*Below is Pastor Andrew’s teaching outline from Sunday’s sermon, not a word for word manuscript. This is meant as aid in seeing the thought and direction of the sermon.

Romans 5:20–21 ESV

Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


1. Women may be fined for falling asleep under a hair dryer, as can the salon owner.

2. law prohibits unmarried women from parachuting on Sunday or she shall risk arrest, fine, and/or jailing.

3. If an elephant is left tied to a parking meter, the parking fee has to be paid just as it would for a vehicle.

4. It is illegal to sing in a public place while attired in a swimsuit.

5. Men may not be seen publicly in any kind of strapless gown.

6. In Miami Beach, no pigs at the beach. Sec. 10-7. Keeping swine within city prohibited. It shall be prohibited for any person to have in his possession, control, management or custody any swine within the city.

Now these laws seem silly, but before today you would have been ignorant of possibly breaking them. As we dive into our text today, we will see the impertinence that rest on knowing the law and how in knowing we see God more magnificently than ever before, but first where we have been:

Overview of where we have been:

Our text today is the conclusion of Chapter 5 and the transition into chapter 6. It further cements our assurance of salvation in the work of Christ while at the same time pushing us forward into a discussion of sin and grace.

Last week Adam walked us through 12-19 in which Paul masterfully laid out the Results of Adam’s sins leading to sin and death for all mankind and the result of Christ obedience leading to righteousness and life for all who would believe.

Through this discussion we walked through the reality that all mankind has been born into Adam and under the curse of sin and death. However, in this discussion some in Paul’s audience and maybe some here would be asking the questions: what of the Law.

If Adam brought death and Christ brought Life where does the law fit in. How does the entirety of the scriptures fit into this discussion? Paul has already set out in the first part of his letter that justification can only be found in Christ alone and that the Law did not make people righteous before God nor did the lack of the law make anyone more condemned, both stood equally condemned in their sin. SO, what then is the purpose of the Law in understanding God’s salvific work.

This is what Paul wishes to explain today in two very quick and yet full verses:

In this we see that

1.     The Law multiplied sin

2.     The Law Magnified Grace

I. The Law Multiplied Sin (20a)

Romans 5:20 ESV

Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,

So why then the Law?

This is a good question. If the status on humanity was defined in Adam and would not be redefined until Christ what role does the law play. The whole of the Old Testament beginning in the middle of Exodus and carrying on throughout the text is an appeal to the law, therefor we must have an answer for its role.

For Paul it is quite Simple: to increase the Trespass.

How so: There are many positive uses of the law we see in scripture, however that is not the goal of Paul’s argument here. He wants us to feel the weight of the Law’s negative effect first and foremost for Paul this is not a constraint on sin but a multiplication of sin.

How so: Let’s look at 4 ways the law multiplies sin:

1.     The Law revealed the offence.

Romans 3:20 ESV

For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

-The law clearly puts before us that which is righteous and that which is wicked

-Once you have seen the law you now know clearly your sins.

-Without the law sin is still present, but it is unaware

2.     It multiplies sin by removing the excuse for sin.

-With the knowledge of our sin we can no longer plead ignorance.

(Ill. not knowing the speed limit)

-You are without any source of ignorance

3.     Causing sin to be, more evidently, a presumptuous rebellion against the great Lawgiver.

-When sin is clearly known, any action to do that which is prohibited becomes a deliberate act against the giver of the law.

-When your child purposely disobeys you, it hurts because it is not only an act that can hurt them, but it is an act of rebellion against you as well.

4.     The knowledge of sin provokes the heart of man to greater degrees of rebellion

– lastly there is a sense in with the knowledge of the law creates within mankind a desire to trespass all the more.

-in seeing the boundaries, we want to go beyond and see what it is we have been prohibited from.

Each of these have merit in how they reveal to us the multiplication of sin. that the law will bring. Paul later in romans will speak of how if it were not for the law, he would not have known how covetous his heart was, yet through the law he saw his depraved state and was driven all the more by it.

