People Without the Law
Dr. Jay Worth Allen
“Death reigned from Adam to Moses,
even over those who had not sinned
after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.”
I want to explore the judgment of sin “when there is no law.” How are they judged?
The simple answer: “when there is no law,” they are judged on the basis of the fact that they were born of the first man Adam. Just like us. But let’s expand upon our inquiry.
Before the law, God dealt with the nations in a time sphere on the basis of their behavior - which is why He brought the flood upon all the world of the ungodly. But man’s eternal position was never predicated on what he did. That is why Paul said, “For until the law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression” (Romans 5:13-14).
What was the similitude of Adam’s transgression? God said, Adam don’t “eat of that tree.” So Adam, “ate of that tree.” The woman didn’t hear God say, Don’t “eat of that tree.” Eve got the message from Adam, but “ate of the tree” anyway. So they were both thrown out of the garden because of their disobedience.
After Adam and Eve left the garden, God didn’t say anything to anyone about how to live - but they did have “the knowledge of good and evil.” There were no stipulations set down as to how man was to behave, until after the flood. But “death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.” In spite of this fact, God did not deal with men on the basis of their personal sins on an eternal basis, He, nonetheless, did deal with them on a natural basis. Thus, He brought in the flood.
Between the time of the fall of Adam and the flood of Noah, the basis of God’s judgment upon man was the revelation that a redeemer will come: a redeemer will come from, “The seed of the woman” (Genesis 3:14-15). This was the promise embraced: the pledge, that a Redeemer would appear on the scene in that Day - One who would bring redemption to mankind. The men who believed that record and offered offerings to God in accordance with that revelation: Abel, who “brought the firstlings of his flock and the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering” (Genesis 4:3-5; Hebrews 11:4.); Enoch, who “was not found because God had translated him” and . . . “he had this testimony, that ‘he pleased God’” (Genesis 5:22-24; Hebrews 11:5); Noah, who was, “moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of righteousness which is according to faith” (Genesis 6:14-22; Hebrews 11:7); etc. , all stood in righteousness before God. And as a result of their standing (Ephesians 6:12-17), they maintained a sensitivity in the sphere of their inner man, their conscience. Conscience, being the rule of God written on the heart of every man, the “knowledge of good and evil,” as the apostle Paul states. But the men who did not operate in that record, moved farther and farther away in sensitivity to the Lord, who created them. “Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil” (Genesis 6:5) - so when the Lord, the Spirit of God, spoke, they could not hear.
The word conscience is a contraction of two Greek words, which means to know together. The idea is the Spirit has an utterance and the soul has an attitude. When the Spirit speaks, if the soul of a man can not embrace the words with an attitude of sensitivity to the Spirit, what the man has is a grieved conscience. An individual can grieve their conscience long enough, and to the point where there is no sensitivity to the speaking of, or better, the hearing of the Spirit of God to that man, therefore the man cannot hear what the Spirit is saying. The Spirit’s words cannot then push through the seared conscience.
Before the flood, the men of the earth grieved their conscience, defiled their conscience, and finally seared their conscience - so the Lord brought the Flood. Only Noah had a conscience that wasn’t seared; he believed - “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8).
Today we have approximately six billion people living on the earth. Fifty years or so ago, we had only two or three billion. The earth’s population grows exponentially as time goes on, becoming more and more rapid. The population of the world reached one billion in 1804, two billion in 1927, three billion in 1960, four billion in 1974, five billion in 1987, and six billion in 1999. It is projected to reach seven billion by late 2011, and around eight billion by 2025. By 2045-2050, the world’s population is currently projected to reach around nine billion, with alternative scenarios ranging from 7.4 billion to 10.6 billion. The earth’s population, in the space of two hundred and forty six years (246), has grow from one billion in 1804, to a projected seven or so billion by 2011. This fact made me wonder what the population of the earth was at the time of Flood.
It is theorized (by secular science) that during the 4th millennium B.C. the earth’s population was approximately seven to fourteen million people, “when men began to multiply on the face of the earth” (Genesis 6:1). If we take their secular numeric guesswork, we can guesstimate that there was most likely a few million people living on the earth in the years before the flood - approximately the time of Methuselah’s birth (Noah’s grandfather). But how many people were living on the earth at the time of Methuselah’s death? Methuselah lived almost a century, “nine hundred sixty and nine years” (969) and died the year of the Flood. I am not an expert in or student of mathematics, but after “nine hundred sixty and nine years” the population must have been enormous! Yet, out of the myriads of fallen humanity, only one man, Noah, had not grieved his conscience. This seems strange unless you consider that the Lord could not find “ten” righteous in the city of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18, 19).
Noah lived in a world where “all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” but Noah believed. Noah could hear the Spirit of God because of that belief. The Lord quickened Noah’s spirit and he believed - God saves sinners. The man who is sensitive to the Lord can maintain that relationship, i.e., spirit and soul, before the Lord. As he remains in that sensitive state, he can walk in righteousness, in obedience before the Lord, as far as that obedience is revealed. But since “sin is not imputed when there is no law”; and man, at that time had no Law - no Law had been given between the fall and the Exodus - God was not dealing with man during that time on the basis of individual actions, but on the basis of his nature given him from his father Adam. Even at that time, those who believed were saved. They had the Word from God, “the seed of the woman;” and they believed God. So God saved them in the Ark.
Arthur W. Pink in his book, An Exposition of Hebrews, declares:
“Faith shuts its eyes to all that is seen, and opens its ears to all God has said. Faith is a convective power which overcomes carnal reasoning, carnal prejudices, and carnal excuses. It enlightens the judgment, molds the heart, moves the will, and reforms the life. It takes us off earthly things and worldly vanities, and occupies us with spiritual and Divine realities. It emboldens against discouragements, laughs at difficulties, resists the Devil, and triumphs over temptations. It does so because it unites the soul to God and draws strength from Him.”
There are risks to living by faith in the Lord, but the rewards far outweigh any risk. The key to success is to always keep Christ Jesus (“the seed of the woman” - our Ark) as the object of our faith. He has never, nor will He ever fail.
People Without the Law
Published: 21 July 2010 on Freed In Christ! blogsite.
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