Romans 1:17). Now he explains why we needed salvation through faith and righteousness — because “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” In other words, without the gospel of righteousness through faith we will suffer the wrath of God.
Paul said that the gospel was for “everyone who believes” — proving that everyone needs the gospel for salvation from the wrath of God. How is it that despite not knowing the nations (Amos 3:2) — God is still justified in bringing His wrath on them? Furthermore, Paul specifically qualifies the subjects of that wrath by saying, “all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people.”
We consider that “people” would mean all pure descendants of Adam and Eve. Therefore, God’s wrath is coming against everyone — and as such, Paul’s argument addresses everyone. What we propose here is a basic reading comprehension — and many of our readers might think it strange that we point it out. We wouldn’t begrudge them because the fact that we need to point it out highlights the extent to which those who believe only Israelites are saved must disregard such basic comprehension of “everyone.”
Now we need Paul to explain to us how the nations — who don’t know God — could possibly “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”
To justify his argument so far, Paul makes a bold claim: “because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.” Here we begin to see the allusion to that witness which God left the Genesis 10 nations according to Acts 14:17. Somehow God made His ways evident to everyone, despite not explicitly having known them or commanded them — just like God left a witness to the nations — taking care of them — by giving them “rains from heaven and fruitful seasons” (Acts 14:17).
Therefore, if we combine Romans 1:19 and Acts 14:17, we can see that God subtly made Himself known to the Genesis 10 nations both by caring for them and by making His righteousness known to them.
Paul begins by saying that God made “that which is known about God… evident within them” — and that “God made it evident to them.” (Romans 1:19) In other words, God made Himself known to them in some other way than giving them the Law as He did with the Israelites. Now Paul needs to explain to us how God would make that known. He says in Romans 1:20,
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
This statement would have greatly appealed to anyone even remotely familiar with Plato, Aristotle or stoicism. In fact, the statement is remarkably neutral across each of the three philosophical frameworks. Each believed that objective truth could indeed be found just by looking at reality itself.
However, Solomon had already “invented” this “philosophy” when he wrote Proverbs 8 — and he referred to the phenomenon of God’s ways being evident in creation as “wisdom.” Verse 22, 30 & 36 say,
22 The Lord created me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old… 30 Then I was beside Him, as a master workman; And I was His delight daily, Rejoicing always before Him… 36 But one who sins against me injures himself; All those who hate me love death.
1 In the beginning was the Word [Logos], and the Word [Logos] was with God, and the Word [Logos] was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being.
Let us compare these aspects:
- The Lord Jesus is the “firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15) through whom “all things have been created” (Colossians 1:16) in whom “all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).
- The Lord Jesus is the Logos in the beginning with God (John 1:1-2), through Whom “all things came into being” (John 1:3).
- Wisdom was “at the beginning of His way” (Proverbs 8:22), who was the “master workman” of creation (Proverbs 8:30) and gave wisdom and instruction to those who listened (Proverbs 8:33).
We understand now that the Lord Jesus is the Ultimate Truth which Plato, Aristotle and the stoics sought after. In this way, in the cases where Paul refers to these concepts to an audience who was already open to them, he was not at all accommodating them with philosophy. On the contrary, he showed them how primitive their philosophy was — despite them having looked in the right direction.
Furthermore, the likes of Moses and Solomon were centuries ahead of Plato in their reasoning.
Now in Romans 1:20 Paul sets an explicit timeline: “since the creation of the world.” In other words, everything Paul is about to explain started at the very creation of the world — long before the Israelites became a people. In terms of chronology alone, this includes every single Adamic person since Adam and Eve. This supports the idea that Paul is addressing everyone — all descendants of Adam and Eve — Israelites and non-Israelites — in the most unqualified manner possible.
Then Paul says that within this well-defined timeline, “His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made.” He explains that God’s nature may be fundamentally understood in the very manner in which He created the world. Just by looking at creation we can perceive what is right and wrong.
If we could perceive right and wrong in the very nature of creation — and if it has been this way since the world was created — then “they are without excuse.” We take “they” to mean “people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18) — and everyone who existed “since the creation of the world” (Romans 1:20).
If God’s invisible attributes have been known since creation — and we are all a part of creation — then everyone of the “generations of Adam” must know God’s invisible attributes. Therefore, all Adamic people individually are candidates for “people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” Furthermore, no one has any excuse — whether they have the Law or not.
To make matters worse, the Hellenized world already reasoned this way — they already believed they should adhere to a certain way of living based on the divine truth’s attributes revealed within creation itself. Thus they are doubly without excuse — and Paul has beaten them at their own game.
