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Moses pointed out to Israel that the Horeb Law (Ten Commandments, Deuteronomy 4:13) had been made exclusively with rescued Israel. "The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb [Sinai]. Not with our fathers did the LORD make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today" (Deuteronomy 5:2-3).

Jonah. Now Jesus said that the book of Jonah was a true account. He verified that Jonah preached "repent" at Nineveh, Assyria; that Jonah was swallowed by a fish; and that Nineveh repented. This is very interesting because (1) Nineveh was not Jewish, (2) they were not under the Law of Moses, (3) and yet they were sinners in need of repentance. If they were sinners, what law were they transgressing? Some say that they were still under "the patriarchal dispensation" since the Ten Commandments were exclusively Israel.i See article SIN IS FALLING SHORT OF OUR TARGET.

        Any law under what is called "the patriarchal dispensation" is admittedly unwritten. The apostle Paul explains to what law the Gentiles (non-Jewish nations) were accountable.


"Theii Law" refers to the written Law of Moses (Romans 3:1,2). The Gentiles had an quivalent unwritten law manifested to them. "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature* the things contained in the [written] law, these, having not the [written] law, are a law unto themselves: 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;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel" (Romans 2:14-16).

* "For when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, instinctively do what the law demands" (HCSB, ISV, OEBus versionsiii). "Instinctively" or "by nature" refers back to God's target at beginning of the context: "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them. 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" (Romans 1:19,20).

Creation teaches a natural sense of right and wrong: "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained..." (Psalm 8:3). If the philosophers could argue for their reasoning from nature, could not the common man clearly see it as well? Socrates' love for wisdom concluded there to be unity and beneficence of deityiv in contrast to the society's multiple gods. But when he was condemned in court for corrupting the youth with such reasoning, he asked a friend to sacrifice to an idol for him. "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man" (Romans 1:22, 23a).

Later philosophers perceived and used the beneficence apparent in nature to formulate their own particular theories.v John Stuart Mill argued for a single standard of beneficence that allows man to decide objectively what is right and wrong, the basic foundation of morals. David Hume argues that natural benevolence accounts for the origin of morality. Immanuel Kant finds a vital place for beneficence in the moral life. Peter Singer even contends that persons in affluent nations are morally obligated to prevent something bad or evil from happening to others less fortunate in the

Plato is certainly not a writer of the Bible; however, he is an esteemed Greek philosopher who just happened to recognize an "unwritten law" in society. Platovii distinguishes law "into written and unwritten {q}: the written law is that which was used in commonwealths; and that, "'which was according to custom or nature", was called unwritten, such as not to go to market naked, nor to be clothed with women's clothes; which things were not forbidden by any [written] law, but these were not done because forbidden by the unwritten law."

In Romans 7:7-13 the apostle said that the Law of Moses was good in that it defined sin suggested in nature for what it was. “Wherefore the law [is] holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” The problem with common interpretations of religion, the feeling is that if we didn't have the Bible, we would not be sinners. The apostle counters that view: his point is that corrupting nature might be seen and known not only to be sin, but exceeding sinful; sin is contrary to the pure and holy nature of God and the written law makes it perceived without question “sin.”viii

Again, the apostle points out the co-existence of the law of nature even today with the Kingdom's law. To the saints in Rome, "To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the law, like one under the law — though I myself am not under the law — to win those under the law [of Moses, gw: "you call yourself a Jew, and rest in the law" (Romans 2:17a)]; (I became) To those who are without that law, like one without the law [anomosG459; Mickelson's dictionary: "...2. not subject to Jewish law; 3. a Gentile"][I, Paul] not being without God’s law but within Christ’s law — to win those without the law" (1 Corinthians 9:19-21, HCSB).

Why would Paul, while being careful to be faithful to Christ, behave as a servant to all men; i.e., those under the Law of Moses and those not under it? His answer: “To win both Jew and Gentile.” So then all men are subject to obeying the gospel for salvation from either the sins under Moses or the law of nature (Romans 1:16; 2:12-16; Acts 17:30,31). Philosophy cannot save a sinner; the Law of Moses cannot save a Jew either.

