What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God.
What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written:
“So that you may be proved right when you speak
and prevail when you judge.”3:4 Psalm 51:4
But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.) Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?” Why not say—as some slanderously claim that we say—“Let us do evil that good may result”? Their condemnation is just!
No One Is Righteous
What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”3:12 Psalms 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Eccles. 7:20
“Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.”3:13 Psalm 5:9
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”3:13 Psalm 140:3
“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”3:14 Psalm 10:7 (see Septuagint)
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and misery mark their ways,
and the way of peace they do not know.”3:17 Isaiah 59:7,8
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”3:18 Psalm 36:1
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.