1 I am telling [you] the truth in Christ [i.e., since I am a Christian]; I am not lying. My conscience, [confirmed] by the Holy Spirit, supports my statements [as true], 2 that I have great sorrow and continual anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I, personally, were cut off from Christ [and lost] for the sake of my brothers, who are my physical relatives, 4 the Israelites. These people are God's adopted children; they have [experienced] His glorious presence; they have [received] His Agreements; they have been given the law of Moses; they possess the [Temple] service and the promises [of God]. 5 They are descended from our forefathers; they are the ones from whom Christ was born physically. He is God over everything [Note: Or this may be "God is over everything"] and should be praised forever! May it be so.
6 But it is not as if the word of God [i.e., His promise to Israel] has failed [in its fulfillment]. For not all those descended from the Israelites are [truly] Israelites [i.e., God's people]. 7 Neither are all [Jewish] people children [of God], [simply] because they are Abraham's descendants. But [Gen. 21:12 says], "It is through Isaac that you [i.e., Abraham] will have descendants." 8 This means that it is not the physical descendants [of Abraham] who are God's children, but it is the children [born] according to [God's] promise who are [Abraham's true] descendants. 9 For these are the words of the promise [Gen. 18:10], "I [i.e., God] will come at the appointed time and Sarah will have a son." 10 And that is not all, but Rebecca also conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac. 11 (OMITTED TEXT) 12 For even before the twins were born, and therefore had not done anything good or bad, Rebecca was told [Gen. 25:23], "The older one [i.e., Esau] will serve the younger one [i.e., Jacob]." This was so that God's purpose of choosing and calling [whomever He wanted to] might prevail, instead of [it depending on] what a person did. 13 Just as it is written [Mal. 1:2-3], "I [i.e., God] loved Jacob, but hated Esau."
14 What shall we say then? Is God guilty of wrongdoing? Certainly not! 15 For He said to Moses [Ex. 33:19], "I will show pity to whomever I want, and I will show mercy to whomever I want."
16 So then, it does not depend on what a person wants or does, but on God, who shows pity [i.e., to whomever He wants]. 17 For the Scripture said to Pharaoh [Ex. 9:16], "I raised you up [to be a ruler] for the very purpose of demonstrating my power in your life and that my name might be made known throughout the entire world."
18 So then, God has pity on whomever He wants to, and He makes stubborn whomever He wants.
19 But you [i.e., probably an objecting Jew] will say to me, "Why does God still find fault [with people]? For who can [successfully] resist what God wants to do?" 20 But who [do you think] you are, [you mere] man, to [attempt a] reply to God? Will the object formed [i.e., a clay pot] say to the one who molded it "Why did you make me this way?" 21 Or, does not the potter have the right to make what he wants to out of the clay? Can he not make both a beautiful vase and a common pot out of the same lump [of clay]? 22 What if God [did] patiently put up with people who deserved His wrath and [who were] ready for destruction, even though He was willing to demonstrate His wrath and power? 23 [What if He did this] in order to demonstrate His wealth of glory toward people who deserved His mercy, whom He had previously determined should receive [such special] honor? 24 We were these people, whom He called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles. 25 God said this also, in Hosea [2:23], "I [i.e., God] will call those people mine who were not [previously] my people. And [I will call] her 'dearly loved' who was not [previously] loved."
26 [Hosea 1:10 says], "And it will happen that in the very place where people were told, 'You people do not belong to me [i.e., God],' they will be called children of the living God."
27 And Isaiah declares about [the nation of] Israel [Isa. 10:22-23], "[Even] if the number of Israelites were [as many] as the grains of sand in the ocean, [still only] a small minority will be saved. 28 For the Lord will carry out His word in the world [i.e., He will require an accounting from the people] quickly and decisively."
29 And, as Isaiah had said in a previous passage [1:9], "If the Lord of the [heavenly] armies [i.e., Almighty God] had not left us some descendants [i.e., a small minority], we would have become like Sodom; He would have made us like Gomorrah [i.e., destroyed]."
30 What shall we say then? [Simply this]: That the Gentiles, who did not attempt to become right with God [by how they lived] were made right with God, and this was the result of their faith [in Christ]. 31 But the Israelites, who were attempting to become right with God by [conformity to] the law of Moses, never achieved [this righteousness] by that law. 32 Why? Because they did not [attempt to do it] by faith [in Him], but by trying to fulfill all the requirements [of the law]. So, they stumbled over "the stumbling stone," [i.e., the Jews refused to become obedient to Christ. See I Pet. 2:6-8]. 33 Even as it is written [Ex. 28:16], "Look, I am placing a stone in the city of Zion that people will stumble over and a rock on which they will trip and fall. But the person who believes in Him will not be put to shame [i.e., he will never have unforgiven sin brought up against him]."