What Does Romans 5:20 Mean?

The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,

Romans 5:20(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

When Adam sinned, death came into the world. But until the Law was given through Moses.. over 2000 years later, death continued to reign in the lives of all men - even though man had been given no specific laws to keep, or any specific criteria for righteousness.

The Law came in later, so that humanity could understand that there was a God-given standard of righteousness. Up until the Law was given, men were unaware that they were breaking God's standard of holiness, because no standard had been given. Nevertheless, death reigned in the bodies of every fallen man.. for the wages of sin is death - which means separation from God and His eternal condemnation.

It was the original sin of one man.. Adam, that caused the entire human race to receive the condemnation of God - and death was the awful penalty for that sin. All Adam's progeny, therefore, were condemned to death as a result of his one sin. All Adam's offspring were born in sin - with a sin nature, and all had the shadow of death upon them.

But the Law was given to Israel so that the sinfulness' of man could be identified as sin. Once the Law was given, men were able to recognise that they were breaking God's standard of holiness. The more men recognised their sin.. the more they realised their desperate need of salvation. However, the more they sinned.. the more man realised that the Law was impossible to fulfil. The more man recognised their sinfulness.. the more sin increased - and the more sin increases - so the more God's grace was able to abound towards man.

As the father of the human race, Adam's sin-nature and the deathly consequences, which resulted from his sin in the garden, is imputed to all his entire race. How shocking!!!

We are sinners because Adam sinned. As his offspring, we are imputed with his unrighteous, sin nature. We sin because we are sinners. Before the Law, men had no righteous standard by which to live - and yet death continued to reign in every life. How shocking!!!

Some consider that God was unjust to condemn the whole human race because of one man's sin - but, in reality, this is the most gracious and loving action on God's behalf - for as through the one man's disobedience (ADAM's sin) the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One Man (JESUS CHRST and His sacrifice for sin) many will be made righteous.

Condemnation for all resulted from Adam's ONE sin, but righteousness is awarded to all, by faith, because of Christ's ONE act of righteousness, We became sinners by association with Adam and we become righteous by association with Christ. We were identified with Adam's sin by birth and as a result we became sinners. However, we are identified by Christ's righteousness by our rebirth - through faith, and as a result have been declared righteous by God.

Though we all became sinners through the single sin of one man ..we all have the opportunity to be made righteous because of the single sacrifice of One Man - Jesus Christ the righteous - so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

So WHY did God give the Law over 2000 years after Adam sinned? WELL, the Law came in so that the transgression would increase. The Law was given, so that fallen man could recognise his sin. The Law was God's standard of righteousness, to which we could not attain - but, once it was given, it increasingly identified the depth of our own, terrible sin - causing man to recognise the desperate need of a Saviour.

As an example.. Paul, himself would not have realised that covetousness was a sin, without it being listed in the Law. Without knowledge of a God's given standard, none of us are able to measure ourselves against God's perfect standard of holiness. The more we identify our faults and failings, the more the Law is carrying out its predetermined task - which is to cause each one of us to recognise that we are sinners.. so that we may cry out to Christ for Salvation.. knowing that He paid the price for our sin - which is DEATH.

BUT, where sin increased (through the giving of the Law), grace abounded all the more. (through faith in Christ) Once we start to recognise that we are sinners - we also begin to recognise the amazing love of God, the forgiveness of sins and His over-abounding grace, which is ours, by faith in the sacrificial death and glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Once sin is exposed in our life - the more precious become the grace of God and the forgiveness we receive - by faith. God's grace and His unmerited favour is increasingly revealed to us, when we recognise the depth of our sin. But His grace continues to be poured out on a sinful race - who by faith in Christ's sacrificial work on Calvary, may not only be forgiven of our sins - but declared righteous before a holy God - Praise His holy name.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, the more I recognise my sinfulness, the more I understand the incredible grace that is being poured out on me, and on all humanity. Thank You that the more my sin is exposed.. the more I realise what amazing grace has been bestowed on me - and on all who have trusted Christ for salvation, for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting - Thank You in Jesus name, AMEN.

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