Unlimited: Why Was the Law Brought In?
Sep 29, 2022 581
The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase (Romans 5:20a).
The purpose of the law is to highlight sin. It never solves the problem of sin in our lives.
Paul previously told us that “by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20) and that “sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law” (Rom. 5:13). This explains the sense in which “[t]he law was brought in so that the trespass might increase.”
Paul is referring to the law having been “brought in” at Sinai. To be sure, there was sin before Sinai (Romans 5:13). However, the introduction of the written legal code made lawbreaking (“sin”) more evident. It is in this sense that “trespass increased.”
The purpose of the law is to highlight sin.
It is important for us to understand why the law was brought in. Part of the reason was that the children of Israel had been enslaved in Egypt for 430 years. Living in semi-paganism, they had almost completely lost the knowledge of the one true God.
The children of Israel started from a very low moral base, as the story of the Exodus demonstrates. They were essentially a very primitive nomadic people. This is why God brought in the written law for them, in order to point out their failings, so that “the trespass might increase,” and to prepare them for the future, more glorious revelation of Christ.
The Lord deals with us as he dealt with the Children of Israel. He leads us through stages of moral development. Was there a time in your life when the Lord led you to understand and see the value of his law? How did that help put you on the right path?