GOD'S WORD® Translation
1As a Christian, I'm telling you the truth. I'm not lying. The Holy Spirit, along with my own thoughts, supports me in this. 2I have deep sorrow and endless heartache. 3I wish I could be condemned and cut off from Christ for the sake of others who, like me, are Jewish by birth. 4They are Israelites, God's adopted children. They have the Lord's glory, the pledges, Moses' Teachings, the true worship, and the promises. 5The Messiah is descended from their ancestors according to his human nature. The Messiah is God over everything, forever blessed. Amen.
6Now it is not as though God's word has failed. Clearly, not everyone descended from Israel is part of Israel 7or a descendant of Abraham. However, [as Scripture says,] "Through Isaac your descendants will carry on your name." 8This means that children born by natural descent [from Abraham] are not necessarily God's children. Instead, children born by the promise are considered Abraham's descendants. 9For example, this is what the promise said, "I will come back at the right time, and Sarah will have a son." 10The same thing happened to Rebekah. Rebekah became pregnant by our ancestor Isaac. 11Before the children had been born or had done anything good or bad, Rebekah was told that the older child would serve the younger one. This was said to Rebekah so that God's plan would remain a matter of his choice, 12a choice based on God's call and not on anything people do. 13The Scriptures say, "I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau."
14What can we say-that God is unfair? That's unthinkable! 15For example, God said to Moses, "I will be kind to anyone I want to. I will be merciful to anyone I want to." 16Therefore, God's choice does not depend on a person's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. 17For example, Scripture says to Pharaoh, "I put you here for this reason: to demonstrate my power through you and to spread my name throughout the earth." 18Therefore, if God wants to be kind to anyone, he will be. If he wants to make someone stubborn, he will.
19You may ask me, "Why does God still find fault with anyone? Who can resist whatever God wants to do?" 20Who do you think you are to talk back to God like that? Can an object that was made say to its maker, "Why did you make me like this?" 21A potter has the right to do whatever he wants with his clay. He can make something for a special occasion or something for everyday use from the same lump of clay. 22If God wants to demonstrate his anger and reveal his power, he can do it. But can't he be extremely patient with people who are objects of his anger because they are headed for destruction? 23Can't God also reveal the riches of his glory to people who are objects of his mercy and who he had already prepared for glory? 24This is what God did for us whom he called-whether we are Jews or not.
25As God says in Hosea: "Those who are not my people I will call my people. Those who are not loved I will call my loved ones.
26Wherever they were told, 'You are not my people,' they will be called children of the living God."
27Isaiah also says about Israel: "Although the descendants of Israel are as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore, only a few will be saved. 28The Lord will carry out his sentence on the land, completely and decisively."
29This is what Isaiah predicted: "If the Lord of Armies hadn't left us some descendants, we would have been like Sodom and Gomorrah."
30So what can we say? We can say that non-Jewish people who were not trying to gain God's approval won his approval, an approval based on faith. 31The people of Israel tried to gain God's approval by obeying Moses' Teachings, but they did not reach their goal. 32Why? They didn't rely on faith to gain God's approval, but they relied on their own efforts. They stumbled over the rock that trips people.
33As Scripture says, "I am placing a rock in Zion that people trip over, a large rock that people find offensive. Whoever believes in him will not be ashamed."
GOD'S WORD® is a copyrighted work of God's Word to the Nations. Quotations are used by permission. Copyright 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. All rights reserved.