1 I am telling the truth in union with Christ—I am not lying, for my conscience, confirms it in the Holy Spirit.
2 I have deep sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart,
3 for I could wish that I myself were condemned and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my relatives according to the flesh.
4 They are Israelites. To them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.
5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, Christ descended, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
6 Now it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all Israelites truly belong to Israel,
7 and not all of Abraham's descendants are his true descendants. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that descendants will be named for you.”
8 That is, it is not the children of natural descent who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as descendants.
9 For this is the language of promise: “At this time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.”
10 Not only that, but Rebecca became pregnant by our ancestor Isaac.
11 Yet before their children had been born or had done anything good or bad (so that God's plan of election might continue to operate
12 according to his calling and not by works), Rebecca was told, “The older child will serve the younger one.”
13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
14 What can we say, then? God is not unrighteous, is he? Of course not!
15 For he says to Moses, “I will be merciful to the person I want to be merciful to, and I will be kind to the person I want to be kind to.”
16 Therefore, God's choice does not depend on a person's will or effort, but on God himself, who shows mercy.
17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “I have raised you up for this very purpose,to demonstrate my power in you and that my name might be proclaimedin all the earth.”
18 Therefore, God has mercy on whomever he chooses, and he hardens the heart of whomever he chooses.
19 You may ask me, “Then why does God still find fault with anybody? For who can resist his will?”
20 On the contrary, who are you—mere man that you are—to talk back to God? Can an object that was molded say to the one who molded it, “Why did you make me like this?”
21 A potter has the right to do what he wants to with his clay, doesn't he? He can make something for a special occasion or something for ordinary use from the same lump.
22 Now if God wants to demonstrate his wrath and reveal his power, can't he be extremely patient with the objects of his wrath that are made for destruction?
23 Can't he also reveal his glorious riches to the objects of his mercy that he has prepared ahead of time for glory—
24 including us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but from the Gentiles as well?
25 As he says in Hosea, “Those who are not my peopleI will call my people, and the one who was not lovedI will call my loved one.
26 In the very place where it was said to them,‘You are not my people,’they will be called children of the living God.”
27 Isaiah also calls out concerning Israel, “Although the descendants of Israelare as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore,only a few will be saved.
28 For the Lord will carry out his planand shorten it in righteousness,because he will carry out his plan on the earth decisively.”
29 It is just as Isaiah predicted: “If the Lord of the Heavenly Armieshad not left us some descendants,we would have become like Sodomand would have been compared to Gomorrah.”
30 What can we say, then? Gentiles, who were not pursuing righteousness, have attained righteousness, a righteousness that comes through faith.
31 But Israel, who did pursue the righteousness that is based on the law, did not arrive at that law.
32 Why not? Because they did not pursue it on the basis of faith, but as if it were based on works. They stumbled over the stone that causes people to stumble.
33 As it is written, “Look! I am placing a stone in Zionthat people will stumble over and a large rock that will make them fall,and the one who believes in him will never be ashamed.”