Unlimited: Where There is No Law
Sep 15, 2022 688
but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law (Romans 5:13b).
Having stated that sin was in the world before the giving of the law on Mt Sinai, Paul now says that where there is no law, sin isn’t charged against anyone’s account. So obviously, God’s law must have existed before Sinai, because God held people guilty of sin.
Paul has already argued in chapter 2 that even the pagans, who didn’t have the knowledge of the written law that the Jews had, still had the benefit of God’s general revelation through nature and the conscience, and in this way this became a law to them. However, the patriarchs and ancient Israel were in a much better position than the Gentiles, because they had received God’s direct revelation.
Where there is no law, sin isn’t charged against anyone’s account.
Approximately two months after Moses led Israel out of Egypt God gave them his law in written form, which he wrote with his own finger on tablets of stone and gave them to Moses on Mount Sinai. However, it is clear that the patriarchs in the generations before had also known of God’s law. There are many examples of this. Notably, many hundreds of years before Sinai, the Lord said of Abraham that he,
obeyed Me and fulfilled his duty to Me, and kept My commandments, My statutes, and My laws (Gen. 26:5, NASB.)
At the most fundamental level, we all have some understanding of right and wrong through our conscience. We also have the clear word of Scripture. How have these worked together in your life? Which one has priority in your life?