11Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2which he promised in advance through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures. 3This gospel is about his Son, who in the flesh was born a descendant of David, 4who in the spirit of holiness was declared to be God's powerful Son by his resurrection from the dead—Jesus Christ, our Lord. 5Through him we received grace and the call to be an apostle on behalf of his name, to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, 6including you, who were called by Jesus Christ.
7To all those loved by God who are in Rome, called to be saints:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul's Desire to Come to Rome
8First of all, I thank my God through Jesus Christ concerning all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9To be sure, God, whom I serve with my spirit by proclaiming the gospel of his Son, is my witness to how constantly I make mention of you. In all my prayers, 10I always ask if perhaps at last a way might be opened, if God wills, for me to come to you. 11I certainly long to see you, in order that I may deliver some spiritual gift to you, so that you are strengthened— 12that is, when I am with you, that we will be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, yours and also mine.
13I do not want you to be unaware of the fact, brothers, that I have often planned to come to you but have been prevented from doing so until now. I wanted to have some fruit among you in the same way as I did among the rest of the Gentiles. 14I have an obligation both to Greeks and non-Greeks, to the wise and to the foolish. 15That is why I am eager to proclaim the gospel also to you who are in Rome.
The Power of the Gospel
16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes—to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed by faith, for faith, just as it is written, “The righteous will live by faith.”
God's Anger Against All Who Reject Him
18Indeed, God's wrath is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who try to suppress the truth by unrighteousness. 19This happens because what can be known about God is evident among them, because God made it evident among them. 20In fact, his invisible characteristics—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, because they are understood from the things he made. As a result, people are without excuse, 21because, even though they knew God, they did not honor him or give him thanks as God. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless heart was darkened.
22Although they claim to be wise, they have become fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human, or like birds, four-footed animals, and crawling things. 24So, as they followed the sinful desires of their hearts, God handed them over to the impurity of degrading their own bodies among themselves. 25Such people have traded the truth about God for the lie, worshipping and serving the creation rather than the Creator, who is worthy of praise forever. Amen.
26For this reason God handed them over to disgraceful passions. Even their females exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27And, in the same way, their males, after abandoning natural sexual relations with females, were consumed by their lust for one another. Males perform indecent acts with males and receive in themselves the penalty that is fitting for their perversion.
28And since they did not consider it worthwhile to hold on to the true knowledge of God, God handed them over to a corrupted mind to do things that should never be done. 29They are filled with every kind of unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarreling, deceit, and malice. They are gossipers, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent mockers, arrogant boasters, and loudmouths. They dream up evil things. They disobey their parents. 31They are senseless, faithless, heartless, and merciless. 32Even though they know God's righteous decree that those who do these things are worthy of death, such people not only continue to do them, but also approve of others who continue to commit such sins.
God Will Judge What Each Person Does
21Therefore, you are without excuse, every one of you who judges someone else, because by judging the other person you also condemn yourself, since you, who are judging, are doing the very same things. 2And we know that God's judgment on those who do such things is based on the truth.
3Are you thinking that you will escape God's judgment, you who judge those who do such things and then do the same things yourself? 4Or do you have so little regard for his rich kindness, his restraint, and his patience, that you ignore the fact that the purpose of God's kindness is to lead you to repentance? 5As a result of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God will reveal his righteous judgment.
6God will repay each person according to what he has done— 7eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality by persisting in doing what is good, 8but furious anger to those who out of selfish ambition are disobeying what is true and obeying what is wrong. 9There will be trouble and distress for the soul of every person who does what is evil—for the Jew first and for the Greek— 10but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good—for the Jew first and for the Greek. 11For God does not show favoritism.
12Indeed, all people who have sinned without law will also perish without law, and all the people who have sinned in connection with law will be judged by law. 13For it is not those who hear the law who will be righteous in God's sight, but those who do the law who will be declared righteous.
14In fact, whenever Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature what the law requires—even though they do not have the law—they are a law for themselves. 15They demonstrate the work of the law that is written in their hearts, since their conscience also bears witness as their thoughts go back and forth, at times accusing or at times even defending them.
16This will happen on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge people's secrets through Jesus Christ.
Paul Addresses the Jew Directly
17Now if you call yourself a Jew, and you find your comfort in the law, and you boast in God; 18and if you know his will, and you approve the things that really matter, since you are instructed by the law; 19and if you are convinced that you yourself are a guide for the blind, a light for those in darkness, 20an instructor of the ignorant, and a teacher of infants (since you have the essence of knowledge and truth in the law)— 21now then, you, the one who is teaching someone else, do you fail to teach yourself? You who preach, “Do not steal,” do you steal? 22You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who detest idols, do you rob temples? 23You who boast in the law bring shame on God by breaking the law. 24Yes, as it is written, “God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
Does Circumcision Make a Difference?
