Romans 3 MSG/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 So what difference does it make who's a Jew and who isn't, who has been trained in God's ways and who hasn't? 1 What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision?
2 As it turns out, it makes a lot of difference - but not the difference so many have assumed. 2 Much in every way! First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.
3 So, what if, in the course of doing that, some of those Jews abandoned their post? God didn't abandon them. Do you think their faithlessness cancels out his faithfulness? 3 What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness?
4 Not on your life! Depend on it: God keeps his word even when the whole world is lying through its teeth. Scripture says the same: Your words stand fast and true; Rejection doesn't faze you. 4 Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written: "So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge."
5 But if our wrongdoing only underlines and confirms God's rightdoing, shouldn't we be commended for helping out? Since our bad words don't even make a dent in his good words, isn't it wrong of God to back us to the wall and hold us to our word? These questions come up. 5 But if our unrighteousness brings out God's righteousness more clearly, what shall we say? That God is unjust in bringing his wrath on us? (I am using a human argument.)
6 The answer to such questions is no, a most emphatic No! How else would things ever get straightened out if God didn't do the straightening? 6 Certainly not! If that were so, how could God judge the world?
7 It's simply perverse to say, "If my lies serve to show off God's truth all the more gloriously, why blame me? I'm doing God a favor." 7 Someone might argue, "If my falsehood enhances God's truthfulness and so increases his glory, why am I still condemned as a sinner?"
8 Some people are actually trying to put such words in our mouths, claiming that we go around saying, "The more evil we do, the more good God does, so let's just do it!" That's pure slander, as I'm sure you'll agree. We're All in the Same Sinking Boat 8 Why not say--as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say--"Let us do evil that good may result"? Their condemnation is deserved.
9 So where does that put us? Do we Jews get a better break than the others? Not really. Basically, all of us, whether insiders or outsiders, start out in identical conditions, which is to say that we all start out as sinners. Scripture leaves no doubt about it: 9 What shall we conclude then? Are we any better ? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.
10 There's nobody living right, not even one, 10 As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God. 11 there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
12 They've all taken the wrong turn; they've all wandered down blind alleys. No one's living right; I can't find a single one. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."
13 Their throats are gaping graves, their tongues slick as mud slides. Every word they speak is tinged with poison. 13 "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit." "The poison of vipers is on their lips."
14 They open their mouths and pollute the air. 14 "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."
15 They race for the honor of sinner-of-the-year, 15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 litter the land with heartbreak and ruin, 16 ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 Don't know the first thing about living with others. 17 and the way of peace they do not know."
18 They never give God the time of day. 18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes."
19 This makes it clear, doesn't it, that whatever is written in these Scriptures is not what God says about others but to us to whom these Scriptures were addressed in the first place! And it's clear enough, isn't it, that we're sinners, every one of us, in the same sinking boat with everybody else? 19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.
20 Our involvement with God's revelation doesn't put us right with God. What it does is force us to face our complicity in everyone else's sin. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
21 But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. 21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
22 The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
23 Since we've compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we're in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
25 God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear. God decided on this course of action in full view of the public - to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished--
26 This is not only clear, but it's now - this is current history! God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in his rightness. 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
27 So where does that leave our proud Jewish insider claims and counterclaims? Canceled? Yes, canceled. What we've learned is this: God does not respond to what we do; we respond to what God does. 27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith.
28 We've finally figured it out. Our lives get in step with God and all others by letting him set the pace, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the parade. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.
29 And where does that leave our proud Jewish claim of having a corner on God? Also canceled. God is the God of outsider non-Jews as well as insider Jews. 29 Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too,
30 How could it be otherwise since there is only one God? God sets right all who welcome his action and enter into it, both those who follow our religious system and those who have never heard of our religion. 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.
31 But by shifting our focus from what we do to what God does, don't we cancel out all our careful keeping of the rules and ways God commanded? Not at all. What happens, in fact, is that by putting that entire way of life in its proper place, we confirm it. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.