1 I am telling the truth in Christ ??it is no lie, my conscience bears me out in the holy Spirit 2 when I say that I am in sore pain. I suffer endless anguish of heart. 3 I could have wished myself accursed and banished from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my natural kinsmen; 4 for they are Israelites, theirs is the Sonship, the Glory, the covenants, the divine legislation, the Worship, and the promises; 5 the patriarchs are theirs, and theirs too (so far as natural descent goes) is the Christ. (Blessed for evermore be the God who is over all! Amen.)
6 It is not, of course, as if God's word had failed! Far from it! 'Israel' does not mean everyone who belongs to Israel; 7 they are not all children of Abraham because they are descended from Abraham. No, it is through Isaac that your offspring shall be reckoned ??8 meaning that instead of God's children being the children born to him by natural descent, it is the children of the Promise who are reckoned as his true offspring. 9 For when God said, I will come about this time and Sara shall have a son, that was a word of promise. 10 And further, when Rebecca became pregnant by our father Isaac, though one man was the father of both children, 11 and though the children were still unborn and had done nothing either good or bad (to confirm the divine purpose in election which depends upon the call of God, not on anything man does), 12 she was told that the elder will serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob I loved but Esau I hated.
14 Then are we to infer that there is injustice in God? Never! 15 God says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I choose to have mercy, I will have compassion on whom I choose to have compassion.
16 You see, it is not a question of human will or effort but of the divine mercy. 17 Why, scripture says to Pharaoh, It was for this that I raised you up, to display my power in you, and to spread news of my name over all the earth.
18 Thus God has mercy on anyone just as he pleases, and he makes anyone stubborn just as he pleases.
19 "Then," you will retort, "why does he go on finding fault? Who can oppose his will?" 20 But who are you, my man, to speak back to God? Is something a man has moulded to ask him who has moulded it, "Why did you make me like this?" 21 What! has the potter no right over the clay? Has he no right to make out of the same lump one vessel for a noble purpose and another for a menial? 22 What if God, though desirous to display his anger and show his might, has tolerated most patiently the objects of his anger, ripe and ready to be destroyed? 23 What if he means to show the wealth that lies in his glory for the objects of his mercy, whom he has made ready beforehand to receive glory ??24 that is, for us whom he has called from among the Gentiles as well as the Jews? 25 As indeed he says in Hosea, Those who were no people of mine, I will call 'my People,' and her 'beloved' who was not beloved;
26 on the very spot where they were told, 'You are no people of mine,' there shall they be called 'sons of the living God.'
27 And Isaiah exclaims, with regard to Israel, Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them shall be saved; 28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with rigour and despatch.
29 Indeed, as Isaiah foretold, Had not the Lord of hosts left us with some descendants, we would have fared like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorra.
30 What are we to conclude, then? That Gentiles who never aimed at righteousness have attained righteousness, that is, righteousness by faith; 31 whereas Israel who did aim at the law of righteousness have failed to reach that law. 32 And why? Simply because Israel has relied not on faith but on what they could do. They have stumbled over the stone that makes men stumble ??33 as it is written, Here I lay a stone in Sion that will make men stumble, even a rock to trip them up; but he who believes in Him will never be disappointed.