Romans 1; Romans 2; Romans 3

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Romans 1

1 From Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus. God called me to be an apostle and chose me to tell the Good News.
2 God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets, asit is written in the Holy Scriptures.
4 The Good News is about God's Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. As a man, he was born from the family of David. But through the Spirit of holiness he was appointed to be God's Son with great power by rising from the dead.
5 Through Christ, God gave me the special work of an apostle, which was to lead people of all nations to believe and obey. I do this work for him.
6 And you who are in Rome are also called to belong to Jesus Christ.
7 To all of you in Rome whom God loves and has called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
8 First I want to say that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because people everywhere in the world are talking about your faith.
9 God, whom I serve with my whole heart by telling the Good News about his Son, knows that I always mention you
10 every time I pray. I pray that I will be allowed to come to you, and this will happen if God wants it.
11 I want very much to see you, to give you some spiritual gift to make you strong.
12 I mean that I want us to help each other with the faith we have. Your faith will help me, and my faith will help you.
13 Brothers and sisters, I want you to know that I planned many times to come to you, but this has not been possible. I wanted to come so that I could help you grow spiritually as I have helped the other non-Jewish people.
14 I have a duty to all people -- Greeks and those who are not Greeks, the wise and the foolish.
15 That is why I want so much to preach the Good News to you in Rome.
16 I am proud of the Good News, because it is the power God uses to save everyone who believes -- to save the Jews first, and also to save those who are not Jews.
17 The Good News shows how God makes people right with himself -- that it begins and ends with faith. As the Scripture says, "But those who are right with God will live by trusting in him."
18 God's anger is shown from heaven against all the evil and wrong things people do. By their own evil lives they hide the truth.
19 God shows his anger because some knowledge of him has been made clear to them. Yes, God has shown himself to them.
20 There are things about him that people cannot see -- his eternal power and all the things that make him God. But since the beginning of the world those things have been easy to understand by what God has made. So people have no excuse for the bad things they do.
21 They knew God, but they did not give glory to God or thank him. Their thinking became useless. Their foolish minds were filled with darkness.
22 They said they were wise, but they became fools.
23 They traded the glory of God who lives forever for the worship of idols made to look like earthly people, birds, animals, and snakes.
24 Because they did these things, God left them and let them go their sinful way, wanting only to do evil. As a result, they became full of sexual sin, using their bodies wrongly with each other.
25 They traded the truth of God for a lie. They worshiped and served what had been created instead of the God who created those things, who should be praised forever. Amen.
26 Because people did those things, God left them and let them do the shameful things they wanted to do. Women stopped having natural sex and started having sex with other women.
27 In the same way, men stopped having natural sex and began wanting each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and in their bodies they received the punishment for those wrongs.
28 People did not think it was important to have a true knowledge of God. So God left them and allowed them to have their own worthless thinking and to do things they should not do.
29 They are filled with every kind of sin, evil, selfishness, and hatred. They are full of jealousy, murder, fighting, lying, and thinking the worst about each other. They gossip
30 and say evil things about each other. They hate God. They are rude and conceited and brag about themselves. They invent ways of doing evil. They do not obey their parents.
31 They are foolish, they do not keep their promises, and they show no kindness or mercy to others.
32 They know God's law says that those who live like this should die. But they themselves not only continue to do these evil things, they applaud others who do them.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Romans 2

