He Never Heard Of The 10 Commandments

Q. I found your site and I think it’s really good. Thank you for your quality work!

I have a question. Is a person responsible for breaking the law (ten commandments) if they did not know it was wrong to break them in the first place or even that there was such a thing as the ten commandments?

Here’s an example;

“Billy” is what society would consider a “good guy”, but he still breaks the ten commandments by sleeping with his girlfriend, getting drunk every once in awhile, and telling the occasional white lie. Billy dies (he is not saved). When he goes to the Judgement is his fornication, lies, etc… a sin held against him even though he did not know it was a sin in the first place? It seems to me, and I could be wrong, but God will hold us accountable for breaking his laws regardless of whether or not someone specifically told us about the Ten Commandments.

A. God won’t condemn anyone for breaking a law he couldn’t have known about, although in Romans 2:14-15 Paul hints that God’s law is written on our hearts. But more importantly in Romans 1 beginning at verse 18 Paul says that God expects everyone to know that He exists. He tells us that we can find out about Him just by looking at the creation. Once we acknowledge Him, He’ll begin to reveal Himself to us. But whether we’ve ever heard of the 10 commandments or not, if we fail to acknowledge Him we have sinned against Him, even if in the rest of our life we’re perfect.

Of course it’s impossible for man to be perfect so we all pile up lots of other sins as well, and if Billy lived in a country like the US, it would be practically impossible for him to have missed hearing about Jesus. But realizing there’s a God and acknowledging Him was Billy’s first and foremost responsibility, and failure to do that is enough to condemn him.

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