Romans 2:17-3:8

The Jews and God's Law

17 Do you say that you are a Jew? Maybe you trust in the Law that God gave to Moses. You are proud that you belong to God. 18 You know what God wants people to do. His Law teaches you what is good and right. 19 You are sure that you yourself can teach other people about God. You think that you can be like a guide to blind people. You think that you can be like a light to people who are in the dark. 20 You are sure that you can teach fools and people who do not know very much. You know that God's Law tells you everything about what is true. Because it helps you to know so much, you think that you can be a great teacher!

21 So you teach other people, do you? But do you teach yourself? You tell other people, ‘Do not rob anyone.’ But maybe you yourself rob other people. 22 You say, ‘People must not have sex with anyone who is not their wife or their husband.’ But maybe you yourself have sex in a wrong way. You say that you hate idols. But do you rob places where people worship idols? 23 You are proud that you know God's Law. But you do not obey that Law. As a result, you cause other people to speak against God. 24 This is written in the Bible:

‘Because of you Jews, the Gentiles say bad things against God.’

25 As a Jewish man, you are proud that someone has circumcised you. That is a help to you, if you obey God's Law in your life. But if you do not obey God's Law, then it is worth nothing. You have become like a Gentile that nobody has ever circumcised. 26 But a Gentile may obey what God's Law teaches. Then he has shown that he belongs to God even though nobody has circumcised him. 27 In that way, even Gentiles will show that you who are Jews are wrong. God's Law was written to help you Jews. They circumcised you to show that you belong to God. But if you refuse to obey God's Law, then God will punish you. The Gentiles who do obey God's Law will show that God is right to punish you.

2:25The Jews circumcised Jewish boys to show that they belonged to God's special people. See Genesis 17:10-14.

28 Not everyone who seems to be a Jew is really a Jew who belongs to God. God does not accept a man just because someone has circumcised that man's body. 29 No! A true Jew is someone who belongs to God in his spirit. He belongs to God because God's Spirit has changed his life. It is like God has circumcised him in his spirit, not in his body. The rules in God's Law cannot do that work in a person. Other people may not praise a person like that, but God will praise him.

Romans 3

1 So someone may ask, ‘Does it help a person if they are a Jew, rather than a Gentile? Does it help a person if someone has circumcised them?’ 2 Yes, it helps in many ways. The first is that God chose to give his messages to the Jewish people. 3 But you may say, ‘Some Jews did not believe God's messages as they should have done. Because of that, maybe God will not do what he said he would do.’ 4 No, certainly it does not mean that! God will always do what he says. He will always say what is true, even if everyone in the world should tell lies. This is what is written in the Bible:

‘Your message is true. It shows that you are right.

People may say that you are wrong.

But it will always be clear that you are right.’

3:4David spoke these words to God. See Psalm 51:4.

5 Maybe some people may say, ‘The wrong things that we do show more clearly that God is always right. So perhaps God is wrong to punish us.’ 6 That is not true! God always decides what is right and fair. That is why he is able to judge everyone in the world.

7 Someone might also say, ‘When I tell lies, that shows how great and good God is. My lies show more clearly that God always says what is true. So God should not say that I am a bad person. He should not punish me.’ 8 But if that is true, you could also say, ‘We should do more and more bad things. Then something good will happen as a result.’ Some people even say that is the message which I teach. But if they say that, they are insulting me. It is right that God should punish those people.