So does a Jew have any advantage? Does circumcision have any benefits? Yes, there are many benefits! First of all, God's message was entrusted to them. What if some of them didn't trust in God? Does their lack of trust in God obliterate the trustworthiness of God? Of course not! Even if everyone else is proved to be lying, God always tells the truth. As Scripture says, “What you say will be proved right, and you will win your case* when you are judged.”
But if the fact that we're wrong helps to show that God is right, what should we conclude? That God is wrong to pronounce judgment on us? (I'm talking from a human perspective here.) Of course not! How else could God judge the world? Someone could say, “Why am I still condemned as a sinner if my lies make the truth of God and his glory more obvious in contrast?” Is it a case of, “Let's sin to bring about good”? That's what some people have slanderously accused us of saying. They should be rightly condemned!
So then, are we Jews better than others? Definitely not! Remember that we've already argued that both Jews and foreigners are under the control of sin. 10 As Scripture says, “No one does what is right, not even one. 11 No one understands; no one seeks God. 12 Everyone has turned their backs on him; everyone does what is totally wrong. No one does what is good, not a single one. 13 Their throats are like an open grave; their tongues spread deceit; their lips ooze with the venom of snakes. 14 Their mouths are full of bitterness and curses, 15 and they are quick to cause pain and death. 16 Their way leads to disaster and misery; 17 they don't know how to live in peace. 18 They don't care about respecting God at all.”
19 It's clear that everything in the law applies to those who live under the law so that no one could have any excuses, and to make sure everyone in the whole world is answerable to God. 20 For no one is made right before God by doing what the law requires. The law only helps us recognize what sin really is.
21 But now God's character of goodness and right§ has been demonstrated. It has nothing to do with law-keeping, even though it was spoken of by the law and the prophets. 22 This character of God that is good and right comes to everyone who trusts in Jesus Christ, those who place their confidence in him. It doesn't matter who we are: 23 We have all sinned, and we fall far short of God's glorious ideal. 24 Yet through the free gift of his grace God makes us right through Christ Jesus who sets us free. 25 God openly presented Jesus as the gift that brings peace* to those trusting in him, the one who shed his blood. God did this to demonstrate he is truly good and right, for previously he would hold back and pass over sins, 26 but now at this present time God proves he is fair and does what is right, and that he makes right those who trust in Jesus.
27 So do we have anything to boast about then? Absolutely not, there's no place for that! And why's that? Is it because we follow the law of observing requirements? No, we follow the law of trusting in God. 28 We conclude that people are made right with God through their trust in him, and not from legal observance. 29 Is God only the God of the Jews? Isn't he the God of other people as well? Of course he is! 30 There is only one God, and he makes us morally right through our trust in him, whoever we are, Jew or foreigner. 31 Does that mean that by trusting in God we do away with the law? Of course not! In fact we affirm the importance of the law.
* 3:4 Or “you will be vindicated.” 3:4 Quoting Psalms 51:4. 3:18 This passage from verses 12 to 18 includes references to Psalms 14:1-3, Psalms 5:9, Psalms 140:3, Psalms 10:7, Isaiah 59:7-8, Proverbs 1:16, Psalms 36:1. § 3:21 See under 1:17. Also 3:22. * 3:25 “The gift that brings peace”: the way in which God forgives, heals, and restores harmony.