1What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? 2Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God.
3What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? 4Not 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
5But 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.) 6Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? 7Someone might argue, “If my falsehood enhances God’s truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?” 8Why 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
9What 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. 10As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12All 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
13“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
14“Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”3:14 Psalm 10:7 (see Septuagint)
15“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16ruin and misery mark their ways,
17and the way of peace they do not know.”3:17 Isaiah 59:7,8
18“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”3:18 Psalm 36:1
19Now 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. 20Therefore 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.
Righteousness Through Faith
21But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness is given through faith in3:22 Or through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,3:25 The Greek for sacrifice of atonement refers to the atonement cover on the ark of the covenant (see Lev. 16:15,16). through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his righteousness 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. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. 28For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29Or is 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.
God Is Faithful
1Is there any advantage in being a Jew? Is there any value in being circumcised? 2There is great value in every way! First of all, the Jews have been given the very words of God.
3What if some Jews were not faithful? Will the fact that they weren’t faithful keep God from being faithful? 4Not at all! God is true, even if every human being is a liar. It is written,
“You are right when you sentence me.
You are fair when you judge me.” (Psalm 51:4)
5Doesn’t the fact that we are wrong prove more clearly that God is right? Then what can we say? Can we say that God is not fair when he brings his anger down on us? As you can tell, I am just using human ways of thinking. 6God is certainly fair! If he weren’t, how could he judge the world? 7Someone might argue, “When I lie, it becomes clearer that God is truthful. It makes his glory shine more brightly. Why then does he find me guilty of sin?” 8Why not say, “Let’s do evil things so that good things will happen”? Some people actually lie by reporting that this is what we say. They are the ones who will rightly be found guilty.
No One Is Right With God
9What should we say then? Do we Jews have any advantage? Not at all! We have already claimed that Jews and Gentiles are sinners. Everyone is under the power of sin. 10It is written,
“No one is right with God, no one at all.
11No one understands.
No one trusts in God.
12All of them have turned away.
They have all become worthless.
No one does anything good,
no one at all.” (Psalms 14:1–3; 53:1–3; Ecclesiastes 7:20)
13“Their throats are like open graves.
With their tongues they tell lies.” (Psalm 5:9)
“The words from their lips are like the poison of a snake.” (Psalm 140:3)
14“Their mouths are full of curses and bitterness.” (Psalm 10:7)
15“They run quickly to commit murder.
16They leave a trail of harmful actions.
17They do not know how to live in peace.” (Isaiah 59:7,8)
18“They don’t have any respect for God.” (Psalm 36:1)
19What the law says, it says to those who are ruled by the law. Its purpose is to shut every mouth and make the whole world accountable to God. 20So no one will be considered right with God by obeying the law. Instead, the law makes us more aware of our sin.
Becoming Right With God by Faith
21But now God has shown us his saving power without the help of the law. But the Law and the Prophets tell us about this. 22We are made right with God by putting our faith in Jesus Christ. This happens to all who believe. It is no different for the Jews than for the Gentiles. 23Everyone has sinned. No one measures up to God’s glory. 24The free gift of God’s grace makes us right with him. Christ Jesus paid the price to set us free. 25God gave Christ as a sacrifice to pay for sins through the spilling of his blood. So God forgives the sins of those who have faith. God did all this to prove that he does what is right. He is a God of mercy. So he did not punish for their sins the people who lived before Jesus lived. 26God did all this to prove in our own time that he does what is right. He also makes right with himself those who believe in Jesus.
27So who can brag? No one! Are people saved by the law that requires them to obey? Not at all! They are saved because of the law that requires faith. 28We firmly believe that a person is made right with God because of their faith. They are not saved by obeying the law. 29Or is God the God of Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of Gentiles? Yes, he is their God too. 30There is only one God. When those who are circumcised believe in him, he makes them right with himself. Suppose those who are not circumcised believe in him. Then God also will make them right with himself. 31Does faith make the law useless? Not at all! We agree with the law.