Psalms 51; Psalms 52; Psalms 53; Romans 2

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Psalms 51

1 Have pity on me, O God, in keeping with your mercy. In keeping with your unlimited compassion, wipe out my rebellious acts.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my guilt, and cleanse me from my sin.
3 I admit that I am rebellious. My sin is always in front of me.
4 I have sinned against you, especially you. I have done what you consider evil. So you hand down justice when you speak, and you are blameless when you judge.
5 Indeed, I was born guilty. I was a sinner when my mother conceived me.
6 Yet, you desire truth and sincerity. Deep down inside me you teach me wisdom.
7 Purify me from sin with hyssop, and I will be clean. Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear [sounds of] joy and gladness. Let the bones that you have broken dance.
9 Hide your face from my sins, and wipe out all that I have done wrong.
10 Create a clean heart in me, O God, and renew a faithful spirit within me.
11 Do not force me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and provide me with a spirit of willing obedience.
13 [Then] I will teach your ways to those who are rebellious, and sinners will return to you.
14 Rescue me from the guilt of murder, O God, my savior. Let my tongue sing joyfully about your righteousness!
15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will tell about your praise.
16 You are not happy with any sacrifice. Otherwise, I would offer one [to you]. You are not pleased with burnt offerings.
17 The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. O God, you do not despise a broken and sorrowful heart.
18 Favor Zion with your goodness. Rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit-- with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings. Young bulls will be offered on your altar.

Psalms 52

1 Why do you brag about the evil you've done, you hero? The mercy of God lasts all day long!
2 Your tongue makes up threats. It's like a sharp razor, you master of deceit.
3 You prefer evil to good. You prefer lying to speaking the truth. Selah
4 You love every destructive accusation, you deceitful tongue!
5 But God will ruin you forever. He will grab you and drag you out of your tent. He will pull your roots out of this world of the living. Selah
6 Righteous people will see [this] and be struck with fear. They will laugh at you and say,
7 "Look at this person who refused to make God his fortress! Instead, he trusted his great wealth and became strong through his greed."
8 But I am like a large olive tree in God's house. I trust the mercy of God forever and ever.
9 I will give thanks to you forever for what you have done. In the presence of your godly people, I will wait with hope in your good name.

Psalms 53

1 Godless fools say in their hearts, "There is no God." They are corrupt. They do disgusting things. There is no one who does good things.
2 God looks down from heaven on Adam's descendants to see if there is anyone who acts wisely, if there is anyone who seeks help from God.
3 Everyone has fallen away. Together they have become rotten to the core. No one, not even one person, does good things.
4 Are all those troublemakers, those who devour my people as if they were devouring food, so ignorant that they do not call on God?
5 There they are--panic-stricken-- [but] there was no reason to panic, because God has scattered the bones of those who set up camp against you. You put them to shame. After all, God has rejected them.
6 If only salvation for Israel would come from Zion! When God restores the fortunes of his people, Jacob will rejoice. Israel will be glad.

Romans 2

1 No matter who you are, if you judge anyone, you have no excuse. When you judge another person, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things.
2 We know that God's judgment is right when he condemns people for doing these things.
3 When you judge people for doing these things but then do them yourself, do you think you will escape God's judgment?
4 Do you have contempt for God, who is very kind to you, puts up with you, and deals patiently with you? Don't you realize that it is God's kindness that is trying to lead you to him and change the way you think and act?
5 Since you are stubborn and don't want to change the way you think and act, you are adding to the anger that God will have against you on that day when God vents his anger. At that time God will reveal that his decisions are fair.
6 He will pay all people back for what they have done.
7 He will give everlasting life to those who search for glory, honor, and immortality by persisting in doing what is good. But he will bring
8 anger and fury on those who, in selfish pride, refuse to believe the truth and who follow what is wrong.
9 There will be suffering and distress for every person who does evil, for Jews first and Greeks as well.
10 But there will be glory, honor, and peace for every person who does what is good, for Jews first and Greeks as well.
11 God does not play favorites.
12 Here's the reason: Whoever sins without having laws from God will still be condemned to destruction. And whoever has laws from God and sins will still be judged by them.
13 People who merely listen to laws from God don't have God's approval. Rather, people who do what those laws demand will have God's approval.
14 For example, whenever non-Jews who don't have laws from God do by nature the things that Moses' Teachings contain, they are a law to themselves even though they don't have any laws from God.
15 They show that some requirements found in Moses' Teachings are written in their hearts. Their consciences speak to them. Their thoughts accuse them on one occasion and defend them on another.
16 This happens as they face the day when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge people's secret thoughts. He will use the Good News that I am spreading to make that judgment.
17 You call yourself a Jew, rely on the laws in Moses' Teachings, brag about your God,
18 know what he wants, and distinguish right from wrong because you have been taught Moses' Teachings.
19 You are confident that you are a guide for the blind, a light to those in the dark,
20 an instructor of ignorant people, and a teacher of children because you have the full content of knowledge and truth in Moses' Teachings.
21 As you teach others, are you failing to teach yourself? As you preach against stealing, are you stealing?
22 As you tell others not to commit adultery, are you committing adultery? As you treat idols with disgust, are you robbing temples?
23 As you brag about the laws in Moses' Teachings, are you dishonoring God by ignoring Moses' Teachings?
24 As Scripture says, "God's name is cursed among the nations because of you."
25 For example, circumcision is valuable if you follow Moses' laws. If you don't follow those laws, your circumcision amounts to uncircumcision.
26 So if a man does what Moses' Teachings demand, won't he be considered circumcised even if he is uncircumcised?
27 The uncircumcised man who carries out what Moses' Teachings say will condemn you for not following them. He will condemn you in spite of the fact that you are circumcised and have Moses' Teachings in writing.
28 A person is not a Jew because of his appearance, nor is circumcision a matter of how the body looks.
29 Rather, a person is a Jew inwardly, and circumcision is something that happens in a person's heart. Circumcision is spiritual, not just a written rule. That person's praise will come from God, not from people.