Summary: If we want to please people then we'll tell people what they want to hear. We'll try to creatively interpret the Bible, so that they can do what they want in their bedrooms and with their sex life and yet still feel good about themselves.
You can summarize the first two chapters of Romans this way: In the first chapter Paul says that people who do bad things are sinners. A lot of Christians can read the first chapter of Romans and feel pretty good about themselves. We'll say something like, "well, at least I'm not a murderer." Or, "I don't gossip...a lot..." There are something like 22 sins listed in this chapter. Christian people tend to be loving, kind and generous people; they certainly are not God haters. So for us, Paul writes Romans chapter 2. In this chapter Paul teaches that good people are sinners, too.
The Bible is a two-edged sword that cuts the heart and convicts us of sin, and Romans chapter two gives the blade it's sharpest edge. Verse 16 is especially killer, "And this is the message I proclaim—that the day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone’s secret life." This means that we all have a problem. A sin problem and we are completely dependent on Jesus Christ for our eternal life.
Paul hits us hard in the first couple of chapters. While most Christian people may be able to feel OK about themselves after reading Romans one, there are a lot of other folks who can't get past this first chapter without getting upset with God and with the Bible. A lot of people want God to stay out of their bedrooms and their sex life, but, God doesn't. The first chapter of Romans makes that very clear. So people who want to live for themselves will do what they have always done and ignore God and Paul calls these people, "God haters."
But followers and believers do find it difficult to read through Romans two, especially verse 16, so Paul doesn't make a lot of friends in the first two chapters. But let's not lose sight of what we're being taught, even if it might be hard to hear, Romans 2 teaches us these two things.
God loves you so much He has told you how you can go to Heaven. Romans 2:7
If Satan had his way, no one would go to heaven. But evil doesn't win. The best way to interpret the Bible is to read the words of Jesus first, and then apply his teaching to what the rest of the New Testament says. So where does Jesus teach what Paul is saying here in Romans chapter 2, "He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers". Jesus said, "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." Jesus said that if you want to go to heaven you need to follow Him. He said, "if you love me, you'll obey me." Paul is confirming what Jesus has already taught. Jesus said, "love God more than anything else and love others."
God shows us what real benevolence is. He shows us what true love is. When we obey Jesus we are living for Him. God shows us and tells us how to live so we can go to heaven. But every person has to make the choice if they will live for Jesus or for themselves. For those of us who claim to follow Jesus, this may be a tough thing to hear; if we teach others what Jesus says and yet don't live the same way, we are exposed as hypocrites.
I'm not talking about being perfect either. Did your mom or dad ever tell you, "Do what I say not what I do?" Maybe, you've said something similar, like, "Because I said so!" Why do parents make statements like these? Because they're not perfect people. A teenager once shared with me that he routinely drank alcohol from his dad's stash. I scheduled a visit with both the teen and his dad so we could have a conversation about it. His dad was obviously upset, but, DUH, he left half consumed bottles of alcohol all over the kitchen. This was a classic case of a father wanting his son to do what he said, but, not what he did. He bought a safe.
We might judge this dad and we should to some degree, I mean how dumb is it to leave alcohol around with a teenager in the house? But, we also need to understand that we are just like this IF we share the Good news of Jesus and fail to follow His teaching of loving God and serving others. Teenagers hate it when their parents tell them to NOT do something that they do themselves. Sometimes it's understandable. I make my kids go to bed earlier than I do, because they're teenagers and they need a lot of sleep. I watch what I want to watch on TV because I pay for the cable. My kids tell me I'm being selfish. I tell them when they can pay for the cable, then I'll let them watch what they want to. You get what I'm saying.