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Particulars of Christianity:
304 Redemption


Preliminary Study: Gentiles and the Law
Are Gentiles Condemned by the Law that was Given to the Jews?

Preliminary Study: Gentiles and the Law
Intro: How Jesus' Death Redeemed Us
The Removal of Condemnation (Part 1)
The Removal of Condemnation (Part 2)
The Introduction of Obedience and Regeneration
Deliverance from the Carnal Mind



It is certainly true that the Law of Moses was given only to the Jews. Historically speaking, in order to be accurate we must understand that this Law was not enacted with the Gentile nations. The Gentiles had made no covenant with God to keep the Law of Moses and God had made no covenant with the Gentiles that was contingent upon their keeping of the Law of Moses. These events occurred only for the Jews.

With this in mind, it is obvious why and how the Jews needed Christ's atoning work. As the people who were in covenant to keep the Law of Moses and given the fact that no one had kept the Law perfectly, they were in need of redemption from the consequences of that Law, specifically the consequence of death.

However, unlike the Jews, the Gentiles had no covenant with God under which they were condemned to death if they violated it. Since the Gentiles were not in covenant to keep the Law, why were the Gentiles in need of redemption? The Jews were in need of redemption from the consequences of breaking the Law. But what were the Gentiles in need of redemption from?

The Jews understood that death was the divinely required outcome for sin and that sin was the transgression of the Law. If sin is the transgression of the Law, then how were the Gentiles sinning given the fact that they had not received a Law from God? And having not received a Law as the Jews had, why were the Gentiles condemned by God to die?

These are all very intriguing and fundamental questions. Generally speaking, Christians handle these issues by placing all people Gentile and Jew alike under the Law to the extent that we are all condemned to death in accordance with the Law's definitions of sin and its consequences for sin. And while this general application of the Law to the Gentiles may be correct in the end, it is necessary to understand how and why that is the case. Or more specifically, is it the case that Gentiles are condemned to death in accordance with the Law given to the Jews? And if that is the case, given the fact that the Mosaic Law was not given to the Gentiles, why or how is this true?

We will now turn our attention to answering these questions and developing a thorough Biblical understanding of how this issue works.

Our purpose in this article will be to demonstrate the following premise. Sin is properly defined as any deviation from Godís declared standards and requirements. As such, since God is righteous, he must judge any deviation from his declared standards. And since God is just, he must separate himself from unrighteousness and He must also take steps to prevent the continuation or spread of unrighteousness and to bring unrighteousness to an end (although the degree to which he take such steps is suited for particular periods of history as his plan unfolds). For this reason, God condemns those who deviate from his standards to separation from him, which is spiritual death and, God also condemns human beings to physical death as well. In this way he does both judge and destroy deviation from his righteousness.

What is the Law of Moses? The Law of Moses is a covenant containing a formal, monumental, and rather exhaustive declaration of Godís standards, particularly in the form of a human national government. Conversely, the Law is also the written revelation of the consequences for deviation from God's declared standards. However, the Law is not the first declaration of Godís standards as we will see in this study. Therefore, the Law does not invent sin by inventing a standard that previously did not exist. Rather, the Law becomes the written revelation of sin so that all mankind would be able to know what sin is by means of the written explanation and evidence that was the Law of Moses.

So, even though the Law of Moses came only to the Jews and the Gentiles were not in covenant to obey the Law of Moses, the Law of Moses revealed to the Gentiles what the standard of God was and what the consequence for deviation was. In other words, the Law of Moses made plain to all men what it was that all men were condemned for. The Gentile may not have the Law, but now that a standard had been formally declared, the Gentiles would know what it was that they were condemned for. In this way, even though the Gentiles were not under covenant to keep the Law or receive its punishments, the Law of Moses does, in fact, become the documentation against the Gentiles as well, because it reveals to the whole world what was sinful in God's eyes and what the whole world was condemned for in the first place.

Before the Law of Moses was given, these things were made plain in nature, but nowhere were these things clearly spelled-out or revealed in concrete, written form. And so, the Law was given to make first the Jew and then also the Gentile aware of what the standard of God was, aware that no man could keep that standard, aware of the consequences for deviation from that standard, and aware of our need for redemption by sacrifice. All of this we intend to demonstrate from the scripture.

