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Chapter 3

1What advantage is there then in being a Jew, and what is the use of circumcision? 2A great deal, from every point of view. In the first place, the Jews were intrusted with the utterances of God. 3What if some of them have shown a lack of faith? Can their lack of it nullify the faithfulness of God? 4By no means! God must prove true, though every man be false; as the Scripture says,

“That you may be shown to be upright in what you say,

And win your case when you go into court.”

5But if our wrongdoing brings out the uprightness of God, what are we to say? Is it wrong in God (I am putting it in ordinary human terms) to inflict punishment? 6By no means, for then how could he judge the world? 7But, you say, if a falsehood of mine has brought great honor to God by bringing out his truthfulness, why am I tried for being a sinner? 8And why not say, as people abuse us for saying and charge us with saying, “Let us do evil that good may come out of it”? Such people will be condemned as they deserve!

9What does this mean? Are we Jews at a disadvantage? Not at all. We have already charged Jews and Greeks all alike with being under the control of sin. 10As the Scripture says,

“There is not a single man who is upright,

11No one understands, no one searches for God.

12All have turned away, they are one and all worthless,

No one does right, not a single one!

13Their throats are like open graves,

They use their tongues to deceive;

The venom of asps is behind their lips,

14And their mouths are full of bitter curses.

15Their feet are swift when it comes to shedding blood,

16Ruin and wretchedness mark their paths,

17They do not know the way of peace.

18There is no reverence for God before their eyes!”

19Now we know that everything the Law says is addressed to those under its authority, so that every mouth may be shut, and the whole world be made accountable to God. 20For no human being can be made upright in the sight of God by observing the Law. All that the Law can do is to make man conscious of sin. 21But now God’s way of uprightness has been disclosed without any reference to law, though the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it. 22It is God’s way of uprightness and comes through having faith in Jesus Christ, and it is for all who have faith, without distinction. 23For all men sin and come short of the glory of God, 24but by his mercy they are made upright for nothing, by the deliverance secured through Christ Jesus. 25For God showed him publicly dying as a sacrifice of reconciliation to be taken advantage of through faith. This was to vindicate his own justice (for in his forbearance, God passed over men’s former sins)— 26to vindicate his justice at the present time, and show that he is upright himself, and that he makes those who have faith in Jesus upright also.

27Then what becomes of our boasting? It is shut out. On what principle? What a man does? No, but whether a man has faith. 28For we hold that a man is made upright by faith; the observance of the Law has nothing to do with it. 29Does God belong to the Jews alone? Does he not belong to the heathen too? Of course he belongs to the heathen too; 30there is but one God, and he will make the circumcised upright on the ground of their faith and the uncircumcised upright because of theirs.” 31Is this using faith to overthrow law? Far from it. This confirms the Law.

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