Romans chapter 3 (in simple, modern English)

This is the third installment of what I hope to be a complete “translation” of Romans. Please note that this is not scripture; it is my understanding of scripture. Any with questions or concerns should check the original.

In Romans chapter 3, Paul starts to introduce a solution to the problem of being right with God: faith. (And, what God gives us through faith!)

Third chapter of Romans

So is there any advantage to being a Jew anymore?

Absolutely! First of all, God gave his very words to the Jewish people – the Old Testament books of the Bible.

So what if some of the Jews did not believe! Does their lack of faith mean that God is faithless? Of course not! Though every man be false, God is true, as it is written about God in Psalm 51:4:

When you speak, you are proved right. And you are shown to be right when you judge.

Instead, our failures only serve to clarify and highlight God’s essential goodness.

Someone with a human-centered point of view might then say that God is unjust in being angry with us, since our errors only serve to highlight God as the only perfect being … meaning that our sinfulness actually glorifies God.

In fact, the same person might even go so far as to say that we should break even more of God’s laws, so that good will result. And some people have lied and said that this is my position.

But this is a ridiculous argument. If this were true, how could God judge the world? Those who teach such things deserve the judgement they will receive.

But what is our conclusion: are we any better than they?

Of course not! As I’ve already written, the entire human race has fallen from the good things that God created us to do – us included. As it is written in in the Old Testament about all human beings:

There is no perfect person – not one. There is no-one who truly knows what is going on in this world, and seeks God with his whole heart.

Everyone has turned away, they have become worthless. There is not even one who always does what is good.

The words they speak are deadly and full of lies – poisonous! They curse bitterly.

They are quick to hurt others – destruction and misery come where they go.

They do not know the paths of peace. They do not acknowledge God, and they do not humble themselves before Him.

Now, it’s obvious that laws are given to those who are bound to obey laws – they’re not given to people who are free from obedience.

God has given all people His law so that every person will be accountable to Him. No-one will be able to boast to God of his perfection. No one will be judged perfect by following the law.

This is exactly what the law does: it shows us where we have gone wrong.

But now, in the new contract that God is making with His people, God is telling us about a perfection that comes straight from Him, and not from obeying the law. In fact, it’s a perfection that His law, and the prophets from previous years, both speak about.

This perfection is given equally to all who believe in God’s son, Jesus Christ.

Why equally? Because even though all have broken God’s laws, and have fallen short of what God intended us to be, Jesus has paid the price for our disobedience. So we can all be declared perfect in God’s courtroom!

God presented Jesus as a payment for our unpaid debts – the debts we owe as a result of our disobedience. And through Jesus, God shows His justice. Because justice demands that all unpaid debts must be paid. And what we cannot pay – Jesus pays for us.

So then, God is both just, and the One who makes us just! (All who believe in Jesus, that is.)

Since this is all true: who can boast? Who can boast that he is a good man, and perfect in God’s sight? No-one! Because no-one can fully obey the law of God perfectly at all times.

But we are made perfect in God’s sight through faith in Jesus – not by obeying God’s laws – so there can be no boasting.

And so God is the God of both the Jews and the whole world. There is only one God, and He will make both Jews and non-Jews perfect through faith in Jesus.

Does this make God’s laws any less important! No! In fact, because now through Jesus we are made right in the eyes of the law, now the law can actually, for the first time, be fulfilled.

 


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