Paul wrote to the Romans an epistle that told them that the righteousness of God was found through faith in Jesus Christ, and not through living a life obedient to the law to obtain righteousness, which was the way they had been practicing. Specifically in 2:6-11, Paul told the Romans that God would repay them for the works that they had done. If they had lived a perfect life by doing good deeds, they would be granted eternal life. If they had not lived perfect lives, but instead selfishly disobeyed the law, “He will inflict wrath and anger” (v.8) on them. Paul wanted the Romans to be aware that none of them had lived, or could live, a perfect life through the law. Paul ended this passage by telling the Romans that God was not partial between the Jews or Gentiles.
The preceding passage to 2:6-11 speaks directly to 2:11. Paul informed the Romans that although they believed that those that followed the law were above those who did not follow the law, they were in fact no better than those they judged, as the Romans were passing judgment onto others, which was not living according to the law. Paul wrote, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” (2:1) The Romans believed they could receive God’s righteousness through the law by being obedient, but Paul showed them in Romans 2 that righteousness could not be obtained through the law, because they were not perfect, and all of them had sinned against God, regardless of being a Jew, Greek, or Gentile. As Paul told them in 2:11, God was not partial because everyone had sinned against Him.
Paul continued in chapter 2 to show that those who trusted in the law would continue to fall short of God’s righteousness. Paul showed the Romans in 2:21-23 that, “you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?” (Romans 2:21-23) Paul wrote to the Romans in 2:6-11 so they would know that no one could live a perfect, God-honoring life through the law, as he showed before and after this passage. The entire epistle is about the righteousness of God, and Paul told the Romans in chapter 3 that God’s righteousness could only be received through faith in Jesus Christ. The law was important to the Romans as it helped them to “become conscious of [their] sin” (3:20), but what Paul told them was that the law would not lead them to righteousness. Instead, faith in Christ led them to God’s righteousness, and the law was a guide to help the Romans to stay close to Christ Jesus.