Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God--
the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures
regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David,
and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.
And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.
God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you
in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God's will the way may be opened for me to come to you.
I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong--
that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith.
I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.
That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.
In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips,
slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;
they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.
So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment?
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?
But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.
God "will give to each person according to what he has done."
To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.
But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.
There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile;
but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
For God does not show favoritism.
All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.
For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.
(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law,
since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)
This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God;
if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law;
if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark,
an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth--
you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal?
You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?
As it is written: "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you."
Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised.
If those who are not circumcised keep the law's requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised?
The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.
A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical.
No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
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