What happens to people who never hear the Gospel?


All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. Romans 2:12-16
            This section of verses of Romans 2 gives us insight into what happens to those who never hear about Jesus.  Paul says that people who sin but never hear the law will die separated from the law but those who hear and know the law and yet sin, will be judged by the law.  Those who hear and obey are considered righteous. 
            The Gentiles (non-Jews) will be judged by a different standard because they never heard the law.  They will judged by how they responded to their nature, the default righteousness on their hearts that knows wrong, such as killing and stealing. All cultures know right and wrong but if they willfully reject right and do wrong, they will be judged on that standard, not the standard of accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  That wouldn’t be fair if they never heard about Jesus.
            When everyone is judged by God, their secret motivations will be revealed.  Those we heard the Gospel and accepted/rejected Jesus will be judged by that standard.  Those who never heard about Jesus and consciously accepted/rejected right or wrong will by judged by that standard.