Acts 20:1-3; Romans 1; Romans 2; Romans 3

1 All the trouble came to an end. Then Paul sent for the believers. After cheering them up, he said good-by. He then left for Macedonia. 2 He traveled through that area, speaking many words of hope to the people. Finally he arrived in Greece. 3 There he stayed for three months. He was just about to sail for Syria. But the Jews were making plans against him. So he decided to go back through Macedonia.
1 I, Paul, am writing this letter. I serve Christ Jesus. I have been appointed to be an apostle. God set me apart to tell others his good news. 2 He promised the good news long ago. He announced it through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures. 3 The good news is about God's Son. As a human being, the Son of God belonged to King David's family line. 4 By the power of the Holy Spirit, he was appointed to be the mighty Son of God because he rose from the dead. He is Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 I received God's grace because of what Jesus did so that I could bring glory to him. He made me an apostle to all those who aren't Jews. I must invite them to have faith in God and obey him. 6 You also are among those who are appointed to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 I am sending this letter to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and appointed to be his people. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you. People all over the world are talking about your faith. 9 I serve God with my whole heart. I preach the good news about his Son. God knows that I always remember you 10 in my prayers. I pray that now at last it may be God's plan to open the way for me to visit you. 11 I long to see you. I want to make you strong by giving you a gift from the Holy Spirit. 12 I want us to cheer each other up by sharing our faith. 13 Brothers and sisters, I want you to know that I planned many times to visit you. But until now I have been kept from coming. My work has produced results among others who are not Jews. In the same way, I want to see results among you. 14 I have a duty both to Greeks and to non-Greeks. I have a duty both to wise people and to foolish people. 15 So I really want to preach the good news also to you who live in Rome. 16 I am not ashamed of the good news. It is God's power. And it will save everyone who believes. It is meant first for the Jews. It is meant also for those who aren't Jews. 17 The good news shows how God makes people right with himself. From beginning to end, becoming right with God depends on a person's faith. It is written, "Those who are right with God will live by faith."(Habakkuk 2:4) 18 God shows his anger from heaven. It is against all the godless and evil things people do. They are so evil that they say no to the truth. 19 The truth about God is plain to them. God has made it plain. 20 Ever since the world was created it has been possible to see the qualities of God that are not seen. I'm talking about his eternal power and about the fact that he is God. Those things can be seen in what he has made. So people have no excuse for what they do. 21 They knew God. But they didn't honor him as God. They didn't thank him. Their thinking became worthless. Their foolish hearts became dark. 22 They claimed to be wise. But they made fools of themselves. 23 They would rather have statues of gods than the glorious God who lives forever. Their statues of gods are made to look like people, birds, animals and reptiles. 24 So God let them go. He allowed them to do what their sinful hearts wanted to. He let them commit sexual sins. They polluted one another's bodies by what they did. 25 They chose a lie instead of God's truth. They worshiped and served created things. They didn't worship the Creator. But he must be praised forever. Amen. 26 So God let them go. They were filled with shameful longings. Their women committed sexual acts that were not natural. 27 In the same way, the men turned away from their natural love for women. They burned with sexual longing for each other. Men did shameful things with other men. They suffered in their bodies for all the twisted things they did. 28 They didn't think it was important to know God. So God let them go. He allowed them to have dirty minds. They did things they shouldn't do. 29 They are full of every kind of sin, evil and ungodliness. They want more than they need. They commit murder. They want what belongs to other people. They fight and cheat. They hate others. They say mean things about other people. 30 They tell lies about them. They hate God. They are rude and proud. They brag. They think of new ways to do evil. They don't obey their parents. 31 They are foolish. They can't be trusted. They are not loving and kind. 32 They know that God's commands are right. They know that those who do evil things should die. But they continue to do those very things. They also approve of others who do them.
