I love to write out what I am memorizing as I finish chunks of scripture. It helps me synthesize and remember the passages, but this chunk is a bit daunting to think of writing by hand. So, please excuse this long post. I hope you are encouraged by Paul’s letter to the church in Rome as much as I am as I memorize this great letter.
Paul, a bond servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrections from the dead according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord; through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, for His name’s sake, among whom you also are the called of Christ Jesus. To all those beloved of God in Rome, called as saints, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the entire world. For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you; always in my prayers offering request, that if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established. That is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the others faith, both yours and mine. I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you, but have been prevented thus far, that I may obtain some fruit from among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles. For I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, to the wise and to the foolish. So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are at Rome.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to all who believe, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written “for the righteous man shall live by faith”. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them, for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man, and of birds, of four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Therefore, God gave them over in the lust of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Therefore God gave them over to degrading passions, for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire for one another; men with men committing indecent acts, and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to do those things which are not proper. Being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed evil; full of envy, murder, strife, malice, deceit; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, arrogant, insolent, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without knowledge, unloving, untrustworthy, unmerciful. And although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
Therefore, you have no excuse, every one of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself, for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindess and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourselves in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to each person according to his deeds. To those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory, honor and immortality; eternal life. But to those who are selfishly ambitious, and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness; wrath and indignation.
There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek. But glory, honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law; but all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law. For it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. For when the Gentiles, who do not have the Law, do instinctively the things of the law, these, not having the Law, are a law unto themselves, in that they show the works of the Law written on their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, in that day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.
But, if you bear the name Jew, and rely upon the Law, and boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher to the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth. You therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one should not steal, do you steal? You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?
For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you, as it is written. For indeed, circumcision is of value if you practice the law. But if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. And if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you, who, though having the letter of the Law and circumcision, are a transgressor of the Law? For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter, and his praise is not from men, but from God.
Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect! First, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written “That you may be justified in your words and prevail when you are judged”. But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world? And if through my lie the truth of God abounded to His glory, then why am I also still being judged as a sinner? And why not say (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim we say) “let us do evil that good may come”? Their condemnation is just.
What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin, as it is written: “There is none righteous, not even one. There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God. All have turned aside; Together they have become useless. Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep on deceiving. The poison of asps is under their lips. Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction and misery are in their paths. The paths of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those under the Law; that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God, because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. But now, apart from the Law, the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the prophets. Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, for there is no distinction. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God, He passed over the sins previously committed.
For the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just, and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since indeed the God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith, is One. Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
Amen. On to chapter 4!!!