As you begin reading Romans 5:1-21 this week, it may be helpful to keep verse 20 in mind. It states,
But where sin increased, grace increased all the more…
So much of Romans up to this point has focused on the problem of sin. In chapter 1, Gentiles were guilty of sin and subject to judgment. In chapter 2, Jews found themselves in the same boat despite their status as God’s people and their possession of the Law. All of this led up to the grand conclusion of 3:23-24:
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Here we find that Paul’s focus on sin wasn’t just for the sake of making his audience feel bad. Rather, it made them aware of their guilt. Now, having sealed everyone up under judgment, Paul moves to speak of God’s grace in Christ. That grace – and that grace alone – is the answer to humanity’s sin problem.
In chapter 5, Paul waxes eloquent on God’s grace in Christ. This grace, he says, causes us to boast in the hope of the glory of God (5:2). This grace causes us to glory in our sufferings (5:3-5). This grace comes as pure gift to the undeserving (5:6-8), and it continues to flow to God’s children (5:9-11). And, this grace abounds to cover many trespasses (5:12-21). Though sin has increased, grace has truly increased all the more. Praise be to God for his provision in Christ!