Romans 9
1I am in Christ, and what I say is true. I'm not lying! My conscience and the Holy Spirit confirm 2how terribly sad I am, how I have never-ending pain in my heart, 3for my own people, my brothers and sisters. I would rather be cursed myself, separated from Christ, if that would help them. 4They are my fellow-Israelites, God's chosen people. God revealed to them his glory and made agreements#9:4. Literally, “covenants.” with them, giving them the law, true worship, and his promises. 5They are our forefathers—ancestors of Christ, humanly-speaking, the One who rules over everything, the eternally-blessed God. Amen.
6It's not that God's promise has failed. For not every Israelite is a true Israelite, 7and all those who are descended from Abraham are not his true children. For Scripture says, “Your descendants will be counted through Isaac,”#9:7. Genesis 21:12. 8so it's not Abraham's actual children who are counted as God's children, but only those children of God's promise who are considered his true descendants.
9This is what the promise was: “I will return next year and Sarah will have a son.”#9:9. Genesis 18:10, 14. 10In addition Rebecca's twin sons had the same father, our forefather Isaac. 11But even before the children were born, and before they'd done anything right or wrong, (so that God's purpose could continue, proving God's calling of people is not based on human performance), 12she was told, “The older brother will serve the younger one.”#9:12. Genesis 25:23. 13As Scripture says, “I chose Jacob, but rejected Esau.”#9:13. Malachi 1:2, 3.
14So what should we conclude? That God was unjust? Certainly not! 15As he said to Moses, “I will be merciful to whoever I should show mercy, and I will have compassion on whoever I should show compassion.”#9:15. Exodus 33:19. 16So it does not depend on what we want, or our own efforts, but the merciful nature of God. 17Scripture records God saying to Pharaoh: “I put you here for a reason—so that through you I could demonstrate my power, and so that my name could be made known throughout the earth.”#9:17. Exodus 9:16. 18So God is merciful to those he wishes to be, and hardens the hearts of those he wants to.#9:18. In the Old Testament, this expression is used to describe obstinate rejection of God, such as the experience of the Pharaoh of the Exodus. In Exodus 9 Pharaoh is variously described as hardening his heart, God hardening his heart, or in the passive that his heart was hardened. So this verse in Romans should not be taken to mean that God deliberately hardens people's hearts and then punishes them for it. The hardening of the heart is a rejection of divine grace. 19Now you'll argue with me and ask, “So why does he still blame us then? Who can resist the will of God?” 20That's no way to speak, for who are you—a mere mortal—to contradict God? Can something that is created say to its creator, “Why did you make me like this?” 21Doesn't a potter have the right to use the same batch of clay to make both a decorative bowl and an everyday pot?#9:21. Literally, “pots of value and dishonor.”
22It's as if God, wanting to demonstrate his opposition to sin#9:22. Literally, “show anger.” and to reveal his power, bears patiently with these “pots destined for destruction,” 23so that he might reveal the greatness of his glory through these “pots of mercy” which he has prepared in advance for glory. 24This is who we are—people he has called, not just from among the Jews, but from among the foreigners too...
25As God said in the book of Hosea, “Those who are not my people I will call my people, and those who are not loved I will call the ones I love,”#9:25. Hosea 2:23. 26and, “It will happen that at the place where they were told, ‘You're not my people,’ there they will be called the children of the living God.”#9:26. Hosea 1:10.
27Isaiah cries out regarding Israel: “Even if the children of Israel have become as numerous as the sands of the sea, only a small number#9:27. Literally, “remnant.” will be saved. 28For the Lord is going to quickly and completely finish his work of judgment on the earth.”#9:28. Isaiah 10:22, 23. 29As Isaiah previously said, “If the Lord Almighty had not left us some descendants, we would have become just like Sodom and Gomorrah.”#9:29. Isaiah 1:9.
30What shall we conclude, then? That even though the foreigners were not even looking to do right, they did grasp what is right, and through their trust in God did what was right. 31But the people of Israel, who looked to the law to make them right with God, never succeeded. 32Why not? Because they relied on what they did rather than trusting in God. They tripped on the stumbling-block, 33just as Scripture predicted: “Look, I'm placing in Zion a stumbling-block, a rock that will offend people. But those who trust in him won't be disappointed.”#9:33. Isaiah 28:16, 8:14.