Romans 5:20
The Law was given so that the trespass would increase; but where sin increased, grace increased all the more,
Sin and GraceCharles Haddon Spurgeon Romans 5:20
A Historical ParallelJ. Oswald Dykes, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
Adam and ChristJ. H. Tarson.Romans 5:12-21
Adam and ChristJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
Adam and ChristR. Koegel, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
Death by Sin, and Sin by ManU. R. Thomas.Romans 5:12-21
Grace AboundingC.H. Irwin Romans 5:12-21
Human DepravityT. Raffles, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
Introduction of Sin into the WorldProf. Godet, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
Man's FallHubbard-Puritan.Romans 5:12-21
On the Fallen State of ManT. Fernie, M. A.Romans 5:12-21
Original SinT. Chalmers, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
Original SinHon. and Rev. A. T. Lyttelton.Romans 5:12-21
Original SinW. F. Hook, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
Original SinA. Toplady, M. A.Romans 5:12-21
Original SinC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 5:12-21
Original Sin, a RootJ. G. Wilson.Romans 5:12-21
Original Sin, a Scientific FactF. W. Robertson.Romans 5:12-21
Original Sin: Why God Did not Arrest its ConsequencesProf. Godet.Romans 5:12-21
Representative ResponsibilityR.M. Edgar Romans 5:12-21
Sin and DeathJ. Parsons.Romans 5:12-21
The Analogy Between the Manner of Man's Condemnation in Adam and Justification in ChristJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
The Entrance of Sin into the WorldT. Robinson, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
The Great ParallelsRomans 5:12-21
The Introduction and Consequences of SinW. Cunningham, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
The Misery of Man's Sinful StateT. Boston, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
The Need of HealingF. Paget, D. D.Romans 5:12-21
The Principle on Which Justification ProceedsW. Tyson.Romans 5:12-21
What is ChanceC. Kingsley, M. A.Romans 5:12-21
Abounding Sin and Superabounding GraceG. Burder.Romans 5:20-21
Abounding Sin; Overabounding GraceJ. Baldwin Brown, B. A.Romans 5:20-21
Good Triumphing Over EvilD. Thomas, D. D.Romans 5:20-21
Grace AboundingJ. Ossian Davies.Romans 5:20-21
Jesus Christ Our LordG. Calthrop, M. A.Romans 5:20-21
Law and GraceJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 5:20-21
Law and GraceC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 5:20-21
Law Developing SinEvan Phillips.Romans 5:20-21
Life Instead of DeathT. L. Cuyler, D. D.Romans 5:20-21
Reigning GraceC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 5:20-21
Sin Abounding, and Grace SuperaboundingT. Guthrie, D. D.Romans 5:20-21
The Economy of LawT.F. Lockyer Romans 5:20, 21
The Offence Abounding Through the LawRomans 5:20-21
The Reign of GraceA. Thomson, D. D., J. Lyth, D. D.Romans 5:20-21
The Reign of Sin and of GraceJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 5:20-21
The Reign of Sin and of GraceT. Robinson, D. D.Romans 5:20-21
The Triumphs of Sin and of GraceJ. Leifchild, D. D.Romans 5:20-21
A return to the mention of the Mosaic Law, and its part in the great economy of the world's history. Its immediate, remoter, and ultimate effects.


1. A side-economy: among one people, for disciplinary purposes.

2. "That the trespass might abound," i.e. that men might be compelled to the consciousness of that which wrought in them unconsciously. Working thus two-foldly - as revelation, and as repression. In the latter way, obviously to the intensifying of the consciousness of sin, as when a torrent is dammed. The former has an analogue in the growing knowledge of the Christian life, and the increased arduousness of Christian effort which is consequent upon it. So the moral law, the ceremonial, the prophets, and John Baptist. The climax of its effect towards sin in the crucifixion of Christ, in which man's wickedness, driven to desperation by the holy law of the life of Christ, showed its utmost evil. Truly, "the Law came in, that the trespass might abound."

II. REMOTER EFFECT. "Grace did abound more exceedingly."

1. The very economy of law was an economy of mercy, in all its parts: so the "This do, and live," which in some sense was verified even to their imperfect doings; and so the double significance of their sacrifices, revealing indeed their guilt, but prophetic of expiation.

2. The climax of sin, wrought through the Law, was a climax of grace: the death of him who must die to take away sin. "More exceedingly?" Ah, yes!

III. ULTIMATE EFFECT. Extension of effects, to all the world: and they? A contrast once again.

1. "Sin reigned in death" - the dread sign of its sovereignty. Seen everywhere - the dark sign-manual stamped on all the world.

2. "That even so might grace reign," etc.

(1) Grace. God's favour shown in spite of sin.

(2) Through righteousness. The favour being shown through Christ, and through the justification which is by him. God's favour at once the originating cause, and the realized effect, of the "righteousness."

(3) Unto eternal life. The everlasting sign of the sovereignty of love, as contrasted with that death which was the sign of the sovereignty of sin. This, then, the paean which shall resound through all the ages - "Death is swallowed up in victory!" Shall we have part in that immortal song? - T.F.L.

The law entered that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.
The wise physician often gives medicine to bring the disease from within to the surface, and make it abound, so to speak, with the view of driving away the disorder, and so enabling health to reign in the system of his patient. The skilful surgeon, by diet and hot water fomentations, develops the abscess in order that he may be able to effectually remove it. In like manner God in His infinite love and wisdom allowed the law to enter "that the offence might abound," with the ultimate purpose "that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."

1. The apostle begins the present argument in ver. 12, breaking off for the time; and instead of completing the comparison, turning aside to show the universal and lamentable effects of sin. St. Paul was sufficiently acquainted with the continent of Divine truth to be able to wander without losing sight of the cardinal points. To put a man unacquainted with a country half a mile from the main road would make his safe return somewhat doubtful. Many are in this state in respect of gospel truths. But Paul could venture to take a by-road to reach a by-purpose, and then return safely to the place whence he started.

2. At the close of ver. 14 he comes again in contact with his main purpose, that the reader might not lose sight of it, and to show that he knew exactly his whereabouts — "who is the figure of Him that was to come." But instead of going on to prove their resemblance, he again digresses to show first their unlikeness.

3. In ver. 18 he again returns to his chief purpose, namely, to show that the first Adam and the second were in one respect similar. The "offence" stands alone. There was but "one" offence from Adam to Moses, for there was no law to be transgressed, i.e., no covenant. God made a covenant with Adam as the representative of mankind; but that covenant was broken. Man, therefore, had no covenant to break in the period indicated. God gave His law to the sea, to the birds, etc., without saying a word to them: they were too small for Him to enter into covenant with them. But man was created on so large a scale that God could not legislate for him without covenanting with him. The "offence," in the apostle's sense here, was not possible to man in the absence of a covenant. Mankind from Adam to Moses were daily adding to the mass of their corruption, but the offence continued to remain "one" and the same all through. However, in the time of Moses we find mankind again brought under a covenant — "the law entered that the offence might abound."


