So what advantage does the Jew have? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? 2 Considerable in every way. First, they were entrusted with the very words of God. 3 What then? If some were unfaithful, will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? 4 Absolutely not! Let God be true, even though everyone is a liar, as it is written:
That you may be justified in your words
and triumph when you judge.[a]
5 But if our unrighteousness highlights[b] God’s righteousness, what are we to say? I am using a human argument:[c] Is God unrighteous to inflict wrath? 6 Absolutely not! Otherwise, how will God judge the world? 7 But if by my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner? 8 And why not say, just as some people slanderously claim we say, “Let us do what is evil so that good may come”? Their condemnation is deserved!
The Whole World Guilty before God
There is no one righteous, not even one.
11 There is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away;
all alike have become worthless.
There is no one who does what is good,
not even one.[g]
13 Their throat is an open grave;
they deceive with their tongues.[h]
Vipers’ venom is under their lips.[i]
14 Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.[j]
15 Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 ruin and wretchedness are in their paths,
17 and the path of peace they have not known.[k]
18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.[l]
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are subject to the law,[m] so that every mouth may be shut and the whole world may become subject to God’s judgment.[n] 20 For no one will be justified[o] in his sight by the works of the law, because the knowledge of sin comes through the law.
The Righteousness of God through Faith
21 But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed, attested by the Law and the Prophets.[p] 22 The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ[q] to all who believe, since there is no distinction. 23 For all have sinned and fall short of the[r] glory of God. 24 They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as an atoning sacrifice[s] in his blood, received through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. 26 God presented him to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so that he would be righteous and declare righteous[t] the one who has faith in Jesus.
27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law?[u] By one of works? No, on the contrary, by a law[v] of faith. 28 For we conclude that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then nullify the law through faith? Absolutely not! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
Abraham Justified by Faith
What then will we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?[w] 2 If Abraham was justified[x] by works, he has something to boast about—but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness.[y] 4 Now to the one who works, pay is not credited as a gift, but as something owed. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes on him who declares the ungodly to be righteous, his faith is credited for righteousness.
David Celebrating the Same Truth
6 Just as David also speaks of the blessing of the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7 Blessed are those whose lawless acts are forgiven
and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the person
the Lord will never charge with sin.[z]
Abraham Justified before Circumcision
9 Is this blessing only for the circumcised, then? Or is it also for the uncircumcised? For we say, Faith was credited to Abraham for righteousness.[aa] 10 In what way then was it credited—while he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? It was not while he was circumcised, but uncircumcised. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith[ab] while still uncircumcised. This was to make him the father of all who believe but are not circumcised, so that righteousness may be credited to them also. 12 And he became the father of the circumcised, who are not only circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith our father Abraham had while he was still uncircumcised.
The Promise Granted through Faith
13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world was not through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 If those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made empty and the promise nullified, 15 because the law produces wrath. And where there is no law, there is no transgression.
16 This is why the promise is by faith, so that it may be according to grace, to guarantee it to all the descendants—not only to those who are of the law[ac] but also to those who are of Abraham’s faith. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: I have made you the father of many nations.[ad] He is our father in God’s sight, in whom Abraham believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things into existence that do not exist. 18 He believed, hoping against hope, so that he became the father of many nations[ae] according to what had been spoken: So will your descendants be. 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered[af] his own body to be already dead (since he was about a hundred years old) and also the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 because he was fully convinced that what God had promised, he was also able to do. 22 Therefore, it was credited to him for righteousness.[ag] 23 Now it was credited to him[ah] was not written for Abraham alone, 24 but also for us. It will be credited to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered up for[ai] our trespasses and raised for our justification.