Verses 13-15 are parenthetical. Therefore, we will cover verses 12 and 16, which actually go together.
Self-righteous unbelievers are represented by Jews living under the Law of Moses. Jewish self-righteous unbelievers are just as guilty before the justice of God with the Law as Gentile unbelievers are without the Law. For all who is the Greek word “gar,” which is used as an explanatory conjunction to illustrate the principle of the previous verse, along with “hosos,” which is used to indicate Gentile reversionistic unbelievers.
Have sinned is the Greek word “hamartano,” which means to miss the mark. Without the Law can also be translated “having no law.” Will also perish is the Greek words “kai” plus “apollumi,” which mean to ruin, to be ruined, to destroy or to be destroyed. The future tense is used for a statement of fact which may be rightfully expected under conditions of unbeliever reversionism. The reality which is expected is the justice of God judging unbeliever reversionists, both Jews and Gentiles, and sending them to the Lake of Fire.
And all who have sinned uses the Greek conjunction “kai” to complete the conclusion (as many as) and the plural Greek adjective “hosos” to indicate self-righteous unbeliever reversionists, illustrated by the Jews under the Mosaic law. The Jews that are represented here are ones who were very strong in the Law, were taught the Law from childhood in great detail and went through all of the ritual of the Law. The principle is building righteousness on someone else’s righteousness and maintaining righteousness from arrogance rather than from the principles of divine establishment. So, distortion of the Law into a system of legalism causes self-righteous snobbery to be a substitute for character, and self-righteous unbelievers are just as much sinners as any other category of sinners.
Have sinned is the Greek word “haramano” means to miss the mark. It refers specifically to Jewish unbelievers who fail to keep the Law, but are using the Law in an attempt to merit salvation. Under the Law is the Greek word “nomsos,” referring to the Mosaic Law. Will be judged is the Greek word “krino,” which refers to the justice of God judging the self-righteousness both in time and eternity. By the Law means that the perfect standard of the Law judges (shows) self-righteous unbelievers to be sinners. The purpose of the Law was to demonstrate to unbelievers their need for salvation and to bring them to Christ.
Sin is anything contrary to the character of God, or acting independently of God and His provision. Sin is coming short of God’s righteousness. The doctrine of sin in theology is called Hamartiology. (Romans 3:23) The penalty of sin, spiritual death, is replaced by the provision of spiritual life for anyone who believes in Christ. (Romans 6:23)
There are three categories of sin: 1) Imputed sin means that God credits to every person Adam’s original sin. This means that everyone is condemned at birth. (1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 3:23b, 5:1) 2) Inherent sin means that when Adam sinned, he acquired a sin nature. Therefore, the sin nature was brought into existence by Adam. The human race receives the sin nature through physical birth by means of their father. (Psalms 51:5) Every believer retains the sin nature after salvation. Therefore, Adam became a sinner and was saved through grace just as any other member of the human race. 3) Personal sin is a manifestation and result of having a sin nature. There are two kinds of personal sins: known sins and unknown sins (sins we commit in ignorance). (I John 1:9)
All three categories of sin were dealt with at the Cross when Jesus Christ was judged by God the Father for sin. It is Christ Who secures forever our relationship with God and provides the potential for a new birth for every human being. It is still a matter of personal volition (free will) whether a person chooses to believe in Christ or whether a person rejects Christ. God does not force anyone to believe in Christ.
On the Cross Jesus died twice. First, He died spiritually as the full and complete payment for the sin of all mankind. Because the penalty for sin is spiritual death or separation from God, someone had to pay this penalty. Only a perfect, sinless person could have accomplished this on the behalf of another. Jesus Christ, having no sin of His own to pay for, accomplished this on the Cross. Christ had to have the ability to pay, the willingness to pay and had to be related to the person for whom He was paying the penalty. This had to be done in order to meet the requirements of the “Kinsman Redeemer” under Jewish law. Remember that Christ fulfilled the Law perfectly (even in His death). (Romans 6:23; Leviticus 25:27, 48; Jeremiah 50:34; Matthew 5:17)
Christ’s second death on the Cross was physical. He rose again to conquer physical death. Since we are in union with Christ, we too will conquer physical death. When Christ was raised from the dead, He became the “firstfruits” of all believers. This means that He was the first to receive a resurrection body and we will also receive a resurrection body because of our relationship with Him. (I Corinthians 15:12-20, 51-57)
On the day when is the Greek word “hemera,” for day. Sometimes the word “day” refers to 24 hours, sometimes to a thousand years (the day of the Lord) and sometimes to an instant of time (the day of Christ, the Rapture). In this case, it refers to the period of time when the Great White Throne Judgment takes place. We are not told how long this judgment takes, but we do know it involves millions of unbelievers from all dispensations.
