Paul Answers Questions
(1) Some will ask me, “Then what advantage is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision?” (2) Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God.
(3) Some will ask me, “What if some Jews were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness invalidate God’s faithfulness?” (4) Absolutely not! Let God be true, and every person a liar, as it is written in Psalm 51:4, “So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you are being judged.”
(5) Some will ask me, “But if our unrighteousness brings out God’s righteousness more clearly, what should we say? That God is unjust to pour out his wrath on us?” (I am using a human argument.) (6) Absolutely not! If that were true, how could God judge the world?
(7) Some might argue with me, “If my lies enhance God’s truthfulness and so increase his majestic glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?” (8) Some people slander us by saying that we teach, “Let us do evil that good may result,” but their judgment is just!
Everyone is Under the Power of Sin
(9) Some will ask me, “What then should we conclude? Are we Jews better off before God than non-Jews?” Absolutely not! For we have already made it clear that Jews and non-Jews both live under the power of sin.
(10) This truth is written in the following passages from God’s word: Psalm 14:1-3 says, “There is no one righteous, not even one. (11) There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. (12) All have turned away. They have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (13) Psalm 5:9 says, “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” Psalm 140:3 says, “The poison of snakes is on their lips.” (14) Psalm 10:7 says, “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” (15) Isaiah 59:7-8 says, “Their feet are swift to shed blood; (16) ruin and misery mark their ways, (17) and the way of peace they do not know,” (18) and Psalm 36:1 says, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
(19) Now we know that the law of Moses speaks only to Jews who are under the law, so that every person’s boasting will be silenced and the whole world will be held accountable (answerable) to God. (20) Therefore no one will be made right (declared righteous, justified) in God’s sight by observing the works of the law of Moses, because it is through the law we become aware of our sin.
(After Paul emphasizes that humankind is under the power of sin and faces the just judgment of God in the section 1:18-3:20, he now returns his focus to the gospel of Jesus).
God’s Righteousness by Faith
(21) But now God’s righteousness has been revealed apart from the law of Moses, to which the law and (Old Testament) prophets bear witness. (22) The righteousness of God is given through faith in Jesus Christ to everyone who believes. There is no difference between Jews and non-Jews, (23) because all have sinned and fallen short of the wondrous glory of God, (24) and all are made right (declared righteous, justified) freely by God’s gift of grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ.
(25) God offered Christ as the atoning sacrifice (propitiation) for our sin, through the shedding of his blood on the cross—which is received by faith. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his divine patience he had left the sins committed in the past (during the time of the Old Testament) unpunished—(26) he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time (during the time of New Testament), so that he would be just and the one who justifies (declares righteous) those who have faith in Jesus.
(27) Therefore, where is the boasting of human pride? It is eliminated. By what kind of law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. (28) For we contend that a person is made right (declared righteous, justified) with God by faith apart from the works of the law of Moses. (29) Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of non-Jews also? Absolutely, of the nations too, (30) because there is only one God, who will justify (declare right with God) both circumcised Jews and uncircumcised non-Jews through the same faith.
(31) Some will ask me, “Then does this mean we abolish the law of Moses by faith?” Absolutely not! Rather, it is through faith that we fulfill the law.