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

In Romans 1, Paul begins to layout the case of condemnation against all men. He begins here in verse 18, by speaking of all mankind in general, which is to say the Gentile nations.

Here we arrive at the first question. If sin is the transgression of the Law, then how will Paul be able to condemn the Gentiles who had received no Law? How will Paul be able to condemn men who lived before the Mosaic Law was given?

In verses 18-20, Paul begins to answer this question and explain how it is that all mankind has been condemned, both Gentile and Jew alike. In verse 18, Paul declares that, "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness." And verse 19 similarly states that God showed to men all the things that could be known about him? But when did God show men these things? How did he show them? When was God's judgment of unrighteousness revealed? How was it revealed?

Verse 20 finally answers these questions. What is Paul's evidence of this revelation of God's judgment of unrighteousness? Not the Law. Rather, Paul says that the judgment of unrighteousness was revealed and understood from the beginning of the world in the visible created world itself. And we know this is Paul's meaning because he says that because of visible creation, all men are without excuse. Without excuse for what? Simple, all men are without excuse for their sinful behavior because God's judgment of unrighteousness was made clearly visible and was even understood from the beginning in the creation itself, even without the Law.

Paul's assertion that these things were not only revealed but also understood from the beginning is significant because it tells us that they were understood before the Law of Moses. For the Law of Moses wasn't given at the beginning. The Law of Moses did not arrive until thousands of years after the beginning. This also tells us that Paul is talking about non-Jews at this point, for he is talking about a point in time before Abraham and before the Law. So, Paul is effectively explaining the condemnation against those who had not received the Law of Moses. For this reason, we will use the term "Gentile" from this point forward to refer to those people who are not in covenant with God and did not receive the Law of Moses, (whether those people lived before Abraham and the Law or afterward.)

And the fact that all men understood right and wrong from the visible creation becomes a fundamental premise in the rest of Paul's case against the whole of mankind, Gentiles and Jews alike. Let's continue with Paul's case against the Gentiles.

Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Notice how fundamental it is to Paul's case that men understood God's judgment of unrighteousness from the beginning. In verse 21, Paul says that men "knew" God. How did men know God back then without a Law and without Christ? Paul has already said in verse 19. They knew God because the "that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them." So, men knew God because "the invisible things" of God "even his eternal power and Godhead" as well as his "wrath" and, therefore, his judgment of unrighteousness were "clearly seen" in the visible things of creation. So, it is of paramount importance to Paul's argument that God's judgment of unrighteousness was known from the beginning of the world and understood by mankind from the visible creation BEFORE the Law of Moses was ever given.

That Paul indeed meant that men knew God and understood his judgments against unrighteousness before the Law from the beginning is further necessitated by his statements in verse 21 and 25 that "their foolish heart was darkened" and that they "changed the truth of God into a lie." These phrases by Paul require that from the beginning mankind knew God's standard of righteousness and unrighteousness. Only if they had light to begin with could their hearts be darkened. Only if they beheld the truth of God could they change it into a lie. For those who had no light to begin with cannot grow dark. And those who did not have truth to begin with cannot turn to a lie.

In fact, this is how Joseph knew that it was wrong to commit adultery with his master's wife in Genesis 39, over four hundred years before Moses and the Law.

Genesis 39:7 And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me 8 But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; 9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?

It was not that the 10 Commandments existed eternally or were given prior to Moses as the Seventh Day Adventists and others claim. No, as Paul says in Romans 1, it was because God's judgment against unrighteousness was revealed in the visible creation from the very beginning. Thus, according to Paul all men, including Joseph, knew and understood right and wrong, even before the Law of Moses came to spell out in written detail all that God's righteousness required.

Romans 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

1 Corinthians 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

Paul's understanding that God's judgment against unrighteousness was revealed from the beginning in the visible world is no doubt why he appealed to nature in Romans 1:16 in the phrase "against nature." Likewise, it is probably why when writing to the Gentile Christians at Corinth, Paul also appeals to what nature teaches them. Paul certainly thought that the visible world itself revealed God's judgments to men against unrighteousness.

And Paul continues even more explicitly in verse 28-31.

Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

In verse 28, Paul repeats his statements from verse 21 and 25. In verse 28, Paul clearly declares that from the beginning men understood God in their knowledge but they did not retain that knowledge. Instead, they exchanged it for a lie and their minds became darkened.

And having made a reference to God's wrath and judgment of unrighteousness in general in verse 18, Paul now spells out the specific acts that mankind knew God had judged as unrighteous even before the Law was given.

Romans 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

Notice the things on this list. Many of them would later become part of the 10 Commandments. But even before the 10 Commandments were given, God's wrath against fornication, covetousness, murder, deceit, and disobeying parents were all understood by men from the beginning of the world. According to Paul in verses 18-20 God's judgment against such things was clearly seen in the visible created world.

Romans 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. 1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

Verse 32 is remarkable. According to Paul in verses 18-20, God's wrath against unrighteousness was revealed from the beginning before the Law and understood by all men. Notice that right after listing in verses 29-31 all the unrighteous activities that men performed, in verse 32, Paul declares that not only did men do these things, but they also "knew the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death." So, according to verse 32, men not only knew from the beginning what activities God judged as unrighteous, but they also knew that the penalty for such behaviors was death. Therefore, even before the Law was given, God had already revealed to men in visible creation what words, thoughts, and deeds were unrighteous and that the punishment for those things was death. And Paul's mention of God's judgment unto death in verse 32 is critical because it tells us what judgment Paul is talking about when he mentions judgment again in the opening verses of chapter 2. He is not talking about the judgments of the Law, but the judgments revealed from the beginning of the world in the visible creation.

In chapter 2:1, Paul concludes, "Therefore thou are inexcusable, O man." The inclusion of the word "therefore" indicates that Paul is basing this statement upon the evidence he has just presented in the previous verses. Thus, Paul is saying that men are without excuse because they performed such acts as fornication, coveting, murder, deceit, and disobedience to parents knowing from the beginning that God judged such things as unrighteous and that the penalty for them was death. This phrase in chapter 2:1 is actually a repetition of Paul's opening remarks in chapter 1:20 where he states that men are condemned because of what was clearly visible about God in creation.

Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

But Paul continues.

Romans 2:2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. 3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

In both verses 2 and 3, Paul refers to the judgment of God. But what judgment is he talking about? Is he talking about the Law? Of course not. Paul has not mentioned the Law in the preceding verses. Instead, Paul has been talking about God's judgment of unrighteousness that has been "clearly seen" since the beginning in the created world. It is that judgment and not the Law that Paul is here referring to. It is that judgment and not the Law that Paul is here explaining all men cannot escape from.

So, according to Paul, the Gentiles (those who have no covenant with God and did not receive the Law of Moses) are condemned by the fact that those same sins were revealed as unrighteous by God since the beginning of the world, before the Law was given.

Romans 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

Verses 12-15 are even clearer. In verse 14, Paul states that, "the Gentiles, which have not the law" are "a law unto themselves." But how are they a law unto themselves? Verse 15 explains. Those who did not receive the Law are a law unto themselves because "the work of the law" is "written in their hearts." In short, even though the Gentiles did not receive the Law, the same things written on the Law are already known to the Gentiles. And where did they get this knowledge of God's judgments against unrighteousness? They received this knowledge from the fact that God's judgments of unrighteousness have been "clearly seen" in the created world from the beginning. Therefore, the things contained in the Law were also known in the hearts of the Gentiles who did not receive the Law.

So what then is the function of the Law given the fact that the things revealed in the Law were known already by those who did not receive the Law and were revealed in the created world since the beginning? The purpose of the Law was to codify and spell out in writing and in detail the things revealed in creation from the beginning and known already in the hearts of those who did not have the Law. Therefore, both the Gentiles and the Jews are condemned according to the words of the Law because the Law itself was simply the written revelation of what God had already revealed and made known to men by the visible creation since the beginning. Thus, for both the Gentiles and the Jews, the Law is the list of grievances for which we are all, Jew and Gentile, condemned.

Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

Even though the Gentiles did not receive the Law, the Law is still the list of grievances against the Gentiles as well because the Law simply spelled out the following sins and requirements that were ALREADY made known by visible creation and applied to the Gentiles:

Romans 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

Therefore, since the Law was a formal, written declaration of sin reflecting judgments that were already known to the Gentiles from nature itself, both Jews and Gentiles can look to the Law of Moses as the list of grievances for which we are condemned. Because the Mosaic Law simply spelled out the offenses that the Gentiles were already condemned for and already knew without the Law, Jesus had to remove the Law in order to free both Jews and Gentiles from the penalty that was also spelled out in the Law although known before the Law. By removing the Law, Jesus is able to enact a new Law in which righteousness is not based not upon perfect obedience to the standard of God but upon faith in Jesus' atoning work.

The Law then becomes the illustration and written declaration of truths that were not spelled out or written down but were universally binding upon all men and known in the hearts of men, even those who had not received the Law of Moses. Those truths were: 1) Certain acts were sinful, 2) That death was the punishment for such acts, and 3) That sacrifice was necessary to redeem men from their sinfulness.

The fact that it was known before the Law that animal sacrifices were needed to redeem men to God is evidenced by the following passages.

Genesis 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons...21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

In Genesis 3:7, as a result of their sin Adam and Eve realized that they were naked. So they make clothes for themselves from plant leaves. This was sufficient to clothe them in the sense of merely hiding their bodies. Yet in verse 21 we find that God himself kills an animal (or animals) and makes clothes for Adam and Eve from the skins. This is the first hint that mankind's sin would require death and blood to "cover us."

But beyond this type of early and perhaps metaphorical illustration from God, we find the following accounts.

Genesis 12:2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of...8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

Now, of course God told Abraham to offer Isaac as an offering, but notice that Abraham is not confused as to what an offering is. He was already well aware of the notion of giving an offering to God. In fact, Abraham was already acquainted with the pre-existing notion of using "a lamb for a burnt offering." Where did Abraham get that idea? How did Abraham become acquainted with the idea of sacrificing an animal as a way of appeasing or pleasing God?

Well, this understanding had been around since the time of Cain and Abel.

Genesis 4:3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

Now, prior to Cain and Abel, the only record we have of killing animals as part of an arrangement between God and man comes from Genesis 3:21 in which God gave Adam and Eve animal skins to cover their nakedness and shame after having sinned. Although the Bible is perhaps less explicit about how Cain and Abel knew this practice of offering fruits and animals to God to appease and please him. But we know from the Bible that the notion of offering fruit of the harvest and lambs to God was understood from the beginning, from the days of Cain and Abel, long before such things were codified in the Law. It was so well known that Abraham was accustomed to it. And so was Jacob, as the next verse reveals.

Genesis 31:54 Then Jacob offered sacrifice upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount.

What is interesting about Genesis 31:54 is that prior to this verse the word "offering" was used as in the cases of Cain, Abel, and Abraham. But here the word "sacrifice" appears. The definition for this Hebrew word is found below.

02077 zebach {zeh'-bakh}
from 02076; TWOT - 525a; n m
AV - sacrifice 155, offerings 6, offer 1; 162
1) sacrifice
1a) sacrifices of righteousness
1b) sacrifices of strife
1c) sacrifices to dead things
1d) the covenant sacrifice
1e) the passover
1f) annual sacrifice
1g) thank offering

So, although we may not be able to say with all certainty how this understanding was revealed to them, we can clearly see that the idea of killing an animal to make reconciliation with God was already known in the times of Genesis hundreds (even thousands) of years before the Law of Moses. So, we can conclude that the requirement of sacrifices in the Law was not a new invention of the Law either. Instead, just as Paul explained in Romans 1 and 2 that sins and the punishment for sin were revealed plainly from the beginning in the visible creation, we can also see that the need for a sacrifice to redeem mankind from sin was also known from the beginning long before the Law. The Law, therefore, was simply the written declaration of these things. It was not their origination.

And the sacrificial death of Christ Jesus removed not only the Law but it also answered all these things that the Law was merely the written declaration of. So, when we say that Christ removed the Law for both Jews and Gentiles, we are simply talking about the fact that the Law was the most pronounced and explicit declaration of the standards and requirements that existed from the beginning for both Jews and Gentiles alike long before the Law of Moses was given (and in fact, long before there were even Jews.) The Law simply makes it easier for us to understand and explain why men are condemned and what took place on the cross that redeemed us from that condemnation. This was, in fact, part of the purpose of the Law.