Thus Paul has reconciled the paradox of Amos 3:2 — God is justified in punishing the non-Israelite nations because despite not having known them — His attributes were still known to them within the creation itself — despite them not being aware of His existence.
HOW THE NATIONS FAILED
Paul continues in Romans 1:21,
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their reasonings, and their senseless hearts were darkened.
Now Paul explains that through God’s invisible attributes evident within creation itself, the nations actually “knew God.” Despite implicitly knowing Him, they did not honor Him as God or give Him thanks. Paul qualifies what it means to honor God and to give thanks to Him by providing the opposite: “they become futile in their reasonings, and their senseless hearts were darkened.”
In other words, if only they could have reasoned correctly according to what they saw in God’s creation, they might have honored God and given Him thanks by that very same reasoning. In Acts 17:23-28, Paul says in his sermon in Athens on Mars hill,
23 For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything that is in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made by hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might feel around for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His descendants.’
Paul tells the Athenians — who are non-Israelites from Javan (Genesis 10:2, Daniel 8:21, Daniel 10:20, Daniel 11:2) — that they were attempting to worship the One True God despite being ignorant of Him (v23). Furthermore, they might have been able to seek God if only perhaps they might have felt around for Him (v27) — just as Proverbs 8:17 says of wisdom, “those who diligently seek me will find me.”
For example, the Roman Cornelius in Acts 10 was one such an example where a non-Israelite sought God and actually found Him. The angel said to him, “Your prayers and charitable gifts have ascended as a memorial offering before God.” (Acts 10:4)
Paul then quotes Epimenides poem Cretica — where Minos says to Zeus, “For in you we live and move and have our being.” Then he goes on to quote Aratus’ poem Phaenomena when he says, “For we also are His descendants.” Minos was speaking to Zeus in the quote — thus when Paul said “for we also are His descendants,” he was referring to Zeus. Likewise, the line from Phaenomena was also explicitly referring to Zeus.
However, Paul was not trying to validate their belief in Zeus — rather, he confirmed when they felt for God in ignorance, they came to a counterfeit — Zeus — who was their failed attempt at finding God. This interpretation is more sure in the fact that Paul started his sermon based off of the altar which said, “TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.” Paul conflated their unknown god as well as Zeus with failed attempts at finding the One True God.
In this example from Acts 17 we want to highlight that Paul believed the Genesis 10 nations had a legitimate chance to “feel around for” God and even “find Him” — and as a result they would be judged in righteousness. Between Acts 17 and Romans 1 he shows the same pattern in logic.
Back in Romans 1:22-23 Paul says,
22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and they exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible mankind, of birds, four-footed animals, and crawling creatures.
Yes, they did not honor God or give Him thanks, so they became futile in their reasoning while their senseless hearts were darkened. They failed to find God, so they became fools. They exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image — just like Paul began his sermon to the Athenians by saying, “I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship.” (Acts 17:23)
Paul truly believes that the nations have no excuse — and he finds witness of that in the objects of their worship — their failed attempts at finding Him. If Paul’s plain words in Romans 1 weren’t enough to convince someone, we find Acts 17:23-28 a smoking gun for our interpretation of Paul’s words in Romans 1. However, there is another smoking gun elsewhere — Ephesians 4:17-19,
17 So I say this, and affirm in the Lord, that you are to no longer walk just as the nations also walk, in the futility of their minds, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves up to indecent behavior for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.
Here Paul uses the exact same logic as he used in Romans 1 and Acts 17 in a critique to the Genesis 10 nations. Even those who believe only Israelites are saved will concede that Acts 17 and Ephesians 4:17-19 refers to Genesis 10 nations.
Paul blames the nations — that is all non-Israelites — for their own evil. He says again that they are ignorant due to the hardness of their own hearts — and as such they have given themselves up to evil. With all of this in mind, we can be sure that in Romans 1 Paul executed a well-reasoned argument to prove to the nations that they have no excuse for their evil. If they have no excuse, then they desperately need the gospel, just as Paul said as part of his sermon to the Athenians in Acts 17:29-31,
29 Therefore, since we are the descendants of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by human skill and thought. 30 So having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now proclaiming to mankind that all people everywhere are to repent, 31 because He has set a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all people by raising Him from the dead.”
He tells them that “all people everywhere are to repent” (Acts 17:30/Romans 1:16) — meaning absolutely everyone — because “He has set a day on which He will judge the world” (Acts 17:31/Romans 1:18). Their ignorance finds its material form in the images which they created by their own skill and thought. As such, they failed — despite God being evident in creation itself — and all people everywhere — not just Israelites — must actively repent.