According to my gospel is the Greek words “kata” plus “euangelion,” which mean good news according to a norm or standard. In this case, the norm and standard is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that Paul has been preaching. This is why Paul refers to it as “my Gospel.”
God will judge is the Greek present active tense of “krino.” The present tense is a futuristic present, it denotes an event which has not yet occurred but because it is so certain to come to pass, it is put in the present tense instead of the future. It means that this judgment will come at a time when the Lord Jesus Christ will judge everyone who has rejected Him.
The secrets of men, uses the Greek word “kruptos” for secrets, which means inwardly hidden. Note that sins are not mentioned. Sins were already judged at the Cross. Human good works will be judged and found to come short of the righteousness necessary to enter Heaven.
Through Jesus Christ refers to the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Judge. Not only will Jesus Christ judge unbelievers at the Great White Throne, He will also judge believers at the Judgment Seat of Christ. All judgment has been given to Jesus Christ by God the Father. (John 5:22; II Timothy 4:8)
John, in Revelation 20:11-15, saw the throne of God which he described as a “great white throne.” For this reason, the judgment of unbelievers is called The Great White Throne Judgment. The verses in this passage let us know that this judgment is for unbelievers only from all dispensations. Several books are opened, revealing the works of the unbelievers. The Book of Life will also be opened, revealing the fact that no one is justified by his good works. (Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 3:5, 13, 8; 21:27) At death, the bodies of unbelievers go into the grave and their souls go into Hades. (Luke 16:19-31) At the resurrection of the unbelieving dead, unbelievers receive a body of some kind (John 5:28-29; Matthew 18:8-9) and their souls join their bodies to appear at the Great White Throne Judgment. (Revelation 20:11-15)
Jesus Christ is the unique Person of the universe. He is the only Person in history to be both fully God and fully man. The term for this unique union is the Hypostatic Union and is derived from the Greek word “hupostatis” meaning essence. In the case of Christ His essence is both divine and human in one Person, forever. He is the God-Man. (Hebrews 1:3)
Christ was born of a virgin. Therefore, He was born without a sin nature. Christ remained free from the three categories of sin: the sin nature, Adam’s original sin and personal sins. Without a sin nature, Adam’s original sin could not be imputed to Christ since it had no home or target as it does with the rest of humanity. Therefore, the first two categories of sin were already taken care of when He was born. Christ was born physically and spiritually alive, whereas, we are born physically alive but spiritually dead (separated from God). (Romans 6:12)
Christ is superior to man because He is God and because He is a sinless human being. He is the only way to God because He is the only Person qualified to be a substitute and mediator for all of us. Even though His two natures are united in one Person, they retain their separate identities. The attributes of one do not belong to the other. Deity remains deity and humanity remains humanity. Because of this unique union, the Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect mediator between God and man. He is the only One in history qualified to go to the Cross and pay the penalty for sin. Christ was also our prototype, in that He lived an impeccable (sinless) life under the power and control of God the Holy Spirit. (I Timothy 2:5)
We must remember that Jesus Christ is coequal and coeternal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. He voluntarily subordinated Himself to the Father’s plan of salvation. This means He also deprived Himself of the exercise of His divine attributes. At no time did Christ “empty Himself” of His deity. He was never less than God. He simply restricted the use of His divine attributes voluntarily. (Colossians 2:9)
Jesus, as a human being, is seated at the right hand of the Father at this very moment. Deity is omnipresent and does not sit; only His humanity sits. And it is His humanity that will return to earth at the Second Coming. Theologically, we say that Jesus is undiminished deity and true humanity in One Person forever. He is undiminished deity, in that He is as much God as the Father and the Holy Spirit in essence, attributes and character. He is true humanity, in that He possesses a body, a soul and a spirit. Jesus Christ is God’s perfect standard of righteousness. (Acts 5:31; Hebrews 1:3, 4:15,10:5; I Peter 2:24; Matthew 26:38; Mark 2:8; Luke 23:46; I John 3:3)