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Romans 5:20 – Why the law? 

30-01-2021 - Posted by Andre Piet

Yet the law came in by the way, that the offense should be increasing. Yet where sin increases, grace superexceeds.

Paul’s statement is so unorthodox that quite a few Bible translations try their best to adapt the text here. It is believed that when God gave Israel the law, it was for the purpose of benefiting Israel. But Paul is saying the opposite here. The law was given to Israel with the intention that it would cause Israel to fail. Later, Paul argues that the law excites the passions of sin (Rom.7:5,8). And does not every educator know how that works? Tell a child not to do something, and the irresistible urge to do it is born. The ban not only gives rise to an idea, it actually makes the idea attractive!

The increase in sin was not God’s purpose in itself. But sin was necessary in order to show God’s grace. And to prove the abundance of his grace, God needed even more sin. And that’s why He gave Israel the law. Many are still trying to keep the law, get better. In vain. Only grace overrules sin!