They must repent of their images and their ignorance — which darken their minds into sin and depravity — because God will judge the world in His righteousness — the antithesis of sin and depravity.
If they find themselves ignorant and depraved in God’s judgement — despite God willing to overlook the times of ignorance — then His righteousness will consume them like “the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.” (Hebrews 10:27)
In order to set precedent, the Lord said of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18:20, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.” Peter went on to say that the event was an “example of what is coming for the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:6) and happened so as “to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment” (2 Peter 2:9).
If Sodom and Gomorrah was an example — and they are kept under punishment for the final day of judgment — and if Sodom and Gomorrah never received the law — then we should not be surprised that Paul considered the nations to be accountable for their own sin. Furthermore, Lot was a witness to their unrighteousness in that Peter tells us Lot “felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds” (2 Peter 2:8).
In Jonah 1:2 the Lord says, “Arise, go to Nineveh, the great city, and cry out against it, because their wickedness has come up before Me.” Nineveh belonged to the Assyrians — who come from Asshur son of Shem (Genesis 10:22). Despite not being Israelites, the Lord considered them to be wicked and even sent an Israelite prophet — likely from the tribe of Zebulun (Jonah 1:1, 2 Kings 14:25, Joshua 19:13) — for the express purpose of warning them away from their evil. When they repented, “God relented of the disaster which He had declared He would bring on them.” (Jonah 3:10)
Furthermore, Jonah was a witness to the unrighteousness of Nineveh in that the Lord told him, “cry out against it, because their wickedness has come up before Me.” Yet we find that it is no longer mere towns and cities which must repent or be judged, but rather “He will judge the world in righteousness” (Acts 17:31). Paul tells them the entire Hellenized world will be judged.
This time it will not be Jonah or Lot who stand as witness against non-Israelites, but rather it will be “a Man whom He has appointed” (Acts 17:31) — the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord said that “just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.” (Luke 11:30) Furthermore — Luke 11:32,
The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
Yes, the men of Nineveh will be at the final judgement despite not being Israelites — because just as Paul said, “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). Therefore, when Paul tells them who their judge is — the “Man who He has appointed” — he is preaching the gospel of repentance and forgiveness in Christ to the Athenians — just as Jonah preached a gospel of repentance to the Ninevites.
24 Therefore God gave them up to vile impurity in the lusts of their hearts, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for falsehood, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
Paul writes “therefore” to show his Roman audience that what follows in his argument was a direct consequence of his premises. They became fools and turned to idol worship despite God’s truth being evidence within creation itself. Therefore, God gave them up to their own lusts. Paul says in Ephesians 4:19 that the nations became “callous, [having] given themselves up to indecent behavior for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.”
In verse 25 Paul recaps — or summarizes — his point. They exchanged the truth of God — which was evident within creation itself — for falsehood. Furthermore, they turned to idols — worshiping the creature rather than the Creator. In Colossians 3:5 Paul said that “greed….amounts to idolatry.” In other words, when we are greedy we engage in idolatry of ourselves. No wonder Paul said in Ephesians 4:19, “every kind of impurity with greediness.”
When we are greedy and live lives of materialism — hoping for our imagined kind of material lives — we live in ignorance and impurity with greediness. We worship the creatures — ourselves — rather than the Creator — so we take our seat in the temple of God, displaying ourselves as being God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).
Moreover, the Hellenized world used to worship their gods purely because of the material benefit they thought they would get from that worship. Christianity had moved past that idea in the New Covenant, looking forward to the heavenly city — just like Abraham our forerunner did (Hebrews 11:16) — even at the expense of worldly material gain.
PAUL’S EXAMPLE OF SIN
26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged natural relations for that which is contrary to nature, 27 and likewise the men, too, abandoned natural relations with women and burned in their desire toward one another, males with males committing shameful acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
Now Paul furnishes his argument with a practical example — and confirms our interpretation of the argument itself. Paul speaks of behavior which was “contrary to nature” and which “abandoned natural relations.” Paul is talking about sin which should have been obvious to them because when they committed that sin, they abandoned what was natural within their own bodies. In other words, God made something obvious to them in the very way He created their bodies, but they chose to ignore it.
As we explained previously, according to Amos 3:1-2 God knew the Israelites by bringing them out of Egypt and giving them His Law in the wilderness. If God “knows” only Israelites, then all Israelites must necessarily have received the Law. If a people have not received the Law, then God did not “know” them like He knew Israel — therefore, they are not Israelites.