1. Sin always revives in the presence of law (Romans 7:9). The pure and fiery light of the commandment awakes it, excites it, and draws out its energies.(1) Sin in Israel had been sleeping during the Egyptian bondage and deliverance; and the trials encountered during the journey to Sinai only made sin dream fitfully and say an occasional angry word between wakefulness and sleep, just enough to show that it only wanted opportunity to rouse itself. But when the nation arrived at Sinai they received the most marvellous exhibition of the Divine glory. It might have been thought that sin had received such a deep wound that it would never again be able to raise its head. But no; "they made a calf in those days." Wonderful! But it was only the necessary consequence of the giving of the law.(2) Sin is still the same. Man is not conscious of his enmity to God when the commandment does not shine upon his conscience. His enmity is like the match in his waistcoat pocket. There is fire in it, but it is asleep. It only needs to be brought into contact with something harder than itself to become a flame. So the young man's guilty heart is full of the fire of enmity, but it is asleep. When he comes to rub against God's law, sin "takes occasion by the commandment" to develop itself.

2. The entrance of the law occasioned the development of sin, because man cannot be developed without developing his sin. This principle manifests itself everywhere. When tares have been sown mixed with wheat, all the influences which promote the increase of the wheat promote the growth of the tares. Look at the young babe. Well, if the little one is to be developed, his sin must be developed with him. As true as he will be a three-feet man, he will be a three-feet sinner at the same time. The internal enemies of many a country would not be nearly as formidable were it not for the educational advantages they have enjoyed. The danger and the horribleness of their deeds increase in the same proportion as their knowledge. In the face of that, were it not better to keep all knowledge from them? No! that is not the method of the Divine government. The voices of nature, providence, and inspiration teach the contrary. Humanity must be developed, though that be impossible without developing its sin. And inasmuch as the law entered to develop man, it of necessity therefore occasioned the development of his sin likewise.


1. To develop sin in its heinousness and frightfulness, so that the evil of its nature as it strikes against God and militates against man might be made patent to all. There is deceitfulness in sin. It wears a garment so attractive that no creature is free from the danger of being bewitched by it. It deceived even the angels. It captivated our first parents. Sin was having fair weather before the law entered. The earth was sitting quietly under its heavy and torpid authority. But at last there dawned the day of its visitation. In the presence of God's holy law the splendour of its raiment begins to fade; its horrible look makes many refuse it their loyalty any longer. The entrance of sin supposes the entrance of all the dispensation of the Old Testament, which terminated in the advent and death of Christ. And there, on the Cross, was finished the work of stripping sin of all its robes. Thenceforth it stood in all the nakedness of its shame before an astonished universe.

2. To develop its strength, and accomplish its destruction. God is not afraid of sin. By the time of the Incarnation sin had been completely developed. Corrupt religion could not before, and can never again, produce such a court as that of the high priest in Jerusalem. There is no hope that paganism will ever again produce such a faithful representative of itself as Pontius Pilate. Hell will never again see the day when it can steel and whet a tool so dangerous as Iscariot. All the hosts of sin are on the field in the memorable struggle with the Prince of Life, so that the foe can never complain that all his forces were not on the spot (Colossians 2:14, 15). Sin still continues the war, but it only shoots like a coward; shoots and runs at the same time. Let us therefore take heart; let us arm ourselves with all the armour of God that we may pursue and help to drive it out of the world; There is a complete victory over sin to everyone that believeth in Christ.

(Evan Phillips.)


1. Not to occasion sin.

2. But to develop —

(1)Its extent.

(2)Its guilt.

(3)Its misery.


1. It prepares the way for its manifestation.

2. It sets forth its transcendent excellency.

3. It disposes the sinner to receive it by making him conscious of his need.


1. It surpasses the extent of human guilt.

2. Relieves its misery.

3. Secures more happiness to man and more glory to God.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

There is no point upon which men make greater mistakes than upon the relation between the law and the gospel. Some men put the law instead of the gospel; others put the gospel instead of the law; some modify both, and preach neither; and others entirely abrogate the law, by bringing in the gospel. Many think that the law is the gospel, and who teach that men by good works may be saved. On the other hand, many teach that the gospel is a law, by obedience to which men are meritoriously saved. A certain class maintain that the law and the gospel are mixed, and that partly by the law, and partly by grace, men are saved. Consider the text —


1. The object of God in sending the law was "that the offence might abound." There was sin in the world long before; and where that law has never been heard, there is sin, — because, though men cannot sin against the law which they have never seen, yet they can all rebel against the light of nature, against the dictates of conscience, and against that traditional remembrance of right and wrong (Romans 1:20). The law makes offences "abound," because —(1) It tells us that many things are sins which we should never have thought to be so if it had not been for the additional light. What man by the light of conscience would keep holy the Sabbath day? Moreover, if in the term "law" we comprehend the ceremonial ritual, we can plainly see that many things, in appearance quite indifferent, were by it constituted sins — the eating of animals that do not chew the cud and divide the hoof, the wearing of linsey woolsey, and all seem to have no sin in them, but the law made them into sins, and so maple the offence to abound.(2) Law has a tendency to make men rebel. Human nature rises against restraint. I had not known lust except the law had said," Thou shalt not covet." So evil are we, that we conceive at once the desire to commit an act, simply because it is forbidden (Romans 7:7, 8, 11). The law is not faulty, but sin uses it as an occasion of offence, and rebels when it ought to obey. says, "The law is not in fault, but our evil and wicked nature; even as a heap of lime is still and quiet, until water be poured thereon, but then it begins to smoke and burn, not from the fault of the water, but from the nature and kind of the lime which will not endure it."(3) The law increases the sinfulness of sin, by removing all excuse of ignorance. Until men know the law, their crimes have at least a palliation of partial ignorance, but when the code is spread before them, their offences become greater, since they are committed against light and knowledge. The more light the greater guilt — the law affords that light, and so causes us to become double offenders. But does it not seem very harsh that God should give us a law which will not justify, but indirectly cause our condemnation to be greater? But there is a gracious purpose even here. Natural men dream that by a strict performance of duty they shall obtain favour; but the law never came to save men. It came on purpose to make the evidence complete that salvation by works is impossible, and thus to drive the elect of God to rely wholly on the finished salvation of the gospel.

2. The superabundance of grace.(1) Grace excels sin in the numbers it brings beneath its sway. It is written that in all things Jesus shall have the preeminence: and why is this to be left out? Can we think that Satan will have more followers than Jesus? Oh, no; for while it is written that the redeemed are a multitude that no man can number; it is not recorded that the lost are beyond numeration. Think for a moment of the army of infant souls who are now in heaven.(2) Grace doth "much more abound," because a time shall come when the world shall be all full of grace; whereas there has never been a period when it was wholly given up to sin.(3) Hath the world lost its possessions by sin, it has gained far more by grace? True, we have been expelled from Eden, but we have through Jesus a fairer habitation. Did we lose natural life and subject ourselves to painful death by sin? Has not grace revealed an immortality for the sake of which we are too glad to die? Jesus has clothed us with a Divine righteousness, far exceeding the robes of created innocence.