In conclusion, Paul writes the following in chapter 3.

Romans 3:9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Here in chapter 3:9, Paul states his conclusion that he has proved both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin. This then also demonstrates that the passages we examined in depth from Romans 1:18-2:15 was meant by Paul as his explanation and proof for why the Gentiles were condemned even though they had not received the Law as the Jews had.

Paul goes on to state the following.

Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

We should note that the word for "world" in this verse is the Greek word "kosmos" (Strong's No. 2889), which is defined as follows.

2889 kosmos {kos'-mos}
probably from the base of 2865; TDNT - 3:868,459; n m
AV - world 186, adorning 1; 187
1) an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government
2) ornament, decoration, adornment, i.e. the arrangement of the stars, 'the heavenly hosts', as the ornament of the heavens. 1 Pet. 3:3
3) the world, the universe
4) the circle of the earth, the earth
5) the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family
6) the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God,

Notice that this word "kosmos" implies specifically the Gentiles and not just the Jews. It refers to the world at large in general and not simply to God's people. Therefore, it is interesting to note that while Paul begins by saying that the words of the Law apply to those to whom the Law was given, he concludes by saying that the result of the Law was to make all mankind guilty. If the Law applies only to the Jews to whom it was given, then how can the result be that all men are made guilty by it, even those who were Gentiles and not Jews?

The answer is simple. The Law made the Gentiles guilty because, although they had no excuse before, there was now a written and declared code explaining right and wrong as well as the standards and requirements of God. The Law then was given to the Jews but it was a declaration to all mankind of sin, of death, and of the need for sacrifice for redemption. The Law was a written declaration given to the Jews of things declared in creation from the beginning that applied to all men. And because the standards and requirements in the Law were already decreed upon all men, those standards and requirements in the Law did not apply only to the Jews but to all men, even those who had not received it.

Furthermore, it was the job of the Jews to proclaim it among the nations so that all men would know the standard even if they did not see it in the natural world (and to preserve it for future generations).

Consider the following passage as evidence that the Jews understood that the Law of Moses was supposed to be made known unto the Gentile nations.

Acts 15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. 6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter...13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me...19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

In this passage, some of the Jews who were turning to Christ after the ascension were arguing that the Gentile converts were required to keep the Law of Moses. So, the apostles come together to decide this matter. During the discussion, James begins to speak. James' conclusion is that the Gentiles should not be required to keep the Law of Moses. But what reason does he give for this? In verse 21, he tells us. The reason that James did not think that the Gentiles should be required to keep the Law of Moses is because the Law of Moses had been preached in every city from the "old time."

Now, what does the fact that Moses had been preached in every city have to do with the Gentiles keeping the Law? The answer is simple. James is arguing that Moses had been preached in every city so that the Gentiles were now aware of what was contained in it. The purpose of the Law of Moses as a declaration of God's standards and requirements to the Gentiles had been fulfilled. (Not that this was the only purpose of the Law.) James knew that the Law was supposed to be preached to the Gentiles so that they would be made aware of God's standards and requirements. In fact, James understood that this had been sufficiently accomplished "in every city" since ancient times to the extent that it was no longer necessary to assert the Law among the Gentiles.

So, then, God gave the standards and requirement, which had been known since the beginning of the world, to the Jews exclusively in written form as the Law of Moses. And part of the Jews' responsibility was to preach that Law among the Gentiles, so that the Gentiles too would know God's standards and requirements. This, James concludes, had been sufficiently accomplished by the time of Christ.

And the sacrificial death of Christ Jesus removed not only the Law but it also answered all these things that the Law was merely the written declaration of. So, when we say that Christ redeemed mankind by removing the Law for both Jews and Gentiles, this is an accurate statement for the following reasons:

1) Because the Law was merely the formal, written declaration of things God had already revealed in the visible creation to all men. As such the condemnation in the Law was not exclusive to the Jews even though the Jews were the only ones to receive the Law.