Paul addresses this subset of the Roman community in a way which presumes they have never heard the Law of God on homosexuality. If them having no excuse was based on something other than having heard the Law, then Paul implies that God had not previously known them. If God had not previously know them, then they definitely were not Israelites.
Those who claim that only Israelites will be saved will also claim that the Romans were Israelites who never received the Law. As we discussed in Part 1, they claim that the original founders of Rome were supposedly children of Judah who left their family before Jacob moved into Egypt. But if they never came out of Egypt or received the Law in the wilderness, then according to Amos 3:1-2 God didn’t know them. This proves two things:
- There is no sensible argument that any Israelite left the community prior to the Exodus events.
- The way in which Paul addresses homosexuality with the Roman community — assuming they had not received the Law — proves that they could not all be Israelites.
Despite what many have attempted to claim to the contrary, we know that Paul was definitely speaking against homosexuality. Female and male genitalia do not serve any purpose in homosexual function — on a biological level they do not fit with one another. Furthermore, Paul says that homosexuals receive due penalty within their own persons. There are myriad resources all over the internet attesting to the many health risks associated with homosexuality.
By the time Paul wrote his epistle, gonorrhea and herpes were widespread in Rome — to the point where emperor Tiberius was said to have banned kissing to curb the spread. The Romans experienced this disease differently however, as they didn’t have any effective treatment whatsoever — so they suffered the full brunt of the disease leading to many deaths.
Nature itself shows that homosexuality is wrong — and that much is obvious to anyone — even the ancients. They should not have needed the Law of Moses to tell that it was wrong. The very nature of creation showed them what they should not have been doing — if only their eyes could see it. Furthermore, stoic philosophers wrote extensively on the apparent implications of sexual dimorphism — providing witness to their own knowledge of God’s attributes within creation.
As a quick side-note, we can conclude by the same standard that “race-mixing” is wrong — and that is evident within creation itself. Merely judging from the “civilizations” they have created, non-whites look and act very differently from whites to the extent that we can conclude they are not the same kind as us. When the Greeks began to come into contact with blacks, Diodorus Siculus wrote some time between 60 and 30BC,
The majority of them, and especially those who dwell along the river, are black in colour and have flat noses and woolly hair. As for their spirit they are entirely savage and display the nature of a wild beast, not so much, however, in their temper as in their ways of living; for they are squalid all over their bodies, they keep their nails very long like the wild beasts, and are as far removed as possible from human kindness to one another; and speaking as they do with a shrill voice and cultivating none of the practices of civilized life as these are found among the rest of mankind, they present a striking contrast when considered in the light of our own customs.Historical Library, volume 2, book 3, chapter 8
Blacks look very different from white people — and no amount of whites breeding with one another will ever create a black. That’s exactly how the Greeks could have found them and noticed their black skin, flat noses and woolly hair — just like we do today. Blacks do not have the same intellect as white people, explaining the vast technological gap between black and white societies. Blacks also demonstrate an entirely different temperament from white people. Whites may exhibit evil behavior through their greed; however, blacks seem to revel in cruelty for its own sake.
To some degree, the same can be said for any of the non-whites we have come into contact with.
Not only that — fulfilling all of Paul’s standards — white people also receive due penalty for the error of breeding with non-whites. For example, breeding with them brings down the average intellectual potential of the whole. Mixing with them has wrought untold destruction upon white civilization — and has been one of the chief means of our destruction.
After being plunged into war with the bloodthirsty non-whites for more than a thousand years, we have ended up breeding ourselves out of existence with them.
Many of us in our lives have felt this truth within creation itself — and through its effects on society. Here Paul gives us a framework which ultimately affirms the feeling we have had — and sought answers for within the Scripture and elsewhere. Though most of society would probably disagree with our assessment of “race” within the context of Paul’s framework in Romans 1 — but we imagine most of Roman society would have disagreed with Paul using the same standard on homosexuality as well.
God made it evident in a multifaceted way that we are not the same kind as them — and we certainly shouldn’t be breeding with them. When whites have interbred with the native populations, the result has been countries like India and Mexico. As we already pointed out in Part 1 — merely being able to breed with something doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea to do so — just as the Canaanites were able to breed with the Rephaim giants in the land of Canaan. Even according to Leviticus 19:19 we are not even supposed to cross-breed different kinds of animals either — despite it being possible.
In the same way, just because men and women are able to engage in homosexual acts — or engage in any kind of counterfeit “sex” — doesn’t make that a good idea either. Likewise, just because a man is physically capable of sleeping with another man’s wife doesn’t make that a good idea. Ultimately, just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. What kind of world would we be in if everyone engaged in these behaviors?
But the evil mind of this age says, “I can, therefore I will!”
