2:12all who have sinned. This category includes everyone, as is made clear in 3:19, 20, 23.
law. The law of Moses, crystallized in the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1–17; Deut. 5:1–22). The Mosaic law already reveals God’s condemnation of sin, but the cause of sin lies in our hearts, that is, deeply rooted in our natures, and not in the law (7:13). The knowledge of “the work of the law” (v. 15) also resides in the heart, because mankind was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26, 27). Since God judges people in accordance with standards known to them, a defense based on ignorance of the Mosaic law is irrelevant and illegitimate. It is not the degree of revelation received, but response to the revelation itself, however received, that will prove critical on the day when God will judge (v. 16).
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