In verse 14 Paul makes a radical statement within the world of Second Temple period Judaism: if Abraham’s heirs are the ones who keep the Law, then Abraham’s faith is emptied and God’s promise to him is nullified.
According to verse 15, the Law brings only wrath. This returns to the theme sounded in Romans 1:18, the wrath of God is being revealed. For the Gentiles, the wrath is revealed by creation, but for the Jews it is revealed in the Law. The Law demands God’s people be holy, as God himself is holy. Although there are provisions in the Law for dealing with uncleanliness or sin, ultimately the Law was designed to demonstrate the need for God’s grace and mercy.
The second part of verse 15 may be a problem for some readers. Without the Law, Paul says “there is no transgression.” Potentially this means from Adam until Abraham…
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