Back to Romans 1:28-31,
28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a depraved mind, to do those things that are not proper, 29 people having been filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, and evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unfeeling, and unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also approve of those who practice them.
Here we see Paul repeating himself:
- In verse 23 – 24 he said, “they exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image….therefore, God gave them up to vile impurity.”
- In verse 25 – 26 he said, “they exchanged the truth of God for falsehood….For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions.”
- In verse 28 he says, “just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a depraved mind.”
As such, Paul intentionally makes his point very clear: they should have acknowledged God — they didn’t acknowledge God — and as a result, God gave them over to their impurity. The knowledge of God evident in creation was not convenient for them. They tacitly say to God, “Go away from us! We do not even desire the knowledge of Your ways.” (Job 21:14)
Paul’s repetition serves as a convenient tracer through his argument. It affirms that when Paul addressed homosexuality in the Roman Christian community, he addressed it as an extension of his argument that the Genesis 10 nations were without excuse. In other words, after having shown them that they have no excuse, he made sure to tell his audience what they specifically had no excuse about — their homosexual behavior.
Now in verse 29 Paul said, “having been filled with” — and many Christians suppose that they were filled with Paul’s list of sins in verses 29-31 because they did not “acknowledge God.” However, that’s not the meaning the Greek text conveys. The translation we’ve used — along with many other translations — accurately renders it in the past perfect tense in English, “having been filled” — which is to say, “By that time they were already filled.”
Paul attributed those sins to them over and above their homosexuality — because by the time they were doing “those things that are not proper” (v28), they were already in a state of “having been filled” (v29) with the rest of the sins in verses 29-31. Thus while Paul was making a point using the example of homosexuality, he makes known to us that at the point when they fell into homosexuality, they had already fallen into all manner of sin.
The only moral incentive Hellenized pagans had to actually do good was that which society and its laws placed on them. The duty of their religious practice — and their veneration of the emperor — was merely to procure material benefit. Therefore, sin was lurking at their door (Genesis 4:7) — but in exchanging the truth of God for falsehood (Romans 1:25) they had not incentive to master it — so it overcame them — and “God gave them up to a depraved mind” (Romans 1:28).
Then in verse 32 Paul says that “they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worth of death.” Although Paul would agree that all sin incurs the death penalty (Romans 6:23), he was not referring to the sins of verses 29-31 by his statement in verse 32.
Again, that’s not to say he thinks some of them wouldn’t incur the death penalty in God’s judgement — yet we must consider where this fits in the flow of Paul’s argument. He said that men and women fell into unnatural relations (v26-27) — they were delivered into this mindset because they did not acknowledge God (v28) — and by that point they had already been filled with the sins of verses 29-31.
In other words, by verse 32 Paul is still talking about homosexuality. Verses 29-31 weren’t a jarring break from his example of homosexuality — rather, he provided his own context to augment his example. Paul is telling us that they also exhibit those behaviors by virtue of them already “having been filled” with them.
Furthermore, Paul could be talking only about homosexuality in verse 32 because he had already made a case for the fact that nations ought to have known it was wrong. Otherwise when he says, “they know the ordinance of God,” it would be unsubstantiated to make the claim about something like arrogance or boastfulness (v30). We assume Paul made that claim in verse 32 because he had already substantiated it in verses 26-28.
Therefore, when Paul said “they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death” — he was referring specifically to homosexuality. They knew this because homosexual behavior is “contrary to nature” — knowing the ordinance of God (v26) — and incurs “in their own persons the due penalty” (v27) of death from disease — making known to them they are worthy of death.
Then despite knowing these facts, they continue to practice them and approve of those who practice them.
NO PARTIALITY WITH GOD
1 Therefore you have no excuse, foolish person, everyone of you who passes judgment; for in that matter in which you judge someone else, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
Now many Christians assume that Paul has moved on to a new lesson or thought in Romans 2 — but on the contrary, he is continuing with the example of homosexuality. He says, “for you who judge practice the same things.” What “same things?” The same things he left off speaking about in Romans 1:32,
and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also approve of those who practice them.
Now we realize that the very same subjects in Romans 1:32 who condoned and practiced homosexuality also judge others for practicing homosexuality. In this day and age, we find it hard to imagine such hypocrisy — but this perfectly fits with ancient Rome’s views and laws on homosexuality.
In modern times the world has been bamboozled into believing that homosexuality could be an innate and exclusive sexual preference — as opposed to merely being a pursuit of physical pleasure gone awry. While the ancient Romans practiced homosexuality, they were far more “honest and pragmatic” about it. To them, only a man and woman could ever marry — for the purposes of producing children. Homosexual practice was purely something on the side for the sake of physical pleasure. In other words, by far most Roman men who practiced homosexuality did not see themselves as “homosexual.”
