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.
Nobody is right with God
9 So then, what do we learn from that? We cannot say that we Jews are better than other people. No, certainly we cannot say that! I have said already that sin has power over everyone. That is true for both Jews and Gentiles. 10 This is written in the Bible:
‘There is nobody who is right with God.
There is not even one person who is like that.
11 There is nobody who understands what is true.
There is nobody who wants to worship God.
12 Everyone has turned away from God.
All people have become completely bad.
Nobody does what is good or kind.
There is not even one person who is like that.
13 Bad words come out of their mouth, like a very bad smell.
They tell lies all the time,
so that people do wrong things.
The things that they say hurt people, like a snake's poison.
14 They are always saying bad things against people,
because they want to cause trouble for them.
15 They hurry to kill people.
16 Everywhere they go, they destroy things.
They only make people very sad.
17 They have never known how to live in peace.
18 They refuse to respect God in any way.’
19 So, we know that God's Law belongs to the Jews. God told them to obey everything that his Law teaches. As a result, nobody can say: ‘God should not punish me.’ Everybody in the world must stand in front of God and he will judge them. 20 God's Law shows people clearly that they have done wrong things. Nobody can become right with God because they obey that Law.
How God accepts people as right with himself
21 But now we can know how to become right with God. God has shown us the way that he will accept people as right with himself. This way is not part of the Laws that he gave to Moses. But God's Laws and the messages of his prophets have told us about it. 22 God accepts people as right with himself because Jesus Christ did what God wanted. God accepts every person who believes in Christ. It is the same way for everyone, whether they are Jews or Gentiles.
23 All people have done wrong things. Nobody can be good and great, as God wanted them to be. 24 But because God is very kind, he accepts us as right with himself. That is God's gift to us. Jesus Christ has paid for our sins so that we have become free. 25 God showed that Jesus Christ died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. God forgives us if we trust in Jesus and the blood of his sacrifice. God did this to show clearly that he is always right and fair. In past times, God did not punish people who did wrong things. 26 He did not punish them because he is very patient. He knew what he was going to do now, in this time. He has now shown that he is completely right and fair. He accepts people as right with himself if they believe in Jesus.
27 So then, nobody should be proud that they are good enough. Nobody becomes right with God because they have done good things. No! God accepts a person only if that person believes in Jesus Christ. 28 So, this is what we are saying. A person becomes right with God if they trust in Christ. It is not because they do the good things which God's Law teaches.
29 God is not God only for Jewish people. He is also God for the Gentiles. Yes! He is the God for all people. 30 There is only one God. He will accept Jews as right with himself if they believe in Christ. He will also accept other people as right with himself if they believe in Christ. 31 What does this show us about God's Laws which he gave to Moses? When we say that all people need to believe in Jesus, does that mean that God's Laws have no purpose? No! When we believe in Jesus, we are showing the true purpose of God's Laws.