Romans 5:20

Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
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Ambrose of Milan

AD 397
When evil had appeared and innocence had been destroyed, there was no one to do good, not even one. The Lord came to restore grace to nature, in fact to give it increase, that where sin abounded, grace might more abound.
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Ambrose of Milan

AD 397
Sin abounded by the law because through the law came knowledge of sin, and it became harmful for me to know what through my weakness I could not avoid. It is good to know beforehand what one is to avoid, but if I cannot avoid something, it is harmful to have known about it. Thus was the law changed to its opposite, yet it became useful to me by the very increase of sin, for I was humbled.
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AD 400
An objector might say: “If the law merely served to increase sin, it should never have been given. If there was less sin before the law came, there was no need of the law.” Obviously the law was necessary to show that sins, which many thought they could get away with, actually counted before God and so that people might know what they ought to avoid. How could the law have increased sin, when it warns people not to sin? … The law began to show an abundance of sins, and the more it forbade them the more people committed them. That is why it is said that the law was given so that sin might increase…. In order to nullify the pride of Satan, who rejoiced in his victory over man, the just and merciful God decreed that his Son would come to forgive every sin, so that there would be more happiness from the gift of grace than there had been sorrow from the coming of sin…. Therefore grace abounded more than sin. Commentary on Paul’s Epistles.

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
By this Paul has clearly indicated that the Jews did not know by what dispensation the law had been given. It was not given in order to bring life, for grace brings life through faith, but the law was given to show with what great and tight chains those who thought they could fulfill all righteousness in their own strength were bound. So sin abounded, both because desire grew more ardent in the light of the prohibition and because the crime of trespass affected those who sinned against the law. Whoever considers the second of the four states of man will understand this.

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Prohibition increased lust. It made it unconquered so that transgression might be added, which did not exist without the law, although there was sin.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Grace means that good works are now performed by those who had earlier done evil; it does not make them continue in evil in the belief that good will be given to them in return.
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Cyril of Alexandria

AD 444
The law entered in so that the manysided nature of the fall of those who were under the law might be made clear. Nobody could ever be made righteous because of the weakness of human nature. Rather, everyone condemned themselves by their own crimes of transgression. The law came as the revealer of our common weakness, so that the human race would appear even more clearly to need the aid of the medicine of Christ. .
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Diodorus of Tarsus

AD 390
Paul does not mean that the law increased the incidence of sin but rather that once it was given it uncovered sin and showed that it was more widespread than people had thought. .
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George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Now the law entered in. Not that the law was designed for that end; but the word that, as in many other places, so here expresseth only the consequence that followed, when sinners occasionally became more guilty by the knowledge of the law, and the precepts given. St. Chrysostom takes notice that it is not said the law was given, but only that it entered in, as it were by the by, and only for a certain time, till our happy redemption, reconciliation, and justification by Jesus Christ. (Witham) That sin might abound. Not as if the law were given purposely for sin to abound; but that it so happened, through man's perversity, taking occasion of sinning more, from the prohibition of sin. (Challoner) Where sin abounded. Grace abounded in the elect; for the apostle does not say that grace abounded in every place where iniquity had abounded; but he says indefinitely where, that is, in many places where sin abounded, grace hath abounded also. (Estius) The Jews and Gentiles having become sen...

Irenaeus of Lyons

AD 202
Ignorant, however, that "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
The law was not given in order for sin to abound, for it was given in order to diminish and destroy the offense. But it resulted in the opposite happening, not because of the nature of the law but because of the weakness of those who received it…. Grace abounded much more, because it gave us not only remission from punishment but forgiveness from sin as well, and in addition, new life.
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Tertullian of Carthage

AD 220
Enemies can ever be reduced to peace. "Moreover "says he, "the law entered, that the offence might abound.". And wherefore this? "In order "he says, "that (where sin abounded), grace might much more abound.". Hy it were of God to bring only a moiety of man to salvation-and almost less than that; whereas the munificence of princes of this world always claims for itself the merit of a plenary grace! Then must the devil be understood to be stronger for injuring man, ruining him wholly? and must God have the character of comparative weakness, since He does not relieve and help man in his entire state? The apostle, however, suggests that "where sin abounded, there has grace much more abounded.". For in this way "grace shall there much more abound, where sin once abounded."

Thomas Aquinas

AD 1274
After showing that through the gift of grace that sin is removed, which entered this world through Adam [n. 430], the Apostle now shows that through Christ’s grace is taken away the sin that increased when the Law came. Concerning this he does two things. First, he mentions the increase of sin through the Law; secondly, the absolution of sin through Christ’s grace, there [v.20b; n. 464] at And where sin abounded. 449. First, therefore, he says: It has been stated that through the obedience of one man many are made just. However, it was not the Law that could achieve this; rather, the law entered in secretly [subintravit] that sin might abound. 450. Two problems arise from these statements of the Apostle. 231 First, from the statement that the Law subintravit, i.e., entered secretly, "after original and actual sin or after the natural law," as the Gloss says. For the Law did not come in secretly but was given openly, in accord with John 18(:20), "I have not spoken in secret." The answer...
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Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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