5 Now since our unfaithfulness brings to light or proves that God is right, how shall we respond?that it is unfair (to use typical human reasoning) for God to punish us, seeing our wrongdoing helped to vindicate Him? 6 No way! Can’t you see that if His dealings with us Jews is in any way unfair, how can He ever judge the whole world in truth? 7 Again, as some argue, “If God’s truthfulness is made clearly evident when contrasted with my falsehood, why should I still stand condemned, seeing I am really doing God a favor?” 8 With such reasoning we might as well teach, “Why not do evil so that God’s righteousness may stand out”; this, in fact, is what some false reporters have accused me of teaching. All I can say is that these false reporters will certainly receive their just punishment.
All Humanity is Dominated by Sin
9 What is our conclusion then? Can we say that we Jews are in any way better than the Gentiles, seeing we have been privileged to have greater light than they? Certainly not! As we have clearly seen, both we Jews as well as the Gentiles are together totally dominated by the power of sin. 10 As the Old Testament clearly states: “There is not one person who is truly righteous,” 11 neither is there any who really understands what true holiness is, nor is there anyone who seeks God without a selfish motive [Phil 2:21].
12 Every one is dominated by greed so that they are all corrupt; therefore no one is capable of doing good, not even one individual. 13 Even their words stink and their tongues are always lashing out at each other, just like a poisonous snake that strikes out. 14 Their mouths are always cursing and swearing, 15 while their feet are quick to move to take revenge. 16 Every one of them is heading for disaster, 17 because they do not know how to live in peace with each other. 18 But worst of all they have no true appreciation for God.
19 With this awful but true evaluation of fallen mankind, we realize that we could never meet the holy demands of God’s law which we are under. Therefore all mankind, without exception, stands guilty and condemned before God. 20 This is our terrible situation; no human being has the slightest chance of saving himself or standing righteous before God by attempting to keep His law; all that the law can do is prove to us that we are sinners and slaves to the power of sin [Rom. 7:14].
The Gospel Introduced
21 But now God’s wonderful way of salvation has been brought to light; God has given sinful mankind a right standing with Himself and it is entirely His own doing, without any help whatsoever from us, not even our law-obedience has contributed one bit. This salvation is what God promised all along in the writings of Moses and the prophets. 22 But now it is a historical reality realized in Jesus Christ and His righteousness, which righteousness is made effective through faith alone. This applies to both Jews and Gentiles alike since there is no distinction, 23 seeing all have sinned corporately in Adam [implied, see Rom. 5.12], and are individually coming short continually of God’s ideal of living a life of selfless love.
24 But the good news is that anybody and everybody may now experience a right standing with God by accepting with heartfelt appreciation God’s free gift of salvation which He obtained for us undeserving sinners through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Christ Jesus. 25 For God, in His grace and unfailing love for us, offered up His beloved Son as an atonement for our sins so that through faith in Christ and Him crucified we may be truly forgiven and reconciled to Him; God offered up His Son as our sin bearer to satisfy the justice of the law so that now He has a legal right to forgive us of our sins [Heb. 9:22]. You see, before the cross event, God could only forgive sins through His kindness.
26 But now, because all mankind was included in Christs death [2 Cor. 5:14], God is perfectly just in declaring us sinners righteous, that is, all who by faith have accepted this union with Christ Jesus. 27 What does this do to our human bragging? There is absolutely no room for it. On what grounds? On the grounds that our works have made no contribution whatsoever towards our salvation, but we receive it by faith as an entirely free gift from God. 28 For the fact of the matter is that a person is justified through faith alone and none of our law-keeping contributes to that right standing with God. 29 Does God save the Jews this way? Or does it apply only to the Gentiles? No, it applies to both Jews and Gentiles alike.
30 You see, God has only one way of saving all mankind, whether we be Jews or Gentiles or whether we have lived in the Old Testament period or are living in these New Testament times; that way was by including all mankind in the holy history of His Son, Jesus Christ. Our part from beginning to end is to respond by faith motivated by love [Gal. 5:6]. 31 Does this mean that the truth of righteousness or justification by faith does away with or bypasses the law? Not at all! God’s way of saving us in Christ fully meets all the law’s requirements on our behalf—both its positive demands as well as its justice, for in Christ’s holy history the law was fully satisfied [Rom. 10:4].