All the World Guilty
1Then what is the advantage of the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? 2Great in every respect. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God [His very words]. 3What then? If some did not believe or were unfaithful [to God], their lack of belief will not nullify and make invalid the faithfulness of God and His word, will it? 4Certainly not! Let God be found true [as He will be], though every person be found a liar, just as it is written [in Scripture],
“That You may be justified in Your words,
And prevail when You are judged [by sinful men].”
5But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? God is not wrong to inflict His wrath [on us], is He? (I am speaking in purely human terms.) 6Certainly not! For otherwise, how will God judge the world? 7But [as you might say] if through my lie God’s truth was magnified and abounded to His glory, why am I still being judged as a sinner? 8And why not say, (as some slanderously report and claim that we teach) “Let us do evil so that good may come of it”? Their condemnation [by God] is just.
9Well then, are we [Jews] better off than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles) are under the control of sin and subject to its power. 10As it is written and forever remains written,
“There is none righteous [none that meets God’s standard], not even one.
11There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God.
12All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”
13“Their throat is an open grave;
They [habitually] deceive with their tongues.”
“The venom of asps is beneath their lips.”
14“Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
15“Their feet are swift to shed blood,
16Destruction and misery are in their paths,
17And they have not known the path of peace.”
18“There is no fear of God [and His awesome power] before their eyes.”
19Now we know that whatever the Law [of Moses] says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that [the excuses of] every mouth may be silenced [from protesting] and that all the world may be held accountable to God [and subject to His judgment]. 20For no person will be justified [freed of guilt and declared righteous] in His sight by [trying to do] the works of the Law. For through the Law we become conscious of sin [and the recognition of sin directs us toward repentance, but provides no remedy for sin].
Justification by Faith
21But now the righteousness of God has been clearly revealed [independently and completely] apart from the Law, though it is [actually] confirmed by the Law and the [words and writings of the] Prophets. 22This righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ for all those [Jew or Gentile] who believe [and trust in Him and acknowledge Him as God’s Son]. There is no distinction, 23since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God, 24and are being justified [declared free of the guilt of sin, made acceptable to God, and granted eternal life] as a gift by His [precious, undeserved] grace, through the redemption [the payment for our sin] which is [provided] in Christ Jesus, 25whom God displayed publicly [before the eyes of the world] as a [life-giving] sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation (propitiation) by His blood [to be received] through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness [which demands punishment for sin], because in His forbearance [His deliberate restraint] He passed over the sins previously committed [before Jesus’ crucifixion]. 26It was to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the One who justifies those who have faith in Jesus [and rely confidently on Him as Savior].
27Then what becomes of [our] boasting? It is excluded [entirely ruled out, banished]. On what principle? On [the principle of good] works? No, but on the principle of faith. 28For we maintain that an individual is justified by faith distinctly apart from works of the Law [the observance of which has nothing to do with justification, that is, being declared free of the guilt of sin and made acceptable to God]. 29Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not also the God of Gentiles [who were not given the Law]? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30since indeed it is one [and the same] God who will justify the circumcised by faith [which began with Abraham] and the uncircumcised through [their newly acquired] faith.
31Do we then nullify the Law by this faith [making the Law of no effect, overthrowing it]? Certainly not! On the contrary, we confirm and establish and uphold the Law [since it convicts us all of sin, pointing to the need for salvation].