God made man and woman in His image. The apparent design of creation makes a person accountable to his Creator. Paul said to the Gentiles that they must seek God "if haply they might feel after Him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being... God commandeth all men every where to repent" (Acts 17:27,28a, 30). Although they were not Jews and amenable to that Law, nevertheless, they are condemned for sins against law: their conscience condemning them (Romans 1:20; 2:14-16). Paul commanded the pagan Athenians to repent. Jesus sent the apostles into all the world preaching repentance (Luke 24:47). Repentance for what? The world was not under Moses and the Prophets (Deuteronomy 5:1-5).



"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness" (Romans 1:18). The apostle in Romans explains that there existed law from the beginning because God's wrath was against man's rebellion through ungodliness (asebeiaG763: "irreverence for God") and unrighteousness (adikiaG93 : "man's injustice and wrongfulness"). This description demands law. The following list describes sins of mankind before and following the Great Flood; they are violations against God's design phusikosG5446 in creation (1:20-27; 2:14,15).

1. They refuse to serve and worship the true God. Creation obligates man to acknowledge God (Romans 1:20). Instead, man turns and honors his own imaginations.

2. They violate God's natural (phusisG5449) design by dishonoring their bodies (Romans 1:24, 26). Their error (Greek, planeG4106: "a straying or wandering from the straight path") received due penalty. A straight path indicates the target of law.

3. "Being filled with all unrighteousness (adikiaG93: '(legal) injustice; quality; act; wrongfulness [of character, life or act]')." This "filling" is followed by a list of four sins: "fornication (prostitution [including adultery, incest, and porn]; unwedded stimulation of sexual desire; idolatry), wickedness (depravity; malice; plots), covetousness (avarice, fraudulency, extortion), maliciousness (badness; depravity; malignity; trouble).

4. "Full of envy (ill-will, i.e. jealousy)" is followed by "murder, debate (a quarrel, wrangling), deceit (a trick, wile), malignity (bad character; mischievousness), whisperers (a secret slanderer), backbiters (talkative against, i.e. a slanderer), haters of God, (hateful to God, i.e. impious), despiteful (an insulter, i.e. maltreater), proud (appearing above others; haughty), boasters, (a boaster or braggart), inventors of evil things (a discoverer, i.e. contriver), disobedient to parents (unpersuadable, i.e. contumacious), without understanding (unintelligent, wicked), covenantbreakers (not agreed, i.e. treacherous to compacts), without natural affection* (hard-hearted towards kindred), implacable (without libation; truceless), unmerciful (merciless). *(Compare to Matthew 19:8).

"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" (Romans 1:32). The knowledge of the judgment of God here is epiginoskoG1921 (Mickelson: "1. to know upon some mark, i.e. recognize; 2. (by implication) to become fully acquainted with, to acknowledge"). The knowledge of this decree is not through the Mosaic Law since it is mentioned in contrast in Romans 3:1. If we take Romans 1:32 along with 1:20 and Romans 2:14-15, God's truth in nature instructs man's conscience of impending judgment for violating natural order.ix

This should be sufficient to show that God's basic laws from creation have continued throughout all dispensations with or without covenants. God is morally unchangeable; His written Law is consistent with His natural Law. He has been consistent historically in requiring in man, morality and righteousness (Matthew 23:23).

Someone asks, "If I'm not Jewish and subject to Moses' Law, and I'm not Christian, and therefore not subject to the Kingdom's Law, then what law would I violate to be called a sinner?"

After Paul's treatise on the status of Jews and Gentiles, he concludes, "for there is no difference; all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). To the Gentile sinners in Athens, Paul commands, "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead" (Acts 17:30, 31).

See ALSO article:     article:     article:    

iWhat law were Ur, Canaanites, Sodom and Gomorrah, Philistines, Job's friends, and Gentiles under when they sinned?

ii"The" is a definite article. In Greek a definite article that precedes a noun identifies a particular law; in these cases, "the Law is understood as the Law of Moses.

iiiHolman Christian Standard Bible; The International Standard Version; Open English Bible.

iv Accessed 8/8/2014.

v Accessed 8/8/2014


viiJohn Gill's "Exposition on the Entire Bible": Romans 2:14.

viii John Gill on Romans 7:13; Exposition on the Entire Bible.