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. Chapter 3.

1 Then what advantage has the Jew? 2 What is the value of circumcision? Great, in every way. In the first place, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3 What if some of them were unfaithful? Will their faithlessness cancel the faithfulness of God? 4 [ Ps.51.4. ] Certainly not! God must be true though every man living were a liar; for we read in Scripture, 'When thou speakest thou shalt be vindicated, and win the verdict when thou art on trial.'

5 Another question: if our injustice serves to bring out God's justice, what are we to say? Is it unjust of God (I speak of him in human terms) to bring retribution upon us? 6 Certainly not! If God were unjust, how could he judge the world?

7 Again, if the truth of God brings him all the greater honour because of my falsehood, why should I any longer be condemned as a sinner? 8 Why not indeed 'do evil that good may come', as some libellously report me as saying? To condemn such men as these is surely no injustice.

There is None Righteous

9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? [Or: Are we Jews any worse off?] No, not at all! [Or: Not in all respects.] For we have already formulated the charge that Jews and Greeks alike are all under the power of sin. 10 [ Ps.14.1-3, Ps.53.1, Ec.7.20. ] This has scriptural warrant:

19 Now all the words of the law are addressed, as we know, to those who are within the pale of the law, so that no one may have anything to say in self-defence, but the whole world may be exposed to the judgement of God. 20 [ Ps.143.2. ] For (again from Scripture) 'no human being can be justified in the sight of God' for having kept the law: law brings only the consciousness of sin.

Righteousness through Faith

21 BUT NOW, quite independently of law. God's justice has been brought to light. The Law and the prophets both bear witness to it: 22 it is God's way of righting wrong, effective through faith in Christ for all who have such faith—all, without distinction. 23 For all alike have sinned, and are deprived of the divine splendour, 24 and all are justified by God's free grace alone, through his act of liberation in the person of Christ Jesus. 25 For God designed him to be the means of expiating sin by his sacrificial death, effective through faith. God meant by this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had overlooked the sins of the past— 26 to demonstrate his justice now in the present, showing that he is himself just and also justifies any man who puts his faith in Jesus.

27 What room then is left for human pride? It is excluded. And on what principle? The keeping of the law would not exclude it, but faith does. 28 For our argument is that a man is justified by faith quite apart from success in keeping the law.

29 Do you suppose God is the God of the Jews alone? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Certainly, of Gentiles also, if it be true that God is one. 30 And he will therefore justify both the circumcised in virtue of their faith, and the uncircumcised through their faith. 31 Does this mean that we are using faith to undermine law? By no means: we are placing law itself on a firmer footing.

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