“The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” - Romans 5:20-21
Most people in Jesus’ time thought God gave the law and His commandments to show them how to be right with Him by keeping them. Instead, the Apostle Paul points out in Romans 5:20 that the law doesn’t decrease sin and make us righteous, it actually increases sin and makes us more unrighteous. The law doesn’t prevent sin; it provokes sin.
How does it provoke sin? Look at your own children. The best way to get children to do something is what? That’s right…telling them they can’t do it. Parents lay down the law and kids find a way to break it. Why? There is one thing we never outgrow. We don’t like to be told what we can and can’t do. No one does. When we are told we can’t do something it increases our desire to do it. The law was never given to show that you could be right with God by keeping it. The law was given to show that you would never be right with God because you can’t keep it perfectly.
The only way to overcome being a natural-born sinner is through grace. The word “increase” is used three times in verse 20, but two different Greek words are used here. The word that refers to the increase of sin simply means, “much” or “many” and has the idea of a numerical increase. The verb that refers to the increase of grace means, “to overflow,” or to be “far more than enough.”
The dam of our sin can never stop the flood of God’s grace. Where sin flows – grace overflows. Where sin may reign – grace floods. When sin meets grace – sin always loses and grace always wins. It is true that we are all born sinners. But through grace, faith, and Jesus, we don’t have to stay that way.
Father, Thank You for Your grace that floods my sin and makes me a new creation.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.