One of my favourite crime drama series is "Law & Order". Usually a crime drama series focuses only on how the perpetrator of the crime was identified and captured by the police but "Law & Order" differentiates itself by devoting only half an episode on that, and devoting the other half on the prosecution process of the perpetrator who was caught .
What keeps the show exciting is that due to the complexities of the law and legal process, sometimes the perpetrator gets away with committing the crime through some legal technicalities or loopholes. As far as the perpetrator of the crime is concerned, the particular law he was charged under is as good as non-existent since he was not punished despite breaking that law in reality.
Therefore, I have come to this conclusion: the very nature of how the law works dictates that punishment must be very much part of the law. If a law does not include a punishment component or a punishment that is enforceable, then that law is in actual fact no law at all!
Let me illustrate with a simple analogy:
The speed limit for Singapore's expressways is 90km/h. Imagine the government announced that in honour of a Singaporean race driver winning the F1 Singapore Grand Prix, any speeding offences committed on 31/12/2008 will be exempted from any penalties that are normally imposed.
How many people, do you think, will keep to the speed limit of 90km/h on 31/12/2008? My guess is not many because for all intents and purposes, that law has been suspended for that day. Where there is no punishment, there is no law.
Look at Romans 5:13 (HSCB)
In fact, sin was in the world before the law, but sin is not charged to one's account when there is no law.
The verse says that when there is no law, sin is not charged to one's account i.e. you don't have to pay any penalty for sin since you are not breaking any law.
However, from another angle you can also say that when sin is not charged to one's account i.e. you don't have to pay any penalty for sin, there is in reality no law at all.
(to be continued ...)