Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?
Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews are entrusted with the oracles of God.
What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?
By no means! Let God be true though every man be false, as it is written, "That thou mayest be justified in thy words, and prevail when thou art judged."
But if our wickedness serves to show the justice of God, what shall we say? That God is unjust to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.)
By no means! For then how could God judge the world?
But if through my falsehood God's truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?
And why not do evil that good may come? --as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.
What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all; for I have already charged that all men, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin,
as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands, no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside, together they have gone wrong; no one does good, not even one."
"Their throat is an open grave, they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips."
"Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness."
"Their feet are swift to shed blood,
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they do not know."
"There is no fear of God before their eyes."
Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.
For no human being will be justified in his sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it,
the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction;
since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus,
whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins;
it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.
Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On the principle of works? No, but on the principle of faith.
For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.
Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,
since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of their faith and the uncircumcised through their faith.
Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
What then shall we say about Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh?
For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
For what does the scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness."
Now to one who works, his wages are not reckoned as a gift but as his due.
And to one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness.
So also David pronounces a blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works:
"Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not reckon his sin."
Is this blessing pronounced only upon the circumcised, or also upon the uncircumcised? We say that faith was reckoned to Abraham as righteousness.
How then was it reckoned to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.
He received circumcision as a sign or seal of the righteousness which he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them,
and likewise the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but also follow the example of the faith which our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
The promise to Abraham and his descendants, that they should inherit the world, did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.
If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.
For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants--not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham, for he is the father of us all,
as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations" --in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.
In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations; as he had been told, "So shall your descendants be."
He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb.
No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,
fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
That is why his faith was "reckoned to him as righteousness."
But the words, "it was reckoned to him," were written not for his sake alone,
but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him that raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,
who was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
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