25Indeed, circumcision has value if you observe the law. On the other hand, if you are a lawbreaker, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26So, if an uncircumcised person keeps the righteous requirements of the law, won't his uncircumcision be credited to him as circumcision? 27The one who is not circumcised physically, but fulfills the law, will judge you who are a lawbreaker, even though you have the written law and circumcision.
28In fact, a Jew who is merely one outwardly is not really a Jew, and circumcision that is only outward in the flesh is not really circumcision. 29Rather, a real Jew is one on the inside, and his circumcision is of the heart—a spiritual circumcision, not one based on carrying out the letter of the law. That person's praise does not come from people but from God.
A Jew's Advantage and God's Faithfulness
31What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew? Or what benefit is there to circumcision? 2Much in every way! Indeed, above all else, they were entrusted with the messages of God.
3Now what if some did not believe? Their unbelief will not nullify God's faithfulness, will it? 4Absolutely not! God must be true, even though everyone is found to be a liar, just as it is written:
So that you would be justified whenever you speak,
and win the case when you judge.
An Absurd Conclusion
5Now if our unrighteousness demonstrates God's righteousness, what shall we say? God is not unjust in bringing his wrath on us, is he? (I am speaking from a human point of view.) 6Absolutely not! If that were so, how could God judge the world? 7For example, someone might say, “If by my lie the truth of God increases all the more to his glory, why am I still being judged as a sinner?” 8And why not say (as some slanderously claim we say), “Let us do evil so that good may result.” Their condemnation is deserved.
All Are Guilty of Sin
9What then? Are we any better off? No, not at all! In fact, we have already made the charge that all (both Jews and Greeks) are under sin. 10Just as it is written:
There is no one who is righteous, not even one.
11There is no one who understands. There is no one who searches for God.
12They all turned away; together they became useless.
There is no one who does what is good; there is not even one.
13Their throat is an open grave.
They kept deceiving with their tongues.
The poison of asps is on their lips. 14Their mouth is filled with cursing and bitterness.
15Their feet are quick to shed blood.
16They leave a trail of destruction and suffering wherever they go.
17The way of peace they did not know. 18There is no fear of God in front of their eyes.
The Law Condemns Everyone
19Now we know that whatever the law says is addressed to those who are under the law, so that every mouth will be silenced and the whole world will be subject to God's judgment. 20For this reason, no one will be declared righteous in his sight by works of the law, for through the law we become aware of sin.
A Righteousness Apart From the Law by Faith
21But now, completely apart from the law, a righteousness from God has been made known. The Law and the Prophets testify to it. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all and over all who believe. In fact, there is no difference, 23because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God publicly displayed as the atonement seat through faith in his blood. God did this to demonstrate his justice, since, in his divine restraint, he had left the sins that were committed earlier unpunished. 26He did this to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so that he would be both just and the one who justifies the person who has faith in Jesus. 27What happens to boasting then? It has been eliminated. By what principle—by the principle of works? No, but by the principle of faith. 28For we conclude that a person is justified by faith without the works of the law. 29Or is he only the God of the Jews? Is he not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, also of the Gentiles, 30since there is one God who will justify the circumcised person by faith and the uncircumcised person through the very same faith. 31So are we doing away with the law by this faith? Absolutely not! Instead, we are upholding the law.
Abraham, an Example of Justification by Faith
41What then will we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered according to the flesh? 2If indeed Abraham had been justified by works, he would have had a reason to boast—but not before God. 3For what does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
4Now to a person who works, his pay is not counted as a gift but as something owed. 5But to the person who does not work but believes in the God who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited to him as righteousness.
6This is exactly what David says about the blessed state of the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven
and whose sins are covered.
8Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.
Abraham Was Justified Before His Circumcision
9Now then, does this blessing apply only to the circumcised, or also to the uncircumcised? To be sure, we maintain that faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness. 10So then, under what circumstances was it credited to him? Was he circumcised or uncircumcised at that time? He was not circumcised but uncircumcised, 11and he received the mark of circumcision as the seal of the righteousness by faith that was already his while he was uncircumcised. So Abraham is the father of all the uncircumcised people who believe, so that righteousness would also be credited to them. 12He is also the father of the circumcised people who are not merely circumcised but also walk in the footsteps of the faith our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
Abraham Received What God Promised by Faith, Not by Law
13Indeed, the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not given to Abraham or his descendants through the law, but through the righteousness that is by faith. 14To be sure, if people are heirs by the law, faith is empty and the promise is nullified. 15For law brings wrath. (Where there is no law, there is no transgression.) 16For this reason, the promise is by faith, so that it may be according to grace and may be guaranteed to all of Abraham's descendants—not only to the one who is a descendant by law, but also to the one who has the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.”