1. The law causes the offence to abound —(1) By discovering sin to the soul. When once the Holy Ghost applies the law to the conscience, secret sins are dragged to light, little sins are magnified to their true size, and things apparently harmless become exceedingly sinful. John Bunyan says that "the Interpreter took Christian by the hand and led him into a very large parlour that was full of dust, because never swept; in which after he had reviewed it a little while, the Interpreter called for a man to sweep. Now, when he began to sweep, the dust began so abundantly to fly about, that Christian had almost therewith been choked. Then said the Interpreter to a damsel that stood by, 'Bring hither water, and sprinkle the room'; the which when she had done, it was swept and cleansed with pleasure. Then said Christian, 'What means this?' The Interpreter answered, 'This parlour is the heart of man. The dust is his original sin and inward corruptions. He that began to sweep at first, is the law; but she that brought the water, and did sprinkle it, is the gospel. Now whereas thou sawest, that as soon as the first began to sweep, the dust did so fly about, that the room could not by him be cleansed, but that thou wast almost choked therewith; this is to show thee that the law, instead of cleansing the heart (by its working) from sin, doth revive (Romans 7:9), put strength into (1 Corinthians 15:56) and increase it in the soul (ver. 20), even as it doth discover and forbid it, for it doth not give power to subdue. Again, as thou sawest the damsel sprinkle the room with water, upon which it was cleansed with pleasure; this is to show thee that when the gospel comes in the sweet and precious influences thereof to the heart, so is sin vanquished, and the soul made clean, through the faith of it, and consequently fit for the King of glory to inhabit.'"(2) By showing us how very black we are. Some of us know that we are sinners. It is very easy to say it, but it does not appear exceedingly sinful till the law comes. How many do we find who are saying, "There may be a little amiss at the top, but I am very good-hearted at bottom." If you saw some fruit on the top of a basket that was not quite good, would you buy the basket because they told you, "Aye, but they are good at the bottom"? No; you would say, "They are sure to be the best at the top, and if they are bad there, they are sure to be rotten below."(3) By discovering to us the depravity of our nature. We are all prepared to charge the serpent with our guilt, or to insinuate that we go astray, from the force of ill example — but the Holy Spirit dissipates these dreams by bringing the law into the heart. Then the fountains of the great deep are broken up, the chambers of imagery are opened, the innate evil of the very essence of fallen man is discovered.(4) By bringing home the sentence of condemnation. It mounts the judgment seat, puts on the black cap, and pronounces the sentence of death.(5) By discovering the powerlessness occasioned by sin. It not only condemns but it actually kills. He who once thought that he could repent and believe at pleasure, finds in himself no power to do either the one or the other.

2. Grace excels sin —(1) In its measure and efficacy. Though your sins are many, mercy hath many pardons.(2) Sin shows us its parent, and tells us our heart is the father of it, but grace surpasseth sin there, and shows the Author of grace — the King of kings.(3) Just as sin makes us sick, and downcast, and sad, so does grace make us far more joyful and free. Sin unfits us for heaven. Grace makes us fit companions for seraphs and the just made perfect.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)


1. As they regard the material world. Sin has altered its character — defaced its beauty — tarnished its splendour. Disorder has been introduced, and various evils have been realised.

2. As they regard the moral nature of man. If the evil were merely external, it would be comparatively immaterial, but it is internal. The whole man is infected with the leprosy of sin. His members are not consecrated to God, but to iniquity. His understanding is enveloped in dense darkness. His reason is proud, and unyielding to God. His affections are perverted, cold, and sensual. His will is stubborn and intractable. All his powers, passions, capacities, and emotions, have been affected by sin.

3. As they regard death and the grave. What fearful desolations they effect! They dim the lustre of the eye, extinguish the light of genius, tarnish the bloom of beauty, wither the arm of vigour, and reduce the frame of man to dust.

4. As they regard the remote and awful consequences of iniquity. The loss of the soul, banishment from God, the utter withdrawal of His favour, the agony of conscience, the society of devils and wicked spirits, and the consciousness that this degradation, ruin, and misery, will endure unmitigated forever.


1. In the full and spontaneous forgiveness which it bestows. It removes the oppressive burden of sin — it speaks peace to the conscience; and whatever might have been his offences, it assures the justified individual that his sins have been all forgiven.

2. In the character of those operations which it secures. It not merely justifies the person, but renovates the nature, implants new principles, induces new feelings, inspires love to prayer, and communicates that strength and consolation which we require while residents in this world.

3. In the inheritance which it assigns. Rest from labour, tranquillity after agitation and alarm, freedom from temptation, advancement to ineffable dignity — the possession of a glorious and an enduring kingdom, and the promise of an unfading and immortal crown.

4. In the complete and glorious resurrection of the body for which it provides.

5. In the eventual number of the redeemed. They shall embrace every age, country, condition, class. A number, which no man can enumerate, shall be rescued from sin, delivered from the grave, and advanced to the bliss and glory of heaven.Conclusion: This subject should —

1. Tend to correct many errors with regard to the doctrine of election: the fact of the fall, the extent of Divine mercy, the number of the saved.

2. Induce us to institute art inquiry whether we have ever realised the power of that grace which so gloriously triumphs.

3. Inspire us as regards the future, and induce us to make greater exertions to secure and extend the triumphs of Divine mercy.

(J. Leifchild, D. D.)

These glowing words fitly crown the parallel the apostle traces. From its triumphal climax he surveys the expanded triumphs of grace and sin in a reign, or conquered dominion, on which the common sun never sets, and which the Sun of Righteousness ever floods with glory; an empire which, like the mystic ladder, first establishes its footing on earth, and finally loses itself in the glories of heaven. We will range our exposition under the following heads:


1. The curtain is uplifted, and the background scenery represents visions of paradisial beauty. And now for the characters; for "all the world's a stage." First eaters primeval man, fresh from his Maker's hand; and then woman, his ministering angel. Slinking stealthily from behind, next enters the serpent. The lights pale, and visions grow dark and dim, as the next actor, Sin, enters like a disastrous eclipse; and it entered not alone — it entered trailing its grim shadow after it, "Death entered by sin." The plot thickens. "Moreover, the law entered," that men might know their duty, and in the light of that their guilt, and in the light of both their doom, and in the light of all seek the remedy. As the result — Sin is seen to abound: it enters and re-enters, rolling its thunderous clouds across the stage; for in the fierce light of the law its magnitude and intensity are clearly seen, and sin takes occasion from that very law to riot and multiply itself the more. But by this time another actor has entered on the stage; the seed of the woman appears, with the ransom flowing from his side, the serpent squirming under his heel.

