3 Then what’s the use of being a Jew? Are there any special benefits for them from God? Is there any value in the Jewish circumcision ceremony? 2 Yes, being a Jew has many advantages.
First of all, God trusted them with his laws so that they could know and do his will.[a] 3 True, some of them were unfaithful, but just because they broke their promises to God, does that mean God will break his promises? 4 Of course not! Though everyone else in the world is a liar, God is not. Do you remember what the book of Psalms says about this?[b] That God’s words will always prove true and right, no matter who questions them.
5 “But,” some say, “our breaking faith with God is good, our sins serve a good purpose, for people will notice how good God is when they see how bad we are. Is it fair, then, for him to punish us when our sins are helping him?” (That is the way some people talk.) 6 God forbid! Then what kind of God would he be, to overlook sin? How could he ever condemn anyone? 7 For he could not judge and condemn me as a sinner if my dishonesty brought him glory by pointing up his honesty in contrast to my lies. 8 If you follow through with that idea you come to this: the worse we are, the better God likes it! But the damnation of those who say such things is just. Yet some claim that this is what I preach!
9 Well, then, are we Jews better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all men alike are sinners, whether Jews or Gentiles. 10 As the Scriptures say,
“No one is good—no one in all the world is innocent.”[c]
11 No one has ever really followed God’s paths or even truly wanted to.
12 Every one has turned away; all have gone wrong. No one anywhere has kept on doing what is right; not one.
13 Their talk is foul and filthy like the stench from an open grave.[d] Their tongues are loaded with lies. Everything they say has in it the sting and poison of deadly snakes.
14 Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.
15 They are quick to kill, hating anyone who disagrees with them.[e]
16 Wherever they go they leave misery and trouble behind them, 17 and they have never known what it is to feel secure or enjoy God’s blessing.
18 They care nothing about God nor what he thinks of them.
19 So the judgment of God lies very heavily upon the Jews, for they are responsible to keep God’s laws instead of doing all these evil things; not one of them has any excuse; in fact, all the world stands hushed and guilty before Almighty God.
20 Now do you see it? No one can ever be made right in God’s sight by doing what the law commands. For the more we know of God’s laws, the clearer it becomes that we aren’t obeying them; his laws serve only to make us see that we are sinners.
21-22 But now God has shown us a different way to heaven[f]—not by “being good enough” and trying to keep his laws, but by a new way (though not new, really, for the Scriptures told about it long ago). Now God says he will accept and acquit us—declare us “not guilty”—if we trust Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, by coming to Christ, no matter who we are or what we have been like. 23 Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal; 24 yet now God declares us “not guilty” of offending him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in his kindness freely takes away our sins.
25 For God sent Christ Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to end all God’s anger against us. He used Christ’s blood and our faith as the means of saving us from his wrath.[g] In this way he was being entirely fair, even though he did not punish those who sinned in former times. For he was looking forward to the time when Christ would come and take away those sins. 26 And now in these days also he can receive sinners in this same way because Jesus took away their sins.
But isn’t this unfair for God to let criminals go free, and say that they are innocent? No, for he does it on the basis of their trust in Jesus who took away their sins.
27 Then what can we boast about doing to earn our salvation? Nothing at all. Why? Because our acquittal is not based on our good deeds; it is based on what Christ has done and our faith in him. 28 So it is that we are saved[h] by faith in Christ and not by the good things we do.
29 And does God save only the Jews in this way? No, the Gentiles, too, may come to him in this same manner. 30 God treats us all the same; all, whether Jews or Gentiles, are acquitted if they have faith. 31 Well then, if we are saved by faith, does this mean that we no longer need obey God’s laws? Just the opposite! In fact, only when we trust Jesus can we truly obey him.
- Romans 3:2 so that they could know and do his will, implied.
- Romans 3:4 See Psalm 51:4.
- Romans 3:10 See Psalm 14:3.
- Romans 3:13 Their talk is foul and filthy like the stench from an open grave, literally, “Their throat is an open grave.” Perhaps the meaning is “Their speech injures others.”
- Romans 3:15 hating anyone who disagrees with them, implied.
- Romans 3:21 now God has shown us a different way to heaven, literally, “now a righteousness of God has been manifested.”
- Romans 3:25 as the means of saving us from his wrath, literally, “to be a propitiation.”
- Romans 3:28 saved, literally, “justified.”