Juli Camarin

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Sin Brought the Law, the Law Brought Death—Romans 5:20-21

"The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 5:20-21)

Are you surprised to know that the law (think ten commandments and everything found in the first few books of the Bible) gives power to sin?

Yup, you heard me right; the law makes sin more powerful. It took a silent force operating in the world and made it a destructive, all-encompassing enslaving force because God wrote it down and now there is a standard.

In fact, the law brought the death Adam was warned about (Gen 2:17) but until the law, God did not even consider nor hold sin against humanity (Rom. 5:13), but afterwards, there was a lot to condemn humanity with.

But admittedly, the law serves its purpose well, which is to highlight sin. To make it apparent, to show us we can never be free of it and save ourselves. Its purpose is to condemn us, period (Rom. 7:10, Gal. 3:10, 23).

Here’s the paradox, in the same way that the law, or God’s written standards, highlight and magnify our sin, that same sin highlights and magnifies God’s grace.

Paul is saying God defined His standards, so we recognized all sin as sin and the result highlights God’s grace and patience with sin. His grace increases in response to the power of sin keeping us in bondage to it.

Here’s the good news, although it’s easy to see the devastation our sin and brokenness unleash in the world, we can confidently know that God’s grace is also increasing in response to sin. While we don’t always see righteousness reigning the same way sin does, Jesus broke the power of sin and death with his resurrection from the dead. Jesus is ushering a new way to live, empowered by His very own spirit living in us.


Name the hope that sparks in you when you read this sentence, “where sin increased, grace increased all the more.”

Think of a time where you experienced God’s grace overshadowing the power of sin.

Previous: Romans 5:16-19  Next: Romans 6:1-2

Original article published October 12, 2009.

Through the Obedience of One, Many are Righteous—Romans 5:16-19

"Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous" (Romans 5:16-19)

When Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he not only caused sin to enter the universe, but he made us sinners. Through Adam, we inherited a sin nature which causes us to sin.

Because of this, trying to live a good life or by the Ten Commandments does not work. We were born with a nature contrary to God’s law. This nature pushes against those standards. Therefore, we cannot break free from sin’s grasp on our own. We can never be good enough because our nature sets us up to fail.

Because we were born into sin, we experience everything Adam offers us: Death (vs. 15, 17), judgement (vs. 16), condemnation (vs. 18), being sinners (vs. 19), the increase of sin and death (v. 20), and sin reigning and polluting everything (v. 21). But Paul’s key point at the end of Romans 5 is that the gift of Jesus has no comparison with the result of one man’s sin because it overshadows and outshines it in every way imaginable!

In fact, the Apostle Paul is bold enough to point out that judgement and condemnation followed Adam’s one sin but the gift Jesus offers followed many sins. If we sin because of our sin nature, imagine how many sins we are talking about. Every person’s disobedience from the time of Adam, until now. That’s a lot of trespasses. This is where Jesus’ gifts shine, because He offers them amid all of this brokenness.

Remember, Jesus offers us these gifts: Grace (vs. 15), justification (vs. 16), righteousness (vs. 17), justification and life (vs. 18), righteousness (vs. 19), increasing grace (v. 20), eternal life (v. 21). All of this followed many, many sins. That’s incredible!

If under sin judgement, we are aware of our condemnation, the opposite must also be true. Through Jesus we should know we are forgiven, righteous and holy. And the good news continues, in Christ, we have received this reconciliation (Rom. 5:11).

God’s grace is so abundant we should celebrate it every chance we get!


What surprises you about this passage?

Take a moment to stop and thank God He offers the permanent solution to sin and death in Jesus.

Previous: Romans 5:15  Next: Romans 5:20-21

Original article published October 11, 2009.


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  • About Juli Camarin

    About Juli Camarin

    I’m passionate about Jesus, His Word, living in His grace,
    using technology and creating beautiful things.
    But mostly my passion is about spreading the
    gospel of Jesus to a world that needs Him.


    about Juli Camarin

  • About Juli Camarin 2

    About Juli Camarin

    I’m passionate about Jesus, His Word, living in His grace,
    using technology and creating beautiful things.
    But mostly my passion is about spreading the
    gospel of Jesus to a world that needs Him.


    about Juli Camarin

Books by Juli

Exploring God's Word, planting the seeds of life.