1 I am telling the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears witness to me in the Holy Spirit—2that my grief is great and there is constant distress in my heart. 3For I could wish myself to be accursed from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my fellow countrymen according to the flesh, 4who are Israelites, to whom belong the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the temple service, and the promises, 5to whom belong the patriarchs, and from whom is the Christ according to human descent, who is God over all, blessed forever#Literally “for eternity”! Amen.
6But it is not as if the word of God had failed. For not all those who are descended from Israel are truly Israel, 7nor are they all children because they are descendants of Abraham, but “In Isaac will your descendants be named.”#A quotation from Gen 21:12 8That is, it is not the children by human descent#Literally “of the flesh” who are children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as descendants. 9For the statement of the promise is this: “At this time I will return and Sarah will have#Literally “there will be to Sarah” a son.”#A quotation from Gen 18:10, 14 10And not only this, but also when#*Here “when” is supplied as a component of the participle (“having conception” = “conceived”) which is understood as temporal Rebecca conceived children by one man,#Or perhaps “by one act of sexual intercourse” Isaac our father—11for although they#*Here “although” is supplied as a component of the participle (“been born”) which is understood as concessive had not yet been born, or done anything good or evil, in order that the purpose of God according to election might remain, 12not by works but by the one who calls—it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger,”#A quotation from Gen 25:23 13just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”#A quotation from Mal 1:2–3
God’s Sovereign Choice to Show Mercy
14What then shall we say? There is no injustice with God, is there?#*The negative construction in Greek anticipates a negative answer here May it never be! 15For to Moses he says, “I will have mercy on whomever I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I have compassion.”#A quotation from Exod 33:19 16Consequently therefore, it does not depend on the#Literally “not of the” one who wills or on the one who runs, but on God who shows mercy. 17For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very reason I have raised you up, so that I may demonstrate my power in you, and so that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”#A quotation from Exod 9:16 18Consequently therefore, he has mercy on whomever he wishes, and he hardens whomever he wishes.
19Therefore you will say to me, “Why then does he still find fault? For who has resisted#Or “who resists” his will? 20On the contrary, O man, who are you who answers back to God? Will what is molded say to the one who molded it, “Why did you make me like this”?#A quotation from Isa 29:16; 45:9 21Or does the potter not have authority over the clay, to make from the same lump a vessel that is for honorable use#Literally “honor” and one that is for ordinary use#Literally “dishonor”? 22And what if God, wanting to demonstrate his wrath and to make known his power, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23And he did so#*The words “he did so” are not in the Greek text, but are an understood repetition from the previous clause in order that he could make known the riches of his glory upon vessels of mercy that he prepared beforehand for glory, 24us whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25As he also says in Hosea,
“I will call those who were not my people, ‘My people,’
and those who were not loved, ‘Loved.’#A quotation from Hos 2:23
26And it will be in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’
there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ ”#A quotation from Hos 1:10
27And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel,
“Even if the number of the sons of Israel is like the sand of the sea,
the remnant will be saved,
28for the Lord will execute his sentence thoroughly and decisively#Literally “for the Lord will act, closing the account and cutting short” upon the earth.”#A paraphrased quotation from Isa 10:22–23
29And just as Isaiah foretold,
“If the Lord of hosts had not left us descendants,
we would have become like Sodom
and would have resembled Gomorrah.”#A quotation from Isa 1:9
30What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness—even the righteousness that is by faith. 31But Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, did not attain to the law. 32Why that? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if by works. They stumbled over the stone that causes people to stumble#Literally “stone of stumbling”, 33just as it is written,
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble#Literally “a stone of stumbling”,
and a rock that causes them to fall#Literally “a rock of offense”,
and the one who believes in him will not be put to shame.”#A quotation from Isa 28:16; 8:14
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