Sunday School Lessons

Why Do We Need These Rules?

Do you ever wish that there weren’t so many rules?  Trust me, having had to go through tax forms this year, I am fully in support of reducing the number of rules.  Sometimes, when you read those online lists of funny laws throughout the country, you might wonder why they even exist.  Like I tell my kids, though, many of them were probably written because somebody did something stupid, so an extra law was written to try and prevent that from happening again (or to give the government the right to punish those who continued to practice that bad behavior).

Now, human laws are imperfect, and sometimes lawmakers make bad choices, so not every law is the result of “creative sinning”.  However, rules in general have a purpose, and – despite the issues that we may have with certain laws – the idea of laws isn’t inherently bad.

Take a look at these verses from the book of Romans:

The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 5:20‭-‬21 NIV

The law that is referred to here made us aware of sin, and it definitely served that purpose.  There are more than enough lists of sins in the Bible to convict anyone who reads them, although I doubt that any of us would even get out of the Ten Commandments – see Exodus 20:1-17 – before finding a law that we’ve broken.

However, the more that we understand our sin, the more that we can understand how great God’s grace is.  If God had just saved you or me from a couple of sins, we might undervalue or under-appreciate His grace.  Since He has saved us from more sins than we can count, though, we see just how great this grace is.

Although God knew all of the ways that we would sin, we might say that His grace keeps expanding to justify us (or we keep seeing more of His great grace), despite all of those sins.  Every time the Bible convicts us of past or present sin, we learn just a little bit more about God’s grace, which – if we have accepted it on faith and have turned back to Him – takes care of those sins, too.

For those who trust in the law for their salvation, though, it actually has the effect of multiplying our sins, whether by pointing them out or causing our sinful nature to tempt us to break the rules.  The consequences of these sins is death.

On the other hand, for those who trust in God’s grace for our salvation, the law has the effect of multiplying righteousness, and bringing us to eternal life.  I’d call that a better choice than the law, any day!

So, when your sins get you down, and you fight against transgressions that seem to keep pulling you in, don’t look to the law that condemns you.  Remember (or re-read) Romans 5, and remember that, like the old hymn says, God’s grace is greater than all of our sin.

From Sunday School lesson prepared for February 13, 2022


  • The Lookout, February 13, 2022, © 2022 Christian Standard Media.
  • Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
  • The College Press Commentary, Romans, Volume 1, by Jack Cottrell.  College Press Publishing Company, © 1996.

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