Law and Sin (1)

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Romans 3:9-20

Through the law comes the knowledge of sin. (v. 20)

I was hurrying down an unfamiliar road. Ahead of me was the sign: “Speed Limit 55.” Great! I thought as I increased my speed—until I saw flashing red lights.

“But officer, I was doing only 55. See the sign? How could I be speeding?”

“That’s where the speed limit of 55 begins,” he replied. “Further back is a sign for 45 mph.”

Did my ignorance excuse me from getting a ticket? Unfortunately not! I was breaking the law, and the sign I had ignored pointed out my error.

That is one of the purposes of God’s law—to make us aware of our sin. If we are tempted to claim we have done all that God wants of us, the more we read his Word, the more we realize where we have gone astray or fallen short. Knowledge of God’s Word convicts us of sin. We stand silent before him, and “the whole world [is] held accountable to him.”

Since we can never plead ignorance with God, a better route is to acknowledge our sins—both sins of commission and sins of omission—and to seek his forgiveness. How that works is the story of the gospel, the theme of the next part of Romans.


Your law is good, Lord, even if it convicts me of sin. Forgive me, in the name of Jesus. Amen.