Abraham's Faith Was a Firm Trust in God's Promise
In the presence of God, Abraham believed him who makes the dead alive and calls non-existing things so that they exist. 18Hoping beyond what he could expect, he believed that he would become the father of many nations, just as he was told: “This is how many your descendants will be.” 19He did not weaken in faith, even though he considered his own body as good as dead (because he was about one hundred years old), and even though he considered Sarah's womb to be dead. 20He did not waver in unbelief with respect to God's promise, but he grew strong in faith, giving glory to God 21and being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”
23Now the statement “it was credited to him” was not written for him alone, 24but also for us to whom it would be credited, namely, to us who believe in the one who raised our Lord Jesus from the dead. 25He was handed over to death because of our trespasses and was raised to life because of our justification.
Justification Brings Peace and Joy
51Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we also have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand. And we rejoice confidently on the basis of our hope for the glory of God.
3Not only this, but we also rejoice confidently in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces patient endurance, 4and patient endurance produces tested character, and tested character produces hope. 5And hope will not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who was given to us.
God's Love Is Evident in Christ's Death for the Ungodly
6For at the appointed time, while we were still helpless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7It is rare indeed that someone will die for a righteous person. Perhaps someone might actually go so far as to die for a person who has been good to him. 8But God shows his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9Therefore, since we have now been justified by his blood, it is even more certain that we will be saved from God's wrath through him. 10For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, it is even more certain that, since we have been reconciled, we will be saved by his life. 11And not only is this so, but we also go on rejoicing confidently in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received this reconciliation.
Both Adam and Christ Had an Effect on All People
12So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, so also death spread to all people because all sinned. 13For even before the law was given, sin was in the world. Now, sin is not charged to one's account if there is no law, 14and yet death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those whose sin was not like the transgression of Adam, who is a pattern of the one who was to come.
15But the gracious gift is not like Adam's trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of this one man, it is even more certain that God's grace, and the gift given by the grace of the one man Jesus Christ, overflowed to the many!
16And the gift is not like the effect of the one man's sin, for the judgment that followed the one trespass resulted in a verdict of condemnation, but the gracious gift that followed many trespasses resulted in a verdict of justification.
17Indeed, if by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through the one man, it is even more certain that those who receive the overflowing grace of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ!
18So then, just as one trespass led to a verdict of condemnation for all people, so also one righteous verdict led to life-giving justification for all people. 19For just as through the disobedience of one man the many became sinners, so also through the obedience of one man the many will become righteous.
20The law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace overflowed much more, 21so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace would reign through righteousness resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Dead to Sin and Living for God
61What shall we say then? Shall we keep on sinning so that grace may increase? 2Absolutely not! We died to sin. How can we go on living in it any longer? 3Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him by this baptism into his death, so that just as he was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too would also walk in a new life.
5For if we have been united with him in the likeness of his death, we will certainly also be united with him in the likeness of his resurrection.
6We know that our old self was crucified with him, to make our sinful body powerless, so that we would not continue to serve sin. 7For the person who has died has been declared free from sin. 8And since we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that since Christ has been raised from the dead, he will never die again. Death no longer has control over him. 10For the death he died, he died to sin once and for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11In the same way also consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Serve God, Not Sin, in Your Life
12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires. 13Do not offer the members of your body to sin as tools of unrighteousness. Instead, offer yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead, and offer the members of your body to God as tools of righteousness. 14Indeed, sin will not continue to control you, because you are not under law but under grace.
15What then? Should we continue to sin, because we are not under law but under grace? Absolutely not! 16Do you not know that when you offer yourselves to obey someone as slaves, you are slaves of the one you are obeying—whether slaves of sin, resulting in death, or slaves of obedience, resulting in righteousness?
17Thanks be to God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to the pattern of the teaching into which you were placed. 18After you were set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19(I am speaking in a human way because of the weakness of your flesh.) Indeed, just as you offered your members as slaves to impurity and lawlessness, resulting in more lawlessness, so now offer your members in the same way as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
20For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness. 21So what kind of fruit did you have then? They were things of which you are now ashamed. Yes, the final result of those things is death. 22But now, since you were set free from sin and have become slaves to God, you have your fruit resulting in sanctification—and the final result is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the undeserved gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
71Or don't you know, brothers (since I am speaking to those who know the law), that a law has jurisdiction over a person only as long as he lives? 2For example, a married woman is bound to her husband by law as long as he is alive, but if he dies, she is released from this law regarding her husband. 3So then, she will be labeled an adulteress if she is joined to another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from this law, and she is not an adulteress if she marries another man.
