Law and Sin (2)

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Romans 5:19-21

But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. (v. 20)

Earlier we saw how our awareness of sin comes through God’s law (see 3:20). Now Paul offers an additional perspective on the relationship between law and sin.

When my oldest son was a toddler, he loved tracing electric cords to their outlets. Scary! The more we told him “No!” (for his own good, of course!), the more insistent he became. He even started calling cords, “Cord, no no!” The boundaries we set for him were precisely what seemed to push him into disobedience.

God’s laws can function the same way. “I am not going to let anyone tell me what to do!” we say (or at least think) to ourselves. Even though God’s laws have been given for our good, they sometimes goad us into disobedience. As Paul explains, “The law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied.”

But even the reality of our moral perversity is not sufficient to nullify God’s grace. In fact, says Paul, where sin has abounded, God’s grace has superabounded. God’s forgiving grace is without limit. The only thing he asks is that we use the forgiveness and new life that come via that grace to serve him.


God, thank you for your abounding grace – grace that is greater than all my sin. Amen.