2) Because even the Jews understood that the Law was supposed to be proclaimed among the Gentiles so that the Gentiles would understand their guilt before God, sin, the punishment of death, and the need for sacrificial atonement and redemption. This understanding is evidenced by both James in Acts 15:21 and Paul in Romans 3:19.

Thus, when Christ removed the Law of Moses, he likewise answered and removed all the things revealed by God before the Law since the Law was simply the formal expression of those things in written form and greater detail. This is why men have always died even before the Law of Moses and why men were counted as sinners even before the Law of Moses was given. Simply put, the requirements and judgments of God existed before the Law and were revealed in creation. They were just not written down or declared outright and in detail as they were in the Law. The Law did not invent the idea of sin or the standard that made something sinful. The uniqueness of the Law was that it was the declaration of these pre-existing judgments in detail, in written form, and in the form of a civil code of government over a specific nation. But the contents of the Law concerning sin, death, and sacrifice were true for all men including Gentiles even though the Law of Moses had not been given to them.

So, when Christ satisfied the requirements of the Law, his sacrifice redeemed all men, even those who had not by covenant received the Law of Moses because those requirements in the Law of Moses were a written and formal declaration of the requirements that had applied to all men since the beginning of the world.

Now, as a matter of clarification, we do not mean to indicate that those who lived before the flood, before Abraham, and before the Law was given through Moses were condemned by the Mosaic Law. For, they did not have the Mosaic Law in their day, so they could not be condemned according to what was revealed in it.

Romans 4:15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.

Romans 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

However, despite the fact that there was no Law, Romans 5:13 tells us plainly that sin was still in the world. It also tells us that God still enforced the punishment of death because of sin prior to the Law. So, why then does John define sin as the transgression of the Law? And if sin is the transgression of the Law, how could there be sin when there was no Law?

Simple. Since the Law is the formal expression of the judgments God had revealed against unrighteousness in the visible world, once the Law came, sin was defined as a transgression of it. In short, sin is defined as a transgression of the Law only AFTER the Law had been given. And the fact that Romans 5 says that sin was still in the world before the Law and that death also reigned before the Law tells us that before the Law sin was defined by the judgments God had revealed against unrighteousness in the visible world. Paul not only tells us which activities were revealed as sinful before the Law, but he also tells us that it was revealed that death was the punishment for such offenses.

Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

It should also be noted that the Gentiles were not condemned for their failure to practice feast days or sabbaths since these had not been revealed in the visible world. God told the Jews that keeping the Sabbath was the token of this covenant between Him and them.

Exodus 31:14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. 16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.

Paul is very clear about what judgments God revealed to men in the visible world before the Law. It was the moral judgments against the items mentioned in Romans 1:28-32 that God had revealed, not the ceremonial or civil aspects of the Law of Moses. Gentiles were not condemned in accordance with the ceremonial or civil aspects of the Law. Gentiles were condemned in accordance with the moral judgments, that according to Paul, God had clearly revealed in the visible world and those moral judgments were formally declared in even explicit detail in the Law. So, by removing the Law, which was a formal explicit declaration of such things, Jesus also freed the Gentiles from these judgments as well.

In conclusion, those who lived, and sinned, and died before the Law was given were condemned, not by the Law, but by the judgments that had already been revealed to them in the visible world. Likewise, those Gentiles who lived after the Law were condemned in the same way, not in accordance with the Law but in accordance with God's prior revelations in the visible world. However, when we speak of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, we can accurately say that by removing the Law he redeems both Jews and Gentiles because since the Law was the formal expression of God's judgments, we know that Jesus also removed the judgments that came before the Law and were codified by the Law. Thus, rather than restating all of this when speaking of how the redemption works, we can simply and accurately say that Jesus removes the Law.

And there is one last note on a related issue that we should make on this topic before closing. As we have seen, Paul taught in Romans 1 and 2 that mankind "knew God" (v. 21) before the Law was given through the things revealed in the visible world. He also taught that "their foolish hearts were darkened" (v. 21) because "they did not like to retain God in their knowledge," (v. 28). So, we can start to see from this how important it is to God and to us that we maintain the knowledge of God that has previously been revealed. If we show disregard for what God has previously revealed and do not do what it takes to retain that prior revelation then we are in danger of having our hearts darkened as well.

Let us establish this Biblical trend further.

