IT would be good to elaborate the distinction which our Lord makes between these two kinds of sin in John 9,41 & 15,22-24; Matt. 12,31-32.

(a) In the first place there is the sin referred to and described in Rom. 1,18 - 3,20. This is the sin of breaking the Moral Law. It has two sides to it, corresponding to the two divisions of the Ten Commandments: there is sin against God and sin against man. The first is dealt with in Rom. 1,18-32; the second in Rom. 2,1-16. The peculiar case of the Jews is dealt with in Rom. 2,17 - 3,18. The final summing up is that so far as the Moral Law is concerned all the world is guilty before God, since everybody has broken that Law.

Then Paul goes on to point out that for such guilty sinners God has provided a way of escape through the blood of Jesus Christ. This salvation can only be offered to sinners: the righteous do not need it! But in the Law there was no way of escape once the Law had been deliberately broken; Law never forgives, not even the Law of Moses.1

The light then, spoken of in Rom. 1,18-20 & 2,14, 15, was enough to show men the way of life and to keep them in it, as our Lord said to the Rich Young Ruler who enquired what he must do to inherit eternal life.2 But once the Law had been broken it had no salvation to offer. The wages of sin was death, and had to be paid. While therefore it is true to say that the heathen have had an opportunity of living right according to the light of Creation and Conscience, it is quite untrue to say that they have had any opportunity of salvation when once they have sinned: for "there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must