Furthermore, Roman law enforced a kind of bodily integrity on Roman citizens — male Roman citizens were allowed to play only the penetrating role in sexual activity — a Roman law called Lex Scantinia. A man using another man or woman for sexual pleasure was not considered taboo and did not compromise his masculinity — yet a man being used by another man was considered weak and effeminate. As such, males on the receiving end of homosexual activity were almost always slaves.
We feel that Paul’s meaning regarding hypocritical homosexual behavior is self-evident in what he said, so we do not offer this information to change the meaning in our analysis of Paul’s words. We could just as well have left it out and our argument would still carry itself with Paul’s words. However, from the perspective of our own cultural context, someone simultaneously practicing and condemning homosexual behavior does seem a little strange.
For this reason, people stumble over Paul’s plain meaning — so we offer this information to show that in that time, it wasn’t all that strange. In other words, we offer it to help our readers accept what Paul actually said.
Now we see how someone could “practice such things….do the same….[and] also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:32), yet it may also be said of them, “everyone of you who passes judgment; for in that matter in which you judge someone else, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.” (Romans 2:1) Roman men saw homosexual activity differently based on the role in the act. They would have judged a Roman citizen being penetrated while condoning a Roman citizen doing the penetrating.
Paul was telling them a very sober and obvious truth — homosexuality is homosexuality for all involved regardless of who performs which role in the act. Leviticus 20:13 says of homosexuality, “both of them have committed a detestable act.” To make things worse, they were likely judging with partiality between white men based on one’s citizenship.
2 And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. 3 But do you suppose this, you foolish person who passes judgment on those who practice such things, and yet does them as well, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and restraint and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who will repay each person according to his deeds:
Paul confirms that God does indeed judge those who practice homosexuality — but we should not conflate “judgment” with merely identifying sin. Judgment combines the identification of sin with punitive action — as Paul says God will “repay each person according to their deeds.” The payment for the deed is what makes it judgment.
According to the Law of Moses, the punitive judgement for homosexuality is death for both parties (Leviticus 20:13). Therefore, anyone who practices homosexuality — including the hypocrites Paul referred to — have incurred the death penalty upon themselves according to the Law. Now the nations were not given the Law — and some might object that the nations are not judged according to the Law as Paul says in Romans 5:13, “for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not counted against anyone when there is no law.”
Yet we must remember that until this point in Paul’s discourse, he has already argued that the nations have no excuse — because they knew the ordinance of God within nature itself. We will show as we proceed that Paul addresses this point again in Romans 2:12-16, but it will suffice for now to have demonstrated God’s standard of judgment against all involved in homosexual acts.
If someone deserves the punishment of death, then every waking moment they have on earth is kindness of God that leads to repentance (Romans 2:4). If these hypocritical homosexuals deserve the punishment of death — and continued in their acts of homosexuality — and as such they enjoy God’s mercy toward repentance — then who are they to mercilessly judge others who commit the same acts?
Paul then takes the punishment even further by telling them that they are “storing up wrath” for themselves. In other words, the wrath they incur upon themselves increases as they continue in their evil acts and hypocritical judgment in their “stubbornness and unrepentant heart” — probably taking it over and above mere punishment of death.
In Luke 12:47 — an epistle Paul no doubt had a heavy hand in — the Lord Jesus tells us that willful sin incurs greater punishment. If everyone without the Lord Jesus will die anyway, we presume that greater torments will be dealt out before the ultimate and eternal death. Hence why absolutely everyone will be resurrected for the final judgement (Revelation 20:12).
7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, He will give eternal life; 8 but to those who are self-serving and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, He will give wrath and indignation. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of mankind who does evil, for the Judean first and also for the Greek, 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who does what is good, to the Judean first and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no partiality with God.
Here Paul essentially summarizes the overarching point. In Romans 1:20 he said that the nations have “no excuse” because God’s attributes are evident within creation. In Romans 2:1 he said that homosexual hypocrites especially had “no excuse” — because they even saw fit to judge those who did the same things as they did themselves.
Paul follows up on his statements about God’s judgment in Romans 2:1-6 by concisely explaining God’s intention toward those who do evil — yet he adds God’s intention toward those who do good as well. He had to add in God’s intention toward those who do good because of the point he has been making since Romans 1:16, “…the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Judean first and also to the Greek.” As we explained earlier, this was his first thesis — everyone needs salvation.