2. In the second long act, covering the Old Testament period, the shadows seem to deepen, and the confusion to become more confounded.

3. In the third brief, but grand act, the Deliverer steps on the stage, takes the room of the sinner, and sublimely dies, rises, ascends to glory, and sends forth His twelve champions for the spiritual conquest of the world.

4. During the next, or fourth act, the mingling elements of light and darkness, good and evil, life and death, have been in fierce, hot strife; life and light evermore rising triumphant over sin and death.

5. In the fifth, and last, grand act, Satan shall fall from his usurped dominion, and the "kingdoms of this world shall have become the kingdoms of our God," etc.

II. DOCTRINAL. The text is the culminating point of a passage which, like all that precedes, has for its objects the vindication and illustration of justification by faith. If this Divine method of salvation can be shown to have primeval precedent in the Edenic Dispensation, and to root and ramify its fundamental principles in the Divine administration of our world and in the moral and social constitution of man, no stronger argument for the great doctrine could well be adduced. This is just what our apostle does. He traces a parallel between the First Adam and the Second. Both being representative, each is shown to stand out in his unity as "the one," in relation to "the many." The two Adams present strong points of parallelism. By one we fell, and by one we rise. The points of contrast are these: Adam's sin brought temporal death; but Christ brings eternal life. Again, Adam had nothing directly to do with our actual sins, but Christ's atonement, besides neutralising the effects of Adam's sin, neutralises also the effects of our innumerable actual transgressions, in the cases of all who believe. Finally, those who do believe, not only rise to the position they would have had under a sinless Adam, but to one immeasurably higher, even to a very royalty of bliss.

III. EXPOSITIONAL. Taking the causes as they occur, consider: —

1. "Moreover the law entered," — a term triply compound — means to enter in by, or alongside of, or immediately upon; and thus conveys the idea that if "sin entered," if "death entered" here comes another entrance upon the back of these — that of immutable Moral Law. Adam, from the moment he sinned, ceased to be our representative; and at that same moment, therefore, the paradisial dispensation ceased. But not so Eternal Law. It therefore stepped prominently into view, after the special paradisial arrangements had passed away. And it was highly desirable that it should, that men might see their own portrait, and read their own ruin, and be thereby led, as by a schoolmaster, to seek for the remedy. Being now a broken law, it had to be arrayed in its terrors, as well as expanded in its intrinsic loveliness, Hence its successive promulgations, which culminated at Sinai, and ran on through the Mosaic Economy in parallel lines of wrath and love, till He came who has reconciled all these contrarieties, and "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself."

2. The result of this exhibition was that the "offence did abound." In the pure mirror of the law sin was first seen to abound; and then, by kicking against the law's restraints, sin rebelliously took occasion more and more to abound. With what fearful rapidity it did, may be read in the awful fact that human crime sprung to its climactic stage in the first generation. The first human birth in our world was that of a murderer, the second that of his victim. What then? Was the law to blame for that? Far be it! The law must be proclaimed; and in numberless instances it did put an arrest on sin, and guided primeval men into its "ways of pleasantness, and its paths of peace." But those who would not be guided, wrested it to their ruin. Our apostle meets that objection in Romans 7:12, 13.

3. Mark the sin-neutralising energy of Divine grace: — "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."(1) It is an undoubted fact, for Paul here declares it without qualification, limitation, or reserve.(2) It is a continuous fact; for it belongs to the present as truly and fully as ever it did to the past.(3) It is an evangelical fact; for it implies that the only cure for sin is grace. It is not the fear of hell that will make a bad man good.(4) It is a worldwide fact. Confront me with a sinner. In agony he asks, Is there any mercy for me? I tell you yes, for does not Paul say, where sin abounds, grace superabounds?

4. Sin is said to "reign," and that unto death. It not only "abounds," it tyrannises. Was there ever despot like sin? Was there ever taskmaster like Satan, plying his drudges with a whip of scorpions, and ever saying to them, as Pharaoh did to the Hebrews, "get you to your burdens"? Was there ever bondage like that of the drunkard, like that of the sensualist? And "sin reigns unto death," — or as in a previous verse, "death reigns." The "fear of death," we read, "keeps many all their life long subject to bondage." Well is he described as "the king of terrors," the most universal and relentless of all devastating conquerors. One stronger than he has grappled with him; "and the last enemy, death, shall be destroyed."

5. In direct antagonism to sin's usurped dominion, grace reigns; and "unto eternal life." The antithesis is perfect. We may not say that grace tyrannises, for its reign is essential liberty; but it dominates and is destined to final triumph. Love shall be the conqueror, as sure as God is love.

6. Observe on what principle grace reigns: not through mere arbitrary choice, as if God could act in caprice; not through mere absolute sovereignty, as if God were personified despotism; not through mere blind indulgence, as if God were too facile to be firm, too fond to be inflexibly wise and good; but through righteousness; or on some wise, safe, and righteous ground on which mercy might flow freely, but not licentiously and destructively. And how is this secured?

7. "By Jesus Christ our Lord," by His merits and world-embracing propitiation, on the ground of which "God can be just, while the justifier of the ungodly who believe in Jesus."

IV. PRACTICAL. Too many, alas, who need no proof that "sin abounds," still urge. But has God any superabounding grace for me? Let Jesus reply: "Look unto Me and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth." He "gave Himself a ransom for all"; then He is a ransom for thee. A "propitiation for the sins of the whole world," He has expiated thine. "But I have sinned grievously." What! too grievously for "the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, which cleanseth from all sin"? You never did a worse sin than to vent an insinuation like that. Do you still want more witness? Pray what sort do you desiderate? A voice from heaven? Here are voices without number. Turn to Revelation 22:17. Or is it earthly testimony you want? Think of the once scoffing and profligate Rochester, of the once God-defiant adventurer, John Newton, of the once profanely boisterous Bunyan. Or is it the testimony of the redeemed in heaven you want to hear? Open the Apocalypse at random, and thereby turn aside the heavenly veil, and your eyes will see them casting their crowns at the Deliverer's feet, and your ear will catch the refrain — "Unto Him that loveth us!" "Worthy the Lamb!" etc.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

1. "The law entered that the offence might abound." The sin was already there. Deep in the constitution of humanity the poison was already working, and God would have it developed in full manifestation. The driving of evil out to the surface, where all can see it in the broad daylight, is, as in some deadly forms of fever, the first step towards the cure. But Paul had not ventured to entertain the thought unless he had known, as no man, save perhaps Luther, has ever known, the superabounding, the overmastering power of grace.

