Studies in the Epistles of Paul

Romans

Romans 5:20-21

The reign of grace

Paul has dealt with the time between Adam and Moses. Now he makes a brief comment about the law of Moses: “The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase” (verse 20). This is a surprising purpose of the law. It could not reduce sin or forgive sin — it could only increase sin. The more rules there are, the more transgressions there will be. The law showed us that humanity is sinful — fatally flawed — and in need of a Savior.

“But where sin increased, grace increased all the more…” The grace of God is more than enough to take care of the increase in sin. “Just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (verse 21). Christ is the solution to the problem of sin and death. Before Christ, everyone was in Adam, under the domination of sin and death. Now, grace overpowers sin, bringing the gift of righteousness, and with it, the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Things to think about in Romans 5

  • Is it realistic to have glory in my sufferings? (verse 3)
  • How has God’s love changed my heart? (verse 5)
  • Was there a time in my life when I was an ungodly sinner, an enemy of God? (verses 6-10)
  • Do I believe that everyone is counted guilty because Adam sinned? (verses 12-19)
  • Do I believe that I can be counted righteous because of Christ? (verse 19)

Author: Michael Morrison, 2003, 2014