4In the same way, my brothers, you also were put to death in regard to the law by the body of Christ, so that you may be joined to another, to the one who was raised from the dead, in order that we might produce fruit for God. 5For when we were in the flesh, strong sinful desires stirred up by the law were at work in our members, with the result that we produced fruit that results in death. 6But now we have been released from the law by dying to what held us in its grip, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the letter of the law.
The Law Stirs Up My Sinful Nature
7What will we say then? Is the law sin? Absolutely not! On the contrary, I would not have recognized sin except through the law. For example, I would not have known about coveting if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8But sin, seizing the opportunity provided by this commandment, produced every kind of sinful desire in me.
For apart from the law, sin is dead. 9Once I was alive without the law. But when this commandment came, sin came to life, 10and I died. This commandment that was intended to result in life actually resulted in death for me. 11You see, sin, seizing the opportunity provided by this commandment, deceived me and put me to death through it.
12So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous, and good. 13Then did what is good become death to me? Absolutely not! But sin, so that it might be recognized as sin, brings about my death by this good thing, so that through this commandment sin might prove itself to be totally sinful.
My Constant Struggle With My Sinful Nature
14Certainly we know that the law is spiritual, but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not keep doing what I want. Instead, I do what I hate. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17But now it is no longer I who am doing it, but it is sin living in me. 18Indeed, I know that good does not live in me, that is, in my sinful flesh. The desire to do good is present with me, but I am not able to carry it out. 19So I fail to do the good I want to do. Instead, the evil I do not want to do, that is what I keep doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who am doing it, but it is sin living in me.
21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is present with me. 22I certainly delight in God's law according to my inner self, 23but I see a different law at work in my members, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me captive to the law of sin, which is present in my members. 24What a miserable wretch I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my sinful flesh I serve the law of sin.
God Placed Our Judgment on Christ
81So then, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For in Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3Indeed, what the law was unable to do, because it was weakened by the flesh, God did, when he sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to deal with sin. God condemned sin in his flesh, 4so that the righteous decree of the law would be fully satisfied in us who are not walking according to the flesh, but according to the spirit.
Living in Harmony With the Spiritual Nature
5To be sure, those who are in harmony with the sinful flesh think about things the way the sinful flesh does, and those in harmony with the spirit think about things the way the spirit does. 6Now, the way the sinful flesh thinks results in death, but the way the spirit thinks results in life and peace. 7For the mind-set of the sinful flesh is hostile to God, since it does not submit to God's law, and in fact, it cannot. 8Those who are in the sinful flesh cannot please God.
9But you are not in the sinful flesh but in the spirit, if indeed God's Spirit lives in you. And if someone does not have the Spirit of Christ, that person does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, but your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his Spirit, who is dwelling in you.
12So then, brothers, we do not owe it to the sinful flesh to live in harmony with it. 13For if you live in harmony with the sinful flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the actions of the body, you will live.
The Spirit Assures Us We Are Children of God
14Indeed, those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery so that you are afraid again, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we call out, “Abba, Father!” 16The Spirit himself joins our spirit in testifying that we are God's children.
17Now if we are children, we are also heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, since we suffer with him, so that we may also be glorified with him.
Suffering Leads Us to Look Ahead to Heaven
18For I conclude that our sufferings at the present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. 19In fact, creation is waiting with eager longing for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in the hope 21that even creation itself will be set free from slavery to corruption, in order to share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.
22For we know that all of creation is groaning with birth pains right up to the present time. 23And not only creation, but also we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we eagerly await our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24Indeed, it was for this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he already sees? 25But if we hope for something we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patient endurance.
26In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we should pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that are not expressed in words. 27And he who searches our hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints, according to God's will.
28We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose, 29because those God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those he predestined, he also called. Those he called, he also justified. And those he justified, he also glorified.
Nothing Can Separate Us From God's Love
31What then will we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also graciously give us all things along with him?
33Who will bring an accusation against God's elect? God is the one who justifies! 34Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus, who died and, more than that, was raised to life, is the one who is at God's right hand and who is also interceding for us! 35What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36Just as it is written:
For your sake we are being put to death all day long.
We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor rulers, neither things present nor things to come, nor powerful forces, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.