All have sinned
and are deprived of the glory of God.
They are justified freely by his grace
through the redemption in Christ Jesus...
The bottom line, Paul goes on to say, is that we have no cause to boast, for we are entirely dependent on grace, which is the free gift of God.
The Latin Vulgate has a little word play that drives home the point that grace is a free gift of God, translating “justified freely by his grace” as “iustificati gratis per gratiam ipsius.”
omnes enim peccaverunt
et egent gloriam Dei
iustificati gratis per gratiam ipsius
per redemptionem quae est in Christo Iesu
It is important, of course, to understand this passage in harmony with the rest of St. Paul’s writings and rest of the New Testament. The gratuitous quality of God’s grace is neither a license for laziness nor for licentiousness.
The gratuitous grace of God is rather a cause for courage and for humility: for God makes everything possible for us through this wonderful gift.
With the help of God’s grace, may we embrace his grace: that infinite gift that is so wonderfully free.