2. The problem of problems is, how can a righteous and loving God endure and perpetuate a world like this while a breath would abolish its sin and misery forever. But it lives on. The life of a human spirit is an awful endowment. By no act of ours it comes to us. And the influences which mould it are but partially under our control. There is a man who was educated to be a jail bird from his infancy. He never had his eye upon the form of a nobler life. You cannot say that there are no seeds of great thoughts and virtues in him. He would be torn limb from limb before he would betray his comrade. But his chance in life has been a poor one. His whole life is a battle with society. Society masters him, chains him, and will infallibly crush him at last. And yet that man must drag on his burden; and passionately as he may long to die, it is God's will that he shall bear the burden of that life through eternity. He may mend his life; God's mercy puts that within his reach; but if he will not mend it, he shall bear it forever.

3. How many myriads are there who, were the choice offered to them, would answer, "Let me die and have done with it forever." Annihilation has been the supreme hope of many a creed. And why? Because "Sin reigneth unto death" everywhere. Life is good: the world is fair. The storms, deserts, and earthquakes, would have no terror for man if there were not wilder storms and barer deserts within. But self haunts him as a spectre. "The things that I would, those I do not; the things that I would not, those I do"; and the doing these things is death. Here, then, are men by millions, living by no will of their own, fighting a losing battle through life; or refusing to fight it, and giving it up in despair, grovelling with the beasts, cursing with the fiends, filling the world with woe. Doubtless there are lights as well as shadows in the picture. But looking at the broad world, the shadow masters the sunlight. Take one day's honest service with a city missionary, and judge for yourselves. There is the "struggle for life" everywhere; but Death, if want, disease, and misery are his lictors, everywhere wins. Death is the broad term which covers the whole work of sin. Death is but the culmination of a process. The sinner carries his torment with him — a life poisoned at the springs, a life which God will not suffer him to lay down.

4. And Paul has the daring sentence, "The law, sent of God, entered that the offence might abound." Many, startled, try to soften the words. "God hath sent the law to correct, but its result was the increase of sin," is the sense to which they would modify it. But the words will not bear it, and the argument refuses to adopt it. God sent the law that the offence might abound. Not sin — that is, the sinful thought and purpose — but the offence, the act and manifestation of sin. The poison there, it should not lurk there; it should be pressed into full development. "The Mosaic law," say cautious commentators, "with all its minute regulations, difficult and impossible to fulfil, which made men despair of legal obedience, and prepared them to receive the righteousness which is by faith." I think the larger view the true one. All law, in a sin-loving, God-hating world, has for its first fruit the insurrection of human passion and self-will. Every declaration of the character and the will of God to sinners seems at first but to madden the spirit and blacken the tone of their transgression. "Sin by the commandment becomes exceeding sinful." It is true of all dispensations, even the highest. When men saw the Father in the Son they hated Him; and the hatred of the generation to which the revelation was made, broke out in the most damning crime in the history of the universe. The revelation reproved, and by reproving maddened the sinner. Only when the grace with which the revelation was charged penetrated the hard crust of their natures could men begin to understand the counsel developed in our text. Every manifestation of light at first seems but to reveal darkness. Every manifestation of God at first seems but to deepen and darken sin. The great revelation developed the great transgression, and through that, "grace has reigned, through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord." Let us consider as follows: —

I. GRACE. Grace is love in a certain relation — the love of a Redeemer working to its ends. It represents the whole sum of the forces by which the love that would redeem aims at the accomplishment of its hope. Its incarnation is Christ. Christ is the gift of grace. Grace is the manifestation and action of that fatherly love which could not rest in its native glory and blessedness, while one prodigal was wandering, while one tear was wept, one groan uttered in the universe, which its suffering and sacrifice might spare. "Ye know the grace of the Lord Jesus," but the measure of it One only knows. That grace is the reigning conqueror of sin. That triumphs where law fails.


1. Sin is the condition of its manifestation. No sin, no grace. Through a lost world Christ is to win His most glorious Crown. Grace and sin are the twin antagonists; opposed as light and darkness. If one reigns the other is destroyed; and God suffers sin to be born because He knows that grace can conquer it.

2. There is a glory which no fiat of Omnipotence even can create, which grace, by the conquest of sin, can win and wear through eternity. No sin, no grace, and, in the highest sense, no glory. The joy of the prodigal come home, the joy of the father in his return; these are the glorious joys of earth, of heaven.

III. THE RELATION BETWEEN GRACE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS. Grace must reign through righteousness, if it reign at all. Imputed righteousness, some cry; inherent righteousness, others. Neither the one nor the other, I venture to think. The apostle has a broader meaning, which covers both. Inherent righteousness is a vain show, if it be not rooted in the perfect righteousness; while imputed righteousness is a mere fiction, if no image of itself be generated in the soul. The broad principle here may be thus expressed: —

1. The righteous soul alone is blessed. To some, grace may suggest a kindly remission of penalty. That were feasible enough if a man's worse torment and curse were not himself. The problem to be solved is within; there the fountain of bitter waters has to be healed. And it is there that grace reigns through righteousness. An inward harmony, healing, quickening is its promise; it presents to him a righteousness which is a man's righteousness, and yet is God's; a righteousness not awfully, hopelessly above him; a righteousness which, while his sad worn heart drinks in, the love which streams from Calvary enters and enshrines itself in his heart.

2. The righteousness which is by grace has a glory and blessedness all its own. Grace reigns through righteousness; it is a joyous, glorious reign. The work of grace is to shrine righteousness in man's heart of hearts; to teach him not to obey it only, not to honour it only, but to love it. Loving Christ, it is God's own righteousness which man loves and holds. Through love, he has a joy in all righteous thoughts and righteous deeds, which is part of his joy in Christ his Saviour.

IV. THE COMPLETE AND FINAL END OF GOD. "Unto eternal life." Death is simply isolation. The cutting the body off from free communion with its world. And what is life? The opposite of isolation. It is the faculty of communion with all things. The soul's death is the paralysis of its faculty to all that a soul was made to commune with, till it becomes without truth, righteousness, and holiness, without God and without hope, because without life. The soul's quickening is the rekindling of the energy of its powers, the reoccupation of the glorious range of its faculty to commune with, to possess, and to enjoy all that God has made a soul to live for, all whereby a soul may live eternally. The work of grace is as the baptism of a new life for man. Conclusion: "Lord, are there few that be saved?" The Lord gives no answer but the text. This we know, that the end which God foresees shall repair all the waste, and repay all the sorrow with which sin has filled the world. How wide, how vast, how glorious this work of overabounding grace, which of us may dare to guess? "But strive thou to enter in at the straight gate." The end for which the Redeemer is waiting, the issue for which heaven is hoping, depend in their measure upon you. You can frustrate, you can forward the great consummation.

(J. Baldwin Brown, B. A.)