Up until this point Paul has satisfactorily demonstrated that the nations do indeed need salvation — and if they were to accept his gospel of faith (Romans 1:17), they would strive “in doing good” (Romans 2:7). Paul then ties off his argument to the nations — with a rather neat structure — by using the same wording he began his rhetoric with: “to the Judean first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 2:9&10) In other words, Paul began his rhetoric with the intention to prove that there is indeed no partiality with God — between the Israelites and non-Israelite Genesis 10 nations. Now that he has proven it, he reiterates the plain words of his thesis.
There is no partiality with God and the nations are just as much under punishment as Israel. Therefore, the nations need the Lord Jesus and salvation just as much as Israel.
12 For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; 13 for it is not the hearers of the Law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the Law who will be justified.
Recall how we mentioned Romans 5:13, “for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not counted against anyone when there is no law.” Many Christians incorrectly conflate the Law and sin — they think they are the same thing. However Paul also says, “Is the Law sin? Far from it!” (Romans 7:7) As we have explained previously, the Law contains a set of punitive judgments for sin — and shows us what sin is. If the Law were to disappear, sin would still exist — we would merely not have codified description and judgment for that sin.
After all, God’s “invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20) They might not have had the Law — but whether they knew Leviticus 20:13 or not — they knew the punishment for homosexuality is death. In Romans 2:12, Paul essentially tells us that it doesn’t matter whether or not one has heard the Law — because they are without excuse — and the penalty is death.
Thus Paul says, “all who have sinned without the Law” (Romans 2:12) — meaning that they may still sin even though they don’t have the Law. It’s just that sin is “not counted when there is no law” (Romans 5:13) — because the standard — or Law — by which we count sin against someone in punitive judgement is not present. Yet unconditionally, “the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)
In Romans 2:13 Paul makes sure to solidify our understanding of his conclusion by wording it from the logically opposite direction than in Romans 2:12. In other words, it doesn’t matter whether or not one has not heard the Law — because the one who actually does the Law will be righteous and justified before God.
Consider that Amos 3:2 says, “You [Israel] only have I known among all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your wrongdoing.” God knew Israel by taking them out of Egypt and giving them the Law — therefore, Israel would be punished according to the Law. But Paul said, “all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law” (Romans 2:12) and “nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses” (Romans 5:14).
Therefore, we can emphatically conclude that Amos 3:2 cannot be used to prove that only Israelites would inherit salvation. Furthermore, we can conclude that Paul himself would disagree with that doctrine — and Romans 1 and 2 serves as a rebuttal from Paul to those who hold to that doctrine. We find then that if Paul were alive today — even as he lives on in his writings — those who believe only Israelites will be saved would find themselves under severe fire from Paul himself.
14 For when nations who do not have the Law instinctively perform the requirements of the Law, these, though not having the Law, are a law to themselves 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience testifying and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of mankind through Christ Jesus.
Those who believe Romans are Israelites will argue that Paul is quoting Jeremiah 31:33 which says,
“For this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord: “I will put My law within them and write it on their heart; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
We would agree so far.
But they take it one step further and argue that if the covenant was made only with “the house of Israel,” then Romans 2:14 could be referring only to Israelites. In jumping to this conclusion, however, they have missed a few important points.
Firstly — as we have explained elsewhere in more detail, nothing in Jeremiah 31:33 precludes the New Covenant being made with a people who are not the house of Israel. Yes, the New Covenant was indeed made with the house of Israel — but the prophecy does not say that it would not be made with anyone else either. The only meaning we should logically extract from Jeremiah 31:33 is that:
- God promised that He would definitely make the New Covenant with the House of Israel and write the Law on their hearts
- If one were a recipient of the New Covenant, they would definitely have the Law on their hearts
Secondly, Psalm 40:8 says, “I delight to do Your will, my God; Your Law is within my heart.” Having the Law on one’s heart necessarily means doing the will of God. 1 John 3:4 says that “everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” Verse 7 says that “the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.”
Recall how Paul said that “it is not the hearers of the Law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the Law who will be justified.” (Romans 2:13). According to Paul, being a doer of the Law makes one righteous before — and justified by — God. If one is a doer of the Law according to Paul, then according to John, they do not practice sin, because sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4) — meaning that they do practice righteousness (1 John 3:7).
Paul and John’s understanding of righteousness were exactly aligned.
Therefore, being a recipient of the New Covenant means actually practicing sinlessness, righteousness and the will of God. If one does not practice those things, then that person has no right to claim they are a recipient of the New Covenant. Most Christians who believe that Romans are Israelites also believe that they themselves are Israelites — and that all Israelites are saved — being recipients of the New Covenant — regardless of whether they practice sin or not.
