Then what's the advantage of being a Jew? Is there any value in the Jewish ceremony of circumcision?
Yes, being a Jew has many advantages. First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the whole revelation of God.
References for Romans 3:2
True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they broke their promises, does that mean God will break his promises?
Of course not! Though everyone else in the world is a liar, God is true. As the Scriptures say, "He will be proved right in what he says, and he will win his case in court."
References for Romans 3:4
"But," some say, "our sins serve a good purpose, for people will see God's goodness when he declares us sinners to be innocent. Isn't it unfair, then, for God to punish us?" (That is actually the way some people talk.)
Of course not! If God is not just, how is he qualified to judge the world?
"But," some might still argue, "how can God judge and condemn me as a sinner if my dishonesty highlights his truthfulness and brings him more glory?"
If you follow that kind of thinking, however, you might as well say that the more we sin the better it is! Those who say such things deserve to be condemned, yet some slander me by saying this is what I preach!
Well then, are we Jews better than others? No, not at all, for we have already shown that all people, whether Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin.
References for Romans 3:9
As the Scriptures say, "No one is good -- not even one.
No one has real understanding; no one is seeking God.
All have turned away from God; all have gone wrong. No one does good, not even one."
References for Romans 3:12
"Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their speech is filled with lies." "The poison of a deadly snake drips from their lips."
References for Romans 3:13
"Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."
References for Romans 3:14
"They are quick to commit murder.
Wherever they go, destruction and misery follow them.
They do not know what true peace is."
References for Romans 3:17
"They have no fear of God to restrain them."
References for Romans 3:18
Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses and to bring the entire world into judgment before God.
For no one can ever be made right in God's sight by doing what his law commands. For the more we know God's law, the clearer it becomes that we aren't obeying it.
But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight -- not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago.
We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done.
For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard.
Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins.
For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God's anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when he did not punish those who sinned in former times.
And he is entirely fair and just in this present time when he declares sinners to be right in his sight because they believe in Jesus.
Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on our good deeds. It is based on our faith.
So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.
After all, God is not the God of the Jews only, is he? Isn't he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is.
There is only one God, and there is only one way of being accepted by him. He makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles.
Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.