I. "SIN ABOUNDS." This appears —

1. From its extensive prevalence. It is not a local evil, like many natural evils; but it is an universal mischief. This the apostle has shown in chaps, 1 and

2. However men may differ in their customs, wherever you go, sin reigns.

2. From the immense number of sins that are constantly committed. If we include, as we ought, our sins of omission, and our sins of thought, who can enumerate his errors (Genesis 6:5). From the first dawn of reason, through infancy, childhood, youth, and riper years, even to the end of human life, we are offending against God (Psalm 40:12).

3. From the eagerness with which men sin. How are our iniquities cultivated by art! they become, as it were, a trade. Men sin "as with a cart rope," "with both hands earnestly," and what plans are formed for the execution of it.

4. In some seasons and places iniquity unusually abounds; and persons arrive at a certain pitch of wickedness, beyond which God will not suffer them to go. Thus it was with Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.

5. Consider all the aboundings of sin in the aggravations of it. Thus, no doubt, Judas, with the knowledge he possessed, was far more criminal than Pilate. Religious education tends greatly to aggravate the sins of those who continue in them; and when sins are committed against the special goodness and mercy of God, they are also greatly aggravated.

6. Sin will appear to abound, if you advert to the calamitous effects which it has produced. God would not suffer His creatures to endure so much misery if He were not greatly displeased with their sins. The earth is cursed for man's sake.

7. The prudence of man in framing human laws is another proof of the same truth. Why are bonds and oaths necessary in our affairs? Why must we have locks, and bolts, and bars, to our habitations? Why must we have judges and magistrates, prisons and gibbets? The reason is, that sin so much abounds.

8. Recollect also the numerous and painful diseases which invade the human frame.

II. GRACE SUPERABOUNDS. Grace signifies "the free favour of God" towards sinful and undeserving creatures; and it stands opposed in Scripture to the merit or wages of works performed (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Romans 6:23). Grace abounds —

1. In the whole business of salvation, from first to last. It originated in the heart of God, who, pitied us in our low estate; and devised a plan of salvation; to us perfectly easy, to Himself highly honourable. It was God who, unasked, presented to the world that "unspeakable gift." Grace is admirably displayed in the glorious person and the perfect work of the Son of God. "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, etc."

2. In the gospel of Christ, which, on that account, is itself called "The grace of God" (Titus 2:11, 12).

3. In the free and full justification of the sinner who believes (1 Timothy 1:14). But it is not only said that "grace abounds," but that it "much more abounds." We derive more from Christ than we lost in Adam.Conclusion:

1. Let us diligently study the doctrine Of grace.

2. Let us be concerned, above all things, to be partakers of this grace.

3. What a source is here of consolation, even for the chief of sinners.

4. What abundant cause is here for praise — ardent, constant praise!

5. This subject furnishes us with a mighty incentive to holiness.

(G. Burder.)

In the widest sense sin always implies: law; opportunity of knowing law; capacity to obey or transgress law; and an actual deviation from law. The last is the idea to be attached to it here. "Grace" means the religion of Christ in the heart as the life of heavenly love; and the system of Christ in the world as a system of Divine mercy. I attach the latter idea to it here.

I. In this chapter there are several things stated about sin AND GRACE.

1. That they are actually in our world. Sin is a dark fact everywhere seen — a force turning men in the wrong direction. Grace is here too, as a corrective and restoring force. Human actions here result from two opposite principles. You cannot trace all history to sin, nor can you trace all to grace. In both you find a solution of all its phenomena. It is a fact that sin is in this world — sin is not in heaven. It is a fact that grace is in this world — grace is not in hell.

2. That they come into our world through the agency of man. Sin came by Adam; grace by the "second Adam." There was a time when sin was not. All was holy. There was a time when there was no grace — the world needed none.

3. That they exercise an immense influence upon the race.(1) The sin of Adam made "many sinners," the grace of Christ made "many righteous."(2) The sin of Adam brought condemnation upon the race; the grace of Christ has brought justification to many.(3) The sin of Adam leads to death; the grace of Christ to "eternal life."(4) The influence of grace far transcends that of sin.


1. In relation to the individual. Take the case of one of the most corrupt sons of Adam, a Manasseh, or a Saul; and if grace take possession of his mind, you may say grace will "much more abound" there.(1) The influence of grace there will be of a higher kind.

(a)Life-giving. Anything can destroy.

(b)Justifying. One sin condemns.(2) The influence of grace there will be of a mightier kind. Sin can never attain a mastery over every part of human nature. It can never carry with it the conscience. The conscience will be ever against it. But grace carries with it conscience. Take Paul as an illustration.

2. In relation to the aggregate race. It must be confessed that up to the present moment sin has had the sway. But consider — that it is highly probable that the generations of those that have appeared on earth, will be far outnumbered by those that are yet to come. The following things suggest this.(1) The gradual method of God's procedure — creation, civilisation, redemption, are all gradual.(2) The state of past generations.(3) The representations of Scripture.(4) The omnipotency that is on the side of grace.

3. Throughout the universe of God.(1) It will spread new and brighter views of God's character through the universe.(2) Enhance the moral force that binds to holiness in the universe.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

During the Indian mutiny, a number of British soldiers with their wives and children were besieged in Lucknow by thirty thousand rebels under Nana Sabib. The food and ammunition were nearly exhausted. General Havelock was their only hope, but he had to march through fifty miles of the enemy's country in order to reach them. Death stared upon them on every hand. Jessie Brown, the wife of a Scotch corporal, lay on the ground weak and famishing; but suddenly she sprang up, and cried, "Hark! there is the Scotch battle cry; thank God!" No one heard that cry but Jessie Brown, and many of the garrison thought she was suffering from brain fever. In a short time, she again cried, "Hear it now, then; the Campbells are coming!" They listened, and at last the shrill music of the bagpipes fell on their ears. The whole garrison fell on their faces before God, and never before was there such a thanksgiving service in Lucknow. Ere long, the plumes of the Scotchmen were seen playing in the breeze, Havelock and Outram reached the city gates, their gallant heroes marched in to rescue their countrymen, and in less than ten minutes Lucknow was a-ring with Hallelujahs. But, friends, what was the relief of Lucknow compared with the relief of humanity? Nothing, and less than nothing. We were rescued, not from Lucknow, but from the city of condemnation. We were rescued, not by Havelock, but by the only-begotten Son of God. We were rescued, not from the fangs of Nana Sahib and his monsters, but from the fangs of Satan and his black phalanx. We were rescued, not from physical bondage, but from the most terrible soul bondage. The ancient prophets, like the Scotchwoman in Lucknow, testified that they could hear the approaching footsteps of a Deliverer, but the world was slow to believe them. "These poor prophets have fevered brains — they are deceived by hallucinations," said the silly world. But when every star of hope was about to die — Hark! the sound of music was heard from afar. Whence did the sound proceed? It was the music of angel choristers over the fair fields of Ephratah. And one night, the great Deliverer reached our world, He broke the iron band of the besiegers, He opened the massive gates, and He re-opened the way from the city of condemnation to the city of eternal glory. Let us fall on our faces, like the garrison of Lucknow before us, to thank God for His wondrous grace. "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."

(J. Ossian Davies.)

The righteous Lord sits upon that throne, but His face has no frown upon it — His voice has no terror in it. On whatever part of that throne you cast your eye, you see it inscribed with grace in all its variety of application to your circumstances. There is grace to blot out your trespasses, though they be "red like crimson." There is grace to purify your hearts, though they be full of all uncleanness. There is grace to subdue your enemies, though they "come upon you as a flood." There is grace to console you amidst all your sorrows, though they be great, and multiplied, and protracted. There is grace to guide you through life, to cheer you at death, and to carry you to heaven; and as surely as God sits upon that throne of grace, so surely will He listen to the prayers that you proffer at His footstool, and uphold the character which He Himself has enstamped upon it, by freely tendering and imparting to you whatsoever you ask in sincerity and faith.

(A. Thomson, D. D.)

That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign. — Observe —


1. Sin.

2. Death.

3. Grace.

4. Righteousness.

5. Life.


1. Grace exalted in the midst.

2. Sin and death hath conquered foes on the left.

3. Righteousness and life, the trophies of victory, on the right.

III. How the name of ADAM is forgotten and buried, but the name of Jesus shall flourish forever.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)


1. Its origin.

2. Extent.

3. Terror.

4. Consummation in death.


1. Its nature.

2. Means.

3. Consummation in eternal life.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)


1. An usurpation — God is the only rightful ruler.

2. Rebellion — opposition to God and His authority.

3. Unnatural — contrary to men's better judgment and sense of right.

4. Despotic — compelling men even unwillingly to obey it.

5. Tyrannical and oppressive — the source of present suffering.

6. Cruel and destructive — ends in eternal death.

7. Deceitful and seductive — promises ease and gratification.

8. Resistless — all human attempts to terminate it in vain.

9. Powerfully supported — justice and a broken law its strength (1 Corinthians 15:56).


1. Grace exercises a power corresponding with that of sin.



(3)Supported by law.

2. It not merely acts, but reigns.

(1)In the world, therefore, men are salvable.

(2)In each believer, therefore, a believer is actually saved.

(T. Robinson, D. D.)



1. Come with me to the valley of vision. See, strewn there, the dried bones of the house of Israel. O death! we come this day to see thee cast from thy throne. But who shall do it? Come forth, ye ministers of Christ, and see what ye can do. Here are souls spiritually dead. Behold, Chrysostom speaks, and now Whitfield, Esaias, Jeremy, Ezekiel, Daniel. Alas! eloquence, and wisdom, and zeal, cannot wake the soul of the spiritually dead. But hearken, the voice Divine exclaims, "Grace, arise and quicken these dead souls," and behold, grace stands before you in the form of incarnate God, and I hear Him say, "Thus saith the Lord, ye dry bones live." It is done, and in the place of a charnel house now stands a great host full of life, and who shall soon be clothed with glory. "Grace reigns unto eternal life."

2. Behold another scene. The man is alive; but no sooner is he quickened than he feels the terrible bondage of sin. He has been a drunkard, a swearer, and all else that is vile; but now he feels that this mode of life will surely end in eternal death, and he therefore longs to escape. But see how he is bound with chains, and held in bondage by seven devils. Ye who understand how to reform mankind, come and ply your arts upon him and see what ye can do. But grace speaks the word, and says, "Get thee hence, Satan, let the man be free"; and free he is, no more to be a slave. Now he hates the things which once he loved. His nature is changed. Grace reigns unto eternal life.

3. Come with me to another scene. There in the prison house of conviction sits a miserable wretch. Ask him why, and his answer is, "I have sinned; within me there is an accusing conscience, the foretaste of the wrath to come." Come, ye sons of mirth, and see what ye can do for this poor prisoner. Come, ye that are masters of the art of consolation, see what ye can do. In vain even the minister himself, knowing the blessings of the gospel, sets before the man the riches of Christ's love. But now grace comes bearing in his hand the Cross, crying, "Look hither," and when the prisoner lifts his eyes he sees a Saviour bleeding on the tree, and in a moment a smile takes the place of his sorrow. "Rise," saith grace, "thou art free; shake thyself from the dust." Oh! grace Divine, thou art indeed triumphant, where despair itself had triumphed.

4. And now the sinner, set free both from the chains of his old lusts and of his old despairings, journeys to the palace of justice, and there, enthroned on light, he beholds a glorious King. He trembles; when lo, reigning grace who sits smiling upon a throne of love, stretcheth out its sceptre and says, "Live, live." At that sound the sinner revives; he looks up, and ere he has fully seen the wondrous vision, he hears another voice — "Thy sins which are many are all forgiven thee." And now the sinner, bowing low before the throne of mercy, begins to kiss its feet with rapture, and mercy cries, "Go and rejoice, for thou art my son who was lost, but art found; who was dead, but is alive again."

5. The man has now become a forgiven one — a saint; but grace has not ceased to reign, nor has he ceased to need its reign. 'Tis after sin is forgiven that the battle begins. There has never such a fight been seen on earth as that man must wage who hopes to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Young Christian, dost thou tremble? Remember Elijah and his servant. "More are they that are for us than all they that be against us." The soldier of Christ shalt stand, for underneath him are the everlasting arms; he shall tread upon his enemies and shall destroy them.

6. The man, being kept in temptation, has a work to do for his Lord, and there is no case where grace reigns more powerfully than in the use which God makes of such infirm creatures as His servants are. Do you see Peter afraid of a little maid? Wait awhile. Some six or seven weeks have passed, and there is a great crowd in the streets. Who is to preach to them? Grace — to thine honour let it be told — thou didst not select John who stood at the foot of the Cross, nor Zelotes — no, Peter who denied his Master, must come forth to own Him afresh. Perhaps his heart whispers to him, "Simon, son of Jonas, what doest thou here? "The cock crows, Simon; what doest thou here? But that day, three thousand baptisms tell how grace can reign in the feeblest instrumentality.

7. Come to another spot, and see how grace can reign where you little think it would ever live at all. The sea is agitated with a great storm, and Jonah has just been thrown into the sea. A fish has swallowed him; and yet he lives. Grace is there preserving his life; she speaks to Leviathan — he comes up upon the dry land, and vomits forth the prophet. Have you ever been in a strait and a trouble so difficult that you imagined there was no deliverance? If you ever have, I turn you to your own history as an illustration of how grace can reign in redeeming you out of the most terrible trials. I shall need to give you but one other picture, grace reigning in the hour of death, and triumphing in the moment of our entrance into heaven. When you come to die, grace shall bear you up in the midst of Jordan, and you shall say, "I feel the bottom, and it is good." When the cold waters shall chill your blood, grace shall warm your heart. When the light of earth is being shut out from you forever, grace shall lift the curtains of heaven, and give you visions of eternity; and when at last the spirit leaps from time into eternal space, then grace shall be with you to conduct you to your Father's house.