1 If you judge someone else, you have no excuse for it. When you judge another person, you are judging yourself. You do the same things you blame others for doing. 2 We know that when God judges those who do evil things, he judges fairly. 3 Though you are only a human being, you judge others. But you yourself do the same things. So how do you think you will escape when God judges you? 4 Do you make fun of God's great kindness and favor? Do you make fun of God when he is patient with you? Don't you realize that God's kindness is meant to turn you away from your sins? 5 But you are stubborn. In your heart you are not sorry for your sins. You are storing up anger against yourself. The day of God's anger is coming. Then his way of judging fairly will be shown. 6 God "will give to each person in keeping with what he has done."(Psalm 62:12; %"Proverbs 24:12) 7 God will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good. They want glory, honor, and life that never ends. 8 But there are others who only look out for themselves. They don't accept the truth. They go down an evil path. God will pour out his burning anger on them. 9 There will be trouble and suffering for everyone who does evil. That is meant first for the Jews. It is also meant for the non-Jews. 10 But there will be glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good. That is meant first for the Jews. It is also meant for the non-Jews. 11 God treats everyone the same. 12 Some people do not know God's law when they sin. They will not be judged by the law when they die. Others do know God's law when they sin. They will be judged by the law. 13 Hearing the law does not make a person right with God. People are considered to be right with God only when they obey the law. 14 Those who aren't Jews do not have the law. Sometimes they just naturally do what the law requires. They are a law for themselves. This is true even though they don't have the law. 15 They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts. The way their minds judge them gives witness to that fact. Sometimes their thoughts find them guilty. At other times their thoughts find them not guilty. 16 People will be judged on the day God appoints Jesus Christ to judge their secret thoughts. That's part of my good news. 17 Suppose you call yourself a Jew. You trust in the law. You brag that you are close to God. 18 You know what God wants. You agree with what is best because the law teaches you. 19 You are sure you can lead people who are blind. You are sure you are a light for those who are in the dark. 20 You claim to be able to teach foolish people. You can even teach babies. You think that in the law you have all knowledge and truth. 21 You teach others. But you don't teach yourself! You preach against stealing. But you steal! 22 You say that people should not commit adultery. But you commit adultery! You hate statues of gods. But you rob temples! 23 You brag about the law. But when you break it, you rob God of his honor! 24 It is written, "Those who aren't Jews say evil things against God's name because of you."(Isaiah 52:5; Ezekiel 36:22) 25 Circumcision has value if you obey the law. But if you break the law, it is just as if you hadn't been circumcised. 26 Sometimes those who aren't circumcised do what the law requires. Won't God accept them as if they had been circumcised? 27 Many are not circumcised physically, but they obey the law. They will prove that you are guilty. You are breaking the law, even though you have the written law and are circumcised. 28 A man is not a Jew if he is a Jew only on the outside. And circumcision is more than just something done to the outside of a man's body. 29 No, a man is a Jew only if he is a Jew on the inside. And true circumcision means that the heart has been circumcised. It is done by the Holy Spirit. It is more than just obeying the written Law. Then a man's praise will not come from others. It will come from God.
1 Is there any advantage in being a Jew? Is there any value in being circumcised? 2 There is great value in every way! First of all, the Jews have been given the very words of God. 3 What if some Jews did not believe? Will the fact that they don't have faith keep God from being faithful? 4 Not at all! God is true, even though every human being is a liar. It is written, "You are right when you sentence me. You are fair when you judge me." (Psalm 51:4) 5 Doesn't the fact that we are wrong prove more clearly that God is right? Then what can we say? Can we say that God is not fair when he brings his anger down on us? As you can tell, I am just using human ways of thinking. 6 God is certainly fair! If he weren't, how could he judge the world? 7 Someone might argue, "When I lie, it becomes clearer that God is truthful. It makes his glory shine more brightly. Why then does he find me guilty of sin?" 8 Why not say, "Let's do evil things so that good things will happen"? Some people actually lie by reporting that this is what we say. They are the ones who should be found guilty. 9 What should we say then? Are we Jews any better? Not at all! We have already claimed that Jews are sinners. The same is true of those who aren't Jews. 10 It is written, "No one is right with God, no one at all. 11 No one understands. No one trusts in God. 12 All of them have turned away. They have all become worthless. No one does anything good, no one at all." (Psalms 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Ecclesiastes 7:20) 13 "Their throats are like open graves. With their tongues they tell lies." (Psalm 5:9) "The words from their lips are like the poison of a snake." (Psalm 140:3) 14 "Their mouths are full of curses and bitterness." (Psalm 10:7) 15 "They run quickly to commit murder. 16 They leave a trail of failure and pain. 17 They do not know the way of peace." (Isaiah 59:7,8) 18 "They don't have any respect for God." (Psalm 36:1) 19 What the law says, it says to those who are ruled by the law. Its purpose is to shut every mouth and make the whole world accountable to God. 20 So it can't be said that anyone will be made right with God by obeying the law. Not at all! The law makes us more aware of our sin. 21 But now God has shown us how to become right with him. The Law and the Prophets give witness to this. It has nothing to do with obeying the law. 22 We are made right with God by putting our faith in Jesus Christ. That happens to all who believe. It is no different for the Jews than for anyone else. 23 Everyone has sinned. No one measures up to God's glory. 24 The free gift of God's grace makes all of us right with him. Christ Jesus paid the price to set us free. 25 God gave him as a sacrifice to pay for sins. So he forgives the sins of those who have faith in his blood. God did all of that to prove that he is fair. Because of his mercy he did not punish people for the sins they had committed before Jesus died for them. 26 God did that to prove in our own time that he is fair. He proved that he is right. He also made right with himself those who believe in Jesus. 27 So who can brag? No one! Are people saved by obeying the law? Not at all! They are saved because of their faith. 28 We firmly believe that people are made right with God because of their faith. They are not saved by obeying the law. 29 Is God the God of Jews only? Isn't he also the God of those who aren't Jews? Yes, he is their God too. 30 There is only one God. When those who are circumcised believe in him, he makes them right with himself. When those who are not circumcised believe in him, he also makes them right with himself. 31 Does faith make the law useless? Not at all! We agree with the law.
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