Romans 3: 1-18

1 So what difference does it make
who's a Jew and who isn't, 
who has been trained in God's ways
and who hasn't?

2 As it turns out, it makes a lot of difference – 
but not the difference so many have assumed.

3 So, what if, in the course of doing that, 
some of those Jews abandoned their post? 

God didn't abandon them. 

Do you think their faithlessness
cancels out his faithfulness?

4 Not on your life! 

Depend on it: 
God keeps his word
even when the whole world is lying through its teeth.

 Scripture says the same: 
Your words stand fast and true; 
Rejection doesn't faze you.

5 But if our wrongdoing
only underlines and confirms
God's rightdoing, 

shouldn't we be commended
for helping out? 

Since our bad words
don't even make a dent
in his good words, 
isn't it wrong of God
to back us to the wall
and hold us to our word? 

These questions come up.

6 The answer to such questions is no, 
a most emphatic No! 

How else would things ever get straightened out
if God didn't do the straightening?

7 It's simply perverse to say, 
"If my lies serve to show off God's truth
all the more gloriously, 
why blame me? 

I'm doing God a favour."

8 Some people are actually trying
to put such words in our mouths, 
claiming that we go around saying, 

"The more evil we do, 
the more good God does, 
so let's just do it!" 

That's pure slander, 
as I'm sure you'll agree. 

We're All in the Same Sinking Boat

9 So where does that put us? 
Do we Jews get a better break than the others? 

Not really. 
Basically, all of us, 
whether insiders or outsiders, 
start out in identical conditions, 
which is to say that we all start out as sinners. 

Scripture leaves no doubt about it:
10 There's nobody living right, not even one,
11 nobody who knows the score, nobody alert for God.

12They've all taken the wrong turn; 
they've all wandered down blind alleys. 

No one's living right; I can't find a single one.

13 Their throats are gaping graves, 
their tongues slick as mud slides. 

Every word they speak is tinged with poison.

14 They open their mouths and pollute the air.

15 They race for the honour of sinner-of-the-year,
16 litter the land with heartbreak and ruin,
17 Don't know the first thing about living with others.

18 They never give God the time of day.
 

1What then is the advantage
of being a Jew, 

or what is the benefit
of circumcision?  

2Much
in every respect.  

First and foremost, 
that they have been entrusted
with the revelation of God.  

3So what if some have been unfaithful?  
Will their unfaithfulness
make ineffective
the faithfulness of God? 

 4Of course not!  

God must be true
even if
“every human being
is perfidious”
 (Ps 116:11).  

As scripture says,
 “So that thou
might be shown righteous
in thy words
and be victorious
in thy trial” 
(Ps 51:6).  

5But if our unrighteousness
thus serves to bring out
the righteousness of God, 
what shall we say?  

That God is unrighteous
in that he inflicts his Wrath?  
(I speak in a human way.) 

 6Of course not!  
Otherwise
how could God judge the world?
  
7[Thou sayest,] 
‘If by my falsehood [idolatry] 
the truth of God has increased
to his glory, 
why am also I still judged
as a sinner?  

8And why should we not do evil
in order that good may come?’  

That is how we are slandered
and what certain people say that we say, 
and their condemnation is just.  

9What, then, 
do we put up as a defence?  

10We have already charged
that Jews of course
 but also Greeks
are all under sin, 
as it is written: 

“There is none
righteous, 
no, 
not one;

11There is none
who understands,
None
who seeks for God”
(Ps 14-3, 2b)

12All have fallen away, 
all become worthless;

There is none who does good,
There is not even one”
(Ps 14:3)

13”An open grave is their throat,
With their tongues they deceive”
(Ps 5:9)

“Poison of asps
is under their lips”
(Ps 140:3b)

14”Their mouth is filled
with cursing and bitterness”
(Ps 10:7a)

15”Swift are their feet
to shed blood,

16Destruction and misery
are in their paths,

17The way of peace
 they have not known”
(Isa 59:7-8a)

18”There is not fear of God
 before their eyes”
(Ps 36:1b)