Genesis 18:17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

Notice that Genesis 18 tells us at least part of the reason why God chose Abraham. Note that verse 19 begins with the word "For," which indicates that in verse 19 God is giving the reason for the things he has spoken of in verse 18. In other words, according to God, Abraham will become a great nation and through him the nations of the earth will be blessed because he will command his children after him to keep the way of the LORD and God's judgments. And notice the word "that" in the phrase "that the LORD may bring upon Abraham." The use of the word "that" here again connects this statement with the preceding statement. Thus, verse 19 is saying that God's fulfilling his promises to Abraham comes about because of the fact that Abraham will command his children after him to keep the way of the LORD. In other words, God knew that Abraham and his family would retain the knowledge of God.

And the following passages demonstrate just how much Abraham did just that.

Genesis 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth... 5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. 6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

Here in Genesis 9, God tells Noah and his sons that if any man sheds the blood of another, God will require it of him. Now, look what Reuben and Joseph's brothers said when concerning their plot to get rid of Joseph.

Genesis 37:22 And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, and lay no hand upon him; that he might rid him out of their hands, to deliver him to his father again.

Genesis 42:22 And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required.

Reuben and Joseph and their brothers were Abraham's great grandchildren. Yet we clearly see that Reuben was aware of God's command to Noah after the flood. Reuben knew that God had told Noah not to shed a man's blood. And Reuben knew that if any man shed another man's blood, even his brother's blood, God would require it of him. This is why Reuben first tells his brothers not to shed Joseph's blood and then, thinking their actions led to Joseph's death, he acknowledges that Joseph's blood would be required of them. These are the exact words spoken to Noah. And yet Abraham passed them on to Isaac, and Isaac to Jacob (Israel), and Jacob to Reuben and his brothers. Even if they were not all abiding by it, the knowledge of God and his judgments was being retained and passed on from one generation to the next in this family.

Then, as we have seen, in Romans 1 and 2 Paul talks about how the Gentiles did not retain such knowledge but their hearts became darkened. But could the same failure to retain the knowledge of God and his judgments occur in the Church?

Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. 17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

Notice the remarkable similarity between Ephesians 4:13-18 and Romans 1:18-32. In Romans 1 and 2, Paul is discussing the condemnation of the Gentiles. In Ephesians 4, we know from the use of the phrase "other Gentiles" that Paul is here speaking to Gentiles. In Romans 1:21, Paul says the Gentiles "knew God" and did not "retain God in their knowledge." Here in Ephesians 4:13, Paul speaks of "the knowledge of the Son of God." In Romans 1:21, Paul speaks of the Gentiles becoming "vain in their imaginations." Here in Ephesians 4:17, Paul warns these Gentiles not to walk " in the vanity of their mind" even "as other Gentiles" do. In Romans 1:21, Paul refers to the Gentiles "foolish hearts" being "darkened." Here in Ephesians 4:18, Paul reminds these Gentiles of other Gentiles who have had their "understanding darkened" through the "blindness of their hearts." In Romans 1:25, Paul speaks of the Gentiles who "changed the truth of God into a lie." Here in Ephesians 4:14, Paul warns these Gentiles of men who "lie in weight to deceive."

So, it is clear that in Ephesians 4, Paul is reminding the Gentile Christians of the historic trend among other Gentiles in which they do not retain the knowledge revealed by God but become vain in their thinking. And how does Paul say that Christians can avoid this process and retain the knowledge revealed by the Son of God? Paul gives the answer in verse 14 where he says that Christians should no longer be "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine."

So, the key to retaining the knowledge of the Son of God is to remain in the sound doctrine handed down by the Apostles. Deviation in doctrine away from the original teaching of the Apostles will lead to the failure to retain the knowledge of God, which has now been revealed to us in the visible world, in the Law, and ultimately through Jesus Christ and the doctrine he revealed to the Apostles. This is why it is so important for the modern Church to return to the doctrine handed down by the Apostles to the early Church and to remove the influences of pagan philosophy, including Gnosticism and other heresies in general. The extent to which the Church moves away from the doctrine handed down by the Apostles to the early Church is the extent to which our understanding is darkened and our thoughts become blind and subject to vanity (which is to be devoid of truth.)