What does "sin abounds" mean in Romans 5:20?

Romans 5:20 is a verse that has caused confusion and debate among Christians for centuries. The verse reads, "Moreover, the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more." The phrase "where sin abounded" has been the focus of much discussion and interpretation. In this blog post, we will explore what this phrase means and how it relates to the larger context of Romans chapter 5.

To understand what "sin abounds" means, we must first look at the context of Romans 5:20. In the previous verses, the apostle Paul explains that the law was given to reveal sin and to make us aware of our need for a savior. However, the law also had the unintended consequence of increasing sin. As Paul writes in verse 20, "the law entered that the offense might abound." In other words, the law made sin more apparent and more prevalent.

So what does it mean for sin to abound? The Greek word used in this verse is "pleonazo," which means to increase or multiply. In this context, it refers to the fact that sin became more widespread and more obvious as a result of the law. The law revealed the sinful nature of humanity and increased our awareness of our own sinfulness.

But the second half of the verse offers a message of hope. "But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more." Despite the fact that sin was increasing, God's grace was even more abundant. God's grace is not limited by our sinfulness; in fact, it is precisely because of our sinfulness that we need grace. As sin abounds, grace abounds even more.

So what does this mean for us today? First, it reminds us that we are all sinners in need of God's grace. The law may reveal our sins, but it is grace that saves us. Second, it offers us hope that no matter how great our sins may be, God's grace is greater. As Paul writes in Romans 8:38-39, "neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

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Jamie Larson