Summary: Let judgement begin here!
ROMANS 5:18Consequently, 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. 19For 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. 20The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
If we read this whole chapter of Romans 5, we see that Paul is talking about our recounciliation with Christ because of the atonement He made on the cross. Adam was the first man to sin, and by that act sin entered the world forever. There was absolutely no way to be made righteous with God without atonement, or the shedding of blood.
In Old Testament times, blood sacrifices were made in order to recouncil man with God. Paul, an educated Jewish leader himself, realized that there was no way any one could keep the law of God in and of themselves. This is the same law that Paul went about the known world attempting to uphold. Once Paul understood that the precious blood of Jesus was the only way to be saved, he spent his entire life telling all who would listen about the powerlessness of the law....and the righteousness of Christ! As a matter of fact, vs 20 tells us that the law was added so that trespass, or sin would increase. Why would God want sin to increase?
What we have to understand here is that it never was nor never will be God’s will for sin to increase; rather that sin should decrease and be eliminated from the life of a christian. What Paul is saying here is that by the giving of the law, then the people began to understand right from wrong. They knew when they had broken one of the laws...there were no "gray" areas. If you get stopped by the police for going 75 in a 65 mph zone, you know you have broken the law. The speed limit signs are posted, and there is no question in your mind what speed is acceptable.
In the same manner, the law gave men a gauge of what was acceptable behaviour with God and what was NOT acceptable. Just as you cannot go before a judge and wiggle out of a speeding ticket whenever you are caught on radar, you could not wiggle out of the laws of God by claiming you didn’t know what God expected of you. You might go try to argue your case to a judge over a ticket, but simply telling the judge that you didn’t see the signs is not a good excuse to get you off the hook. What is that saying...ignorance of the law is no excuse?
This is the case of the Old Testament law. There was no arguing if you sinned against God’s law....you were simply found guilty. And no, you did not have the right to demand a trial before the judge....you were already judged guilty! The difference that came after the new covenant is that you are still guilty, but your fine has been paid. We know these scriptures well, don’t we? In Romans 3:23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God but let’s look at the whole context in ROMANS 3:21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. 27Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. 29Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.