1. The throne is placed on the eternal hills of God's immutable purpose and decree. The throne itself, standing upon those lofty hills, has for its pedestal Divine fidelity. The thrones of monarchs rock and reel, but this is settled and abideth forever. The throne of many a dynasty has been cemented by blood, and so is this, but with the precious blood of the Son of God. Nay, as if this did not suffice, this throne is settled by the eternal oath. God swears by Himself because He can swear by no greater, that by two immutable things wherein it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation who have fled for refuge to Christ.

2. And now look upward. The steps are the Divine openings of Providence as He gradually develops His mighty scheme. And see on either side two lions ready to guard and protect it. That very justice which once seemed to stand in the way of grace is one of the lions which guard the throne; and that very holiness which seemed once to put a barrier between thy soul and bliss, now stands there as a mighty one to guard the throne of sovereign grace.

3. Now look upward. I see upon that throne a Lamb that has been slain. The eyes of grace are the suns of the spiritual universe; the hands of grace scatter lavish bounties throughout all the Church of the firstborn.

4. See above the throne, and above Him that sits thereon, the crown. Was ever such a crown? Nay, 'tis not one, 'tis many; there are many crowns and many jewels in each of the many crowns. And whence came these crowns of grace? They have been won in fields of fight, and been given by grateful hearts.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Sometimes the condition of a Church and community is like that of famine-stricken Leyden, when it was besieged by Philip's popish army. Within the beleaguered town death reigned. Its brave defenders were starving by thousands. Succour was waiting for them in the Dutch fleet, which could not reach the city. But the heroic Hollanders sluiced the dykes and let in the sea, and as the rescuing fleet swept in, they flung the loaves of bread to the overjoyed crowds which thronged the canals of Leyden. Then pouring into the great Protestant cathedral, they made its arches ring with thanksgiving unto God, their Deliverer. Brethren, let us sluice the dykes of pride, and selfishness, and unbelief. The waters of salvation will flow in. Where death reigned life shall enter.

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

I. JESUS. Hoshea is, in Hebrew, a "Saviour." To this word the Jews added the first syllable of the name Jehovah, making the whole Kenosha, or Joshua, or, in its Greek form, Jesus; and by this addition the name came to mean a Saviour appointed, given, sent by God.

1. Now what does Jesus save us from?(1) From hell. Now "hell" is chiefly the condition of those who have come to hate God. It is not merely a place — though, no doubt, all bad people meet together at last in one particular locality; but it is more especially a condition of heart and mind. "But," you say, "who is it that hates God?" Let us consider. Christ is the representative and exact likeness of God. Now, when He was on earth, He went about doing good. But for all that did men, as a rule, like Him? No! and in hating Christ, they hated God. It is possible then to come into that most terrible condition of hating God. But the Lord Jesus Christ saves us from such a fate, for He wins our hearts for God, and makes us love what God loves, and hate what God hates.(2) From sin. Picture to yourselves a boy who has broken one of his father's commands, and is expecting to be severely punished. Suppose the boy to say, "All that I care about is to escape the punishment. I don't mind grieving my father nor setting a bad example." You would not have a very high opinion of such a boy. A good son would be grieved at having done wrong, and would desire to be kept from doing wrong again. And so it is with the Christian. He is chiefly anxious about being kept from sinning.(3) From death. Though death triumphs for a time, Jesus at last wrests the prey from his grasp, by raising the dead out of their graves.

2. Consider what it cost Jesus to become the Saviour. I have heard of a soldier who saw that an arrow was being aimed at the heart of his friend, and that his friend could be saved only if he threw himself in the way. Well, he did throw himself in the way; he shielded his friend — but it was at the cost of his own life. It was necessary that Jesus, in order to become the Saviour of His people, should interpose Himself between them and their danger; should receive the shaft in His own breast; and die that they might live.

3. Jesus is "able to save to the uttermost." You may have all the will to help your neighbour, and yet not have the power. A man once caught another who was falling over a precipice, and held him; but he was not strong enough to hold him long, so at last he was obliged to let go, and the other was dashed to pieces on the rocks below. He had the will; he had not the power. But Christ has both. He is "mighty to save"; and you may be sure that He can save you, if only you will let Him.

II. CHRIST. "Jesus" refers to the person, "Christ" to the office. Christ is the Greek word for "Messiah," and means anointed. In the old days prophets, priests, and kings were anointed for the purpose of showing that they were set apart for a particular office, and that God would give them fitness for it.

1. Now, Jesus is our Prophet. A prophet is one who not merely foretells future things, but one who forth tells, i.e., explains to man what God and the will of God are. Jesus does this partly by His word, partly by Himself. Jesus is a perfect likeness of His Father. Have you ever stamped a seal upon hot wax? You know how the seal and the impression exactly correspond. So Jesus and God exactly correspond.

2. Priest. In Jewish times the High Priest stood in the place of the whole people. Now these priests were the types or shadows of the great High Priest who was coming; and when Jesus had accomplished His work and entered into heaven, there ever to make intercession for us, their office was done away with — they were no longer wanted. So now there is no one to stand between us and God, but Christ Himself. Nor do we want anyone else. He is sufficient.

3. King, not only of His people, but also of the whole world. And Jesus obtained His kingdom by His obedience unto death, even the death of the Cross. He had to carry the Cross before He received the crown. Time is given to people to obey, but if they persist in refusing to accept His authority, a terrible punishment is in store for them (Psalm 2).

III. OUR LORD. The world says, "We will not have this man to reign over us": but Christians say, "We are glad and thankful to obey His rule." Now, why do Christians say this? Because —

1. He is what He is. Men are proud to serve a great monarch; the more so if he is a good man. But what must it be to serve the King of kings and Lord of lords? and not only to serve Him, but to be admitted to His friendship?

2. He has done so much for them, and they love Him. Some years ago a poor black woman was put up for auction at a slave market. She was very much afraid of being given over into the hands of some cruel master, when a good man who was passing by, and who hated slavery with all his heart, happened to hear her sad story, and purchased her himself. But as soon as he had purchased her he set her free. The woman had not expected this, and she was transported with joy, but she could not be persuaded to leave her benefactor. For she said, "He redeemed me! he redeemed me!" And after she had served him faithfully for many years, still, when she was spoken to about her loving service, she could only give as the explanation of it, "He redeemed me! he redeemed me!" Because Christ redeemed us with His blood, we are delighted to be allowed to enter His service, and work for Him. "We love Him, because He first loved us."

3. The service of Christ is true happiness. I never yet found a truly happy man who was not a real Christian. Gay, jovial, laughing, joking people, who were not Christians, I have met with in abundance; but I have lived long enough to know that an uneasy and restless heart may lie under a bright face.

(G. Calthrop, M. A.).

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