Psalm 60-62 Romans 5
“The law came to make sin worse. But when sin grew worse, God’s grace increased. Sin once used death to rule us, but God gave people more of his grace so that grace could rule by making people right with him. And this brings life forever through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:20-21 NCV)
What benefits do we have when we follow God? Paul begins this chapter reminding us of the peace we have with God. He shows the contrast between sin and death versus faith and life or, between law and grace throughout. Romans 5:8 reminds us that God started this whole love fest because Christ died for us while we were still lost in or sin. He compared Adam, and his sin which brought death, to Jesus, whose death and resurrection brought life. The Pharisees focused on following the Law, which came between Adam and Jesus, to grow close to God. But Paul, trained in the pharisaical tradition noted that the law made sin worse. The interesting response to that is that the worse sin got, the more God’s grace increased. Even death, conquered at the resurrection, couldn’t control God’s people who’ve been made right with Him and have a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ because that relationship brings eternal life.
I guess Paul wanted to make sure that the Church in Rome didn’t have the same problem with the “Judaizers” that other churches had, because he paints the problem of the Law and trying to follow the Law throughout the book of Romans. The Law, the list of rules and regulations for life that the Pharisees followed, makes sin even worse. It’s like a “wet paint” sign on a window sill. You might pass that window sill hundreds of times in a year with no desire to look at it, let alone touch it. Put that sign up, though, and you give it a long look when you walk by. You get to the end and you turn around as you ask yourself, “I wonder if it’s really wet?” Then, overwhelmed by temptation, you reach out and touch the windowsill just to be sure only to end up with a paint-stained finger. If the sign hadn’t been there, you wouldn’t have thought twice about the window sill. If the Law hadn’t talked about certain activities as sin, we might not have paid any attention to that particular sin. Instead, the prohibition leads to curiosity and eventually, engagement with the sin. It’s amazing that we still have the problem of people trying to add to our experience with God by trying to throw in some kind of Law. “God wants to have a relationship with you and He will. Turn to Him, ask for forgiveness, and then, <insert your own favorite activity here>.” God didn’t do that. The sacrifice Jesus made on the cross put an end to the idea that following the Law made you right with God.
Why do we think we need to do something else, something more, to develop our relationship with You, Lord? Remind me how much You love me. Remind me that You began our relationship because of how much You loved me, even when I worked against You. Help me to share Your love with others.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved