Did people have laws before the Ten Commandments were given at Sinai?

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God revealed His laws to humanity from the very beginning when the plan of salvation was offered to Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:15). When our first parents sinned, they would have died at once except for the Lord, who stepped forward and offered to give His perfect life as a sacrifice to pay the death penalty for all people (Revelation 13:8).

After sin, God required the sinner to bring an animal sacrifice to atone for his sin (Genesis 4:3-7). But what is the Bible definition of sin? “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). Therefore, the Lord made sure from the very beginning that His children knew His Laws (Exodus 20) that they may avoid it.

God created us to enjoy happiness, peace, long life, fulfillment, and every good blessings for which we desire. God’s law is the way that points us to the right direction that we may have this true and ultimate happiness. And God’s law is the wall that protects God’s children (Galatians 3:24).

So, prior to Sinai, people knew God’s unchanging laws (Psalms 111:7, 8). For example, Abraham diligently observed all of God’s laws, whether they came directly from God or whether they had been handed down from past generations “because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws” (Genesis 26:5).

Abraham purposed in his heart to obey God implicitly; and whenever he failed, he approached God with the sacrifice of repentance upon the altar of his heart (Heb. 7:25; 8:1–4). He left his native land, he offered his son, he carried out the rite of circumcision, he paid tithe and offered sacrifices. The same must certainly have been true with regard to all of God’s other commandments.

The law of God is a reflection of His character that does not change (Matthew 5:17,18). The transformation of men’s characters after the divine image is the great aim of the plan of salvation. The law reveals the character of God; the plan of salvation provides empowering grace to achieve every virtue (Philippians 4:13).

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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