For a second let us ponder the gravity of sin in our own: I wish to draw us into a thought exercise posed by the late J.C. Ryle:

Old Paths: Being Plain Statements of Some of the Weightier Matters of Christianity I. My First Remark Is This. You Have Many Sins

Sit down, and take pen and paper, and count up the sins that you have probably sinned since you first knew good from evil. Sit down, I say, and make a sum. Grant for a moment that there have been on an average, fifteen hours in every twenty-four during which you have been awake, and an active and accountable being. Grant for a moment that in each one of these fifteen hours you have sinned only two sins. Surely you will not say that this is an unfair supposition. Remember we may sin against God in thought, word, or deed. I repeat, it cannot be thought an extreme thing to suppose that in each waking hour of your life you have, in thought, or word, or deed, sinned two sins. And now add up the sins of your life, and see to what sum they will amount.
At the rate of fifteen waking hours in a day, you have sinned every day thirty sins!—At the rate of seven days in a week, you have sinned two hundred and ten sins every week!—At the rate of four weeks in every month, you have sinned eight hundred and forty sins every month!—At the rate of twelve months in every year, you have sinned ten thousand and eighty sins every year!—And, in short, not to go further with the calculation, every ten years of your life you have sinned, at the lowest computation, more than ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND SINS!

The gravity of sin is multiplied all the more as you know the sins you commit. As the law is revealed that number only grows, and with it the sense of dread and condemnation that remains for those under it.

Before we move to the conclusion of the verse you may then be asking the question:

Why Then the Law: 

Galatians 3:19 ESV

Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.

Spurgeon in reflecting on this verse gives three reasons why the law is clearly necessary and how the multiplications of sin will lead to the magnification of Grace:

1.     Without the knowledge of sin there is no mercy

2.     there will be no seeking after grace where there is no sense of sin.

Romans 4:15 ESV

For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

3.     there will be no reception and acceptance of grace by any man, till there is a full confession of sin and a burdensome sense of its weight

So then what Paul says the law does in the negative has an immediate positive effect it reveals the abundance of Grace.

II. The Law Magnified Grace (20b-21)

Romans 5:20–21 ESV

Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“You don’t know what you don’t know”

But now that you know the depth of your sinfulness you now are all the more assured of the abundance of his gracious gift of righteousness:

Using Ryle’s example of 10,000 sins per year as a metric, God’s grace abounds in multiple measures. His grace is not 10,000 +1, it is 10,000 8 10,000. it is a super abounding forgiveness.

The Gospel of God: Romans Romans 5:20–21

There is a greater measure of grace in this world than there is of sin and of evil.

Think of Jesus’ discussion on forgiveness in Matthew:

Matthew 18:21–35 ESV

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So, the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So, his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also, my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Paul’s treatment of grace abounding all the more reflects this same part of Christ teaching on forgiveness.

By seeing the sure weight of our sin because of the law we are able to see the abundance of God’s grace all the more.

So, we can see as John did in the opening to his gospel that:

John 1:17 ESV

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

The Law through Moses is not to be compared with the Grace and truth revealed in Christ.

The Law revealed sin so that we can marvel all the more at the grace and mercy of God


Luke 7:40–50 ESV

And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

The wonder and beauty of the second Adam is far greater than the law, For in Him is life and righteousness.

Death no longer reigns in those who are in Christ.

We have died to sin and now live in Christ.

The Law has shown us our state apart from Him so that we may rejoice in the knowledge that that is no longer who we are. We are free from the stain of sin and the slavery of death.

We now live under the righteous rule of Christ.

The Epistle to the Romans Romans 5:20

Grace is so much more effective than evil.

As we look closely at this text, we can conclude that:

Romans Romans 5:20–21

If we are confident that sin has brought death and untold devastation into the world, we can be even more confident that the grace of God that justifies us will also save us from his wrath in the judgment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: