Everyone Is a Sinner
1Is there any advantage, then, in being a Jew? Or is there any value in being circumcised? 2There are all kinds of advantages. First of all, God entrusted them with his word.
3What if some of them were unfaithful? Can their unfaithfulness cancel God’s faithfulness? 4That would be unthinkable! God is honest, and everyone else is a liar, as Scripture says,
“So you hand down justice when you speak,
and you win your case in court.”
5But if what we do wrong shows that God is fair, what should we say? Is God unfair when he vents his anger on us? (I’m arguing the way humans would.) 6That’s unthinkable! Otherwise, how would God be able to judge the world? 7If my lie increases the glory that God receives by showing that God is truthful, why am I still judged as a sinner? 8Or can we say, “Let’s do evil so that good will come from it”? Some slander us and claim that this is what we say. They are condemned, and that’s what they deserve.
9What, then, is the situation? Do we have any advantage? Not at all. We have already accused everyone (both Jews and Greeks) of being under the power of sin, 10as Scripture says,
“Not one person has God’s approval.
11No one understands.
No one searches for God.
12Everyone has turned away.
Together they have become rotten to the core.
No one does anything good,
not even one person.
13Their throats are open graves.
Their tongues practice deception.
Their lips hide the venom of poisonous snakes.
14Their mouths are full of curses and bitter resentment.
15They run quickly to murder people.
16There is ruin and suffering wherever they go.
17They have not learned to live in peace.
18They are not terrified of God.”
19We know that whatever the Scriptures say applies to everyone under their influence, and no one can say a thing. The whole world is brought under the judgment of God. 20Not one person can have God’s approval by any effort to follow the laws in the Scriptures. These laws show what sin is.
God Gives Us His Approval as a Gift
21Now, the way to receive God’s approval has been made plain in a way other than the laws in the Scriptures. Moses’ Teachings and the Prophets tell us this. 22Everyone who believes has God’s approval through faith in Jesus Christ.
There is no difference between people. 23Because all people have sinned, they have fallen short of God’s glory. 24They receive God’s approval freely by an act of his kindness #3:24 Or “grace.” through the price Christ Jesus paid to set us free ⌞from sin⌟. 25God showed that Christ is the throne of mercy where God’s approval is given through faith in Christ’s blood. In his patience God waited to deal with sins committed in the past. 26He waited so that he could display his approval at the present time. This shows that he is a God of justice, a God who approves of people who believe in Jesus.
27So, do we have anything to brag about? Bragging has been eliminated. On what basis was it eliminated? On the basis of our own efforts? No, indeed! Rather, it is eliminated on the basis of faith. 28We conclude that a person has God’s approval by faith, not by his own efforts.
29Is God only the God of the Jews? Isn’t he also the God of people who are not Jewish? Certainly, he is, 30since it is the same God who approves circumcised people by faith and uncircumcised people through this same faith.
31Are we abolishing the laws in the Scriptures by this faith? That’s unthinkable! Rather, we are supporting these laws.