1 If you think you can judge others, you are wrong. When you judge them, you are really judging yourself guilty, because you do the same things they do.
2 God judges those who do wrong things, and we know that his judging is right.
3 You judge those who do wrong, but you do wrong yourselves. Do you think you will be able to escape the judgment of God?
4 He has been very kind and patient, waiting for you to change, but you think nothing of his kindness. Perhaps you do not understand that God is kind to you so you will change your hearts and lives.
5 But you are stubborn and refuse to change, so you are making your own punishment even greater on the day he shows his anger. On that day everyone will see God's right judgments.
6 God will reward or punish every person for what that person has done.
7 Some people, by always continuing to do good, live for God's glory, for honor, and for life that has no end. God will give them life forever.
8 But other people are selfish. They refuse to follow truth and, instead, follow evil. God will give them his punishment and anger.
9 He will give trouble and suffering to everyone who does evil -- to the Jews first and also to those who are not Jews.
10 But he will give glory, honor, and peace to everyone who does good -- to the Jews first and also to those who are not Jews.
11 For God judges all people in the same way.
12 People who do not have the law and who are sinners will be lost, although they do not have the law. And, in the same way, those who have the law and are sinners will be judged by the law.
13 Hearing the law does not make people right with God. It is those who obey the law who will be right with him.
14 (Those who are not Jews do not have the law, but when they freely do what the law commands, they are the law for themselves. This is true even though they do not have the law.
15 They show that in their hearts they know what is right and wrong, just as the law commands. And they show this by their consciences. Sometimes their thoughts tell them they did wrong, and sometimes their thoughts tell them they did right.)
16 All these things will happen on the day when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge people's secret thoughts. The Good News that I preach says this.
17 What about you? You call yourself a Jew. You trust in the law of Moses and brag that you are close to God.
18 You know what he wants you to do and what is important, because you have learned the law.
19 You think you are a guide for the blind and a light for those who are in darkness.
20 You think you can show foolish people what is right and teach those who know nothing. You have the law; so you think you know everything and have all truth.
21 You teach others, so why don't you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but you steal.
22 You say that others must not take part in adultery, but you are guilty of that sin. You hate idols, but you steal from temples.
23 You brag about having God's law, but you bring shame to God by breaking his law,
24 just as the Scriptures say: "Those who are not Jews speak against God's name because of you."
25 If you follow the law, your circumcision has meaning. But if you break the law, it is as if you were never circumcised.
26 People who are not Jews are not circumcised, but if they do what the law says, it is as if they were circumcised.
27 You Jews have the written law and circumcision, but you break the law. So those who are not circumcised in their bodies, but still obey the law, will show that you are guilty.
28 They can do this because a person is not a true Jew if he is only a Jew in his physical body; true circumcision is not only on the outside of the body.
29 A person is a Jew only if he is a Jew inside; true circumcision is done in the heart by the Spirit, not by the written law. Such a person gets praise from God rather than from people.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Romans 3

1 So, do Jews have anything that other people do not have? Is there any- thing special about being circumcised?
2 Yes, of course, there is in every way. The most important thing is this: God trusted the Jews with his teachings.
3 If some Jews were not faithful to him, will that stop God from doing what he promised?
4 No! God will continue to be true even when every person is false. As the Scriptures say: "So you will be shown to be right when you speak, and you will win your case."
5 When we do wrong, that shows more clearly that God is right. So can we say that God is wrong to punish us? (I am talking as people might talk.)
6 No! If God could not punish us, he could not judge the world.
7 A person might say, "When I lie, it really gives him glory, because my lie shows God's truth. So why am I judged a sinner?"
8 It would be the same to say, "We should do evil so that good will come." Some people find fault with us and say we teach this, but they are wrong and deserve the punishment they will receive.
9 So are we Jews better than others? No! We have already said that Jews and those who are not Jews are all guilty of sin.
10 As the Scriptures say: "There is no one who always does what is right, not even one.
11 There is no one who understands. There is no one who looks to God for help.
12 All have turned away. Together, everyone has become useless. There is no one who does anything good; there is not even one."
13 "Their throats are like open graves; they use their tongues for telling lies." "Their words are like snake poison."
14 "Their mouths are full of cursing and hate."
15 "They are always ready to kill people.
16 Everywhere they go they cause ruin and misery.
17 They don't know how to live in peace."
18 "They have no fear of God."
19 We know that the law's commands are for those who have the law. This stops all excuses and brings the whole world under God's judgment,
20 because no one can be made right with God by following the law. The law only shows us our sin.
21 But God has a way to make people right with him without the law, and he has now shown us that way which the law and the prophets told us about.
22 God makes people right with himself through their faith in Jesus Christ. This is true for all who believe in Christ, because all people are the same:
23 All have sinned and are not good enough for God's glory,
24 and all need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ.
25 God gave him as a way to forgive sin through faith in the blood of Jesus' death. This showed that God always does what is right and fair, as in the past when he was patient and did not punish people for their sins.
26 And God gave Jesus to show today that he does what is right. God did this so he could judge rightly and so he could make right any person who has faith in Jesus.
27 So do we have a reason to brag about ourselves? No! And why not? It is the way of faith that stops all bragging, not the way of trying to obey the law.
28 A person is made right with God through faith, not through obeying the law.
29 Is God only the God of the Jews? Is he not also the God of those who are not Jews?
30 Of course he is, because there is only one God. He will make Jews right with him by their faith, and he will also make those who are not Jews right with him through their faith.
31 So do we destroy the law by following the way of faith? No! Faith causes us to be what the law truly wants.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.