We would then ask: How is it that one could claim to be an Israelite if they practice unrighteousness? By their own admission in using the argument they do, they freely admit that anyone who does practice unrighteousness — possibly even themselves — are definitely not Israelites.
We do not merely use this argument as some kind of hyperbole — we freely admit that only those who have the Law on their hearts — along with all the logical implications we discussed — may ever claim to be an Israelites. Furthermore, any non-Israelite from the Genesis 10 nations who wishes to partake of the New Covenant must exhibit the same righteousness — and submit to the same standard.
Thirdly, if Paul was referring to Jeremiah 31:33 and the New Covenant, then it logically follows that the statement has a very specific time constraint. In other words, the New Covenant was made only after the death of the Lord Jesus — therefore, in Romans 2:15 Paul was referring only to people after the Lord Jesus. This is an important distinction — because those who argue that Romans are Israelites say that the Romans always practiced the Law by nature because they are Israelites by nature. Thus, their own logic requires that the New Covenant to be in effect before the death of Christ Jesus.
Fourthly — in Paul’s discourse, he did not tell any of his audience that they actually had the Law written on their hearts. He described a hypothetical state — and taught them — that “when” the nations do keep the Law by nature, then — and only then — do they have the Law written on their hearts.
Let us recap these three points:
- Just because God made the New Covenant with “the house of Israel,” does not preclude Him from making the covenant with non-Israelites as well.
- If one were a recipient of the New Covenant, then that person must necessarily demonstrate the Law “within them” and “on their heart” by the righteousness of their deeds.
- If Paul quoted Jeremiah 31:33, then he could have been referring only to a timeline in which the New Covenant was in effect.
- Paul was admonishing them to have the Law written on their hearts — he was not telling them they did already have the Law written on their hearts.
So what does this all mean for the audience of Paul’s epistle to the Romans? The first point shows us that quoting Jeremiah 31:33 does not necessarily mean Paul’s audience are all Israelites.
The second point shows us that Paul is actually admonishing his audience — he is giving them a kind of ultimatum. Whether they have the Law or not, they must practice the Law — else they do not show the Law written on their hearts according to the New Covenant. If they were recipients of the New Covenant, then they would practice righteousness.
By extension — if they wish to display these things, then any who are guilty must cease from their hypocritical and homosexual behavior. If they fail, they will be judged by God through Christ — who will use the very secrets of their hearts as a testimony against them (Romans 2:15-16).
The third point shows us that Paul is talking only about people in Rome who are alive during the time of the New Covenant — after the Lord Jesus’ death.
The fourth point shows us that in Paul’s discourse he is not making any comment or judgment on the state of anyone’s heart — rather, he is admonishing them to actually demonstrate the Law written on their hearts. That is not to say none of them had the Law on their hearts. From that perspective — at the very least, we can conclude with certainty that some or all of Paul’s audience certainly did not have the Law written on their hearts — else Paul would have no need to admonish them.
Ultimately Paul proves that the nations — or non-Israelites — have no excuse, and they will be judged regardless of whether they received the Law or not. They will be judged according to what they should have known — according to the evidence of God’s attributes apparent in creation itself — and according to the very intentions of their hearts. If they do not keep the Law — despite not having received the Law — then they will nevertheless perish without the Law.
If they had never received the Law in the first place, then they were not present in the Exodus events where God gave Israel the Law. Thus Paul tacitly proves the Romans could not all have been Israelites because he presumed neither they nor their ancestors had received the Law. If they had not received the Law, then according to Amos 3:1-2 they could not possibly be Israelites.
As such, nothing in Romans 1-2 “proves” that the Romans were Israelites. On the contrary, Romans 1-2 proves there must have been a significant portion of non-Israelites in the Roman Christian community whom Paul addresses.
From there — in Romans 2:17-29 — Paul proves that the Judeans have no excuse either. He uses the same criteria — we must be doers of the Law — when he tells the Israelites, “You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?” (Romans 2:23) Moreover, “we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God” (Romans 3:19).
“All the world” by definition cannot exclude non-Israelites — therefore, “both Judeans [Israelites] and Greeks [Hellenized non-Israelites] are all under sin” (Romans 3:9) — “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) — and “God has shut up all in disobedience, so that He may show mercy to all.” (Romans 11:32) He “has confined everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” (Galatians 3:22)
If “all the world” has “become accountable to God” — and “all have sinned” — and if God “has shut up all in disobedience” — then the gospel “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Judean first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16) In other words, all of Noah’s descendants need the gospel — whether they had received the Law or not.