God and the Jewish People
1 I am in Christ and I am telling you the truth. I am not lying. And my conscience, ruled by the Holy Spirit, agrees that what I say now is true. 2 I have great sorrow and always feel much sadness 3 for my own people. They are my brothers and sisters, my earthly family. I wish I could help them. I would even have a curse on me and cut myself off from Christ if that would help them. 4 They are the people of Israel, God’s chosen children. They have the glory of God and the agreements he made between himself and his people. God gave them the Law of Moses, the Temple worship, and his promises. 5 They are the descendants of our great fathers, and they are the earthly family of the Messiah, who is God over all things. Praise him forever!* Messiah, who is … forever! Or “Messiah. May God, who rules over all things, be praised forever!” Amen.
6 I don’t mean that God failed to keep his promise to the Jewish people. But only some of the people of Israel are really God’s people.† God’s people Literally, “Israel,” the people God chose to bring his blessings to the world. 7 And only some of Abraham’s descendants are true children of Abraham. This is what God said to Abraham: “Your true descendants will be those who come through Isaac.”✡ Quote from Genesis 21:12. 8 This means that not all of Abraham’s descendants are God’s true children. Abraham’s true children are those who become God’s children because of the promise he made to Abraham. 9 Here is what God said in that promise: “About this time next year I will come back, and Sarah will have a son.”✡ Quote from Genesis 18:10, 14.
10 And that is not all. Rebecca also had sons, and they had the same father. He is our father Isaac. 11-12 But before the two sons were born, God told Rebecca, “The older son will serve the younger.”✡ Quote from Genesis 25:23. This was before the boys had done anything good or bad. God said this before they were born so that the boy he wanted would be chosen because of God’s own plan. He was chosen because he was the one God wanted to call, not because of anything the boys did. 13 As the Scriptures say, “I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau.”✡ Quote from Malachi 1:2-3.
14 So what does this mean? That God is not fair? We cannot say that. 15 God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I want to show mercy to. I will show pity to anyone I choose.”✡ Quote from Exodus 33:19. 16 So God will choose anyone he decides to show mercy to, and his choice does not depend on what people want or try to do. 17 In the Scriptures God says to Pharaoh: “I made you king so that you could do this for me. I wanted to show my power through you. I wanted my name to be announced throughout the world.”✡ Quote from Exodus 9:16. 18 So God shows mercy to those he wants to show mercy to and makes stubborn those he wants to make stubborn.
19 So one of you will ask me, “If God controls what we do, why does he blame us for our sins?” 20 Don’t ask that. You are only human and have no right to question God. A clay jar does not question the one who made it. It does not say, “Why did you make me like this?” 21 The one who makes the jar can make anything he wants. He uses the same clay to make different things. He might make one thing for special purposes and another for daily use.
22 It is the same way with what God has done. He wanted to show his anger and to let people see his power. But he patiently endured those he was angry with—people who were ready to be destroyed. 23 He waited with patience so that he could make known the riches of his glory to the people he has chosen to receive his mercy. God has already prepared them to share his glory. 24 We are those people, the ones God chose not only from the Jews but also from those who are not Jews. 25 As the Scriptures say in the book of Hosea,
“The people who are not mine—
I will say they are my people.
And the people I did not love—
I will say they are the people I love.” Hosea 2:23
“Where God said in the past,
‘You are not my people’—
there they will be called children of the living God.” Hosea 1:10
27 And Isaiah cries out about Israel:
“There are so many people of Israel,
they are like the grains of sand by the sea.
But only a few of them will be saved.
28 Yes, the Lord will quickly finish judging the people on the earth.” Isaiah 10:22-23
29 It is just as Isaiah said:
“The Lord All-Powerful
allowed some of our people to live.
If he had not done that,
we would now be like Sodom,
and we would be like Gomorrah.” Isaiah 1:9
30 So what does all this mean? It means that people who are not Jews were made right with God because of their faith, even though they were not trying to make themselves right. 31 And the people of Israel, who tried to make themselves right with God by following the law, did not succeed. 32 They failed because they tried to make themselves right by the things they did. They did not trust in God to make them right. They fell over the stone that makes people fall. 33 The Scriptures talk about that stone:
“Look, I put in Zion a stone that will make people stumble.
It is a rock that will make people fall.
But anyone who trusts in him
*9:5 Messiah, who is … forever! Or “Messiah. May God, who rules over all things, be praised forever!”
†9:6 God’s people Literally, “Israel,” the people God chose to bring his blessings to the world.