1 I am telling the truth as a Christian man. I am telling no lie, because my conscience enlightened by the Holy Spirit is bearing me witness to this fact, 2 that I have deep grief and constant anguish in my heart; 3 for I could wish myself accursed, even cut off from Christ, for the sake of my brothers, my natural kinsmen. 4 For they are Israelites; to them belong the privileges of sonship, God's glorious presence, the special covenants, the giving of the law, the temple service, the promises, 5 the patriarchs, and from them by natural descent the Christ has come, who is exalted over all, God blessed forever. Amen!
6 But it is not that God's word has failed. For not everybody that is descended from Israel really belongs to Israel, 7 nor are they all children of Abraham, because they are his descendants, but the promise was "In the line of Isaac your descendants will I be counted." 8 That is, it is not Abraham's natural descendants who are God's children, but those who are made children by the promise are counted his true descendants. 9 For this is the language of the promise, "About this time next year I will come back, and Sarah will have a son." 10 Not only that but this too: There was Rebecca who was impregnated by our forefather Isaac. 11 For even before the twin sons were born, and though they had done nothing either good or bad, that God's purpose in accordance with His choice might continue to stand, conditioned not on men's actions but on God's calling them, 12 she was told, "The elder will be a slave to the younger." 13 As the Scripture says, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."
14 What are we then to conclude? It is not that there is injustice in God, is it? Of course not! 15 For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on any man that I choose to have mercy on, and take pity on any man that I choose to take pity on."
16 So one's destiny does not depend on his own willing or strenuous actions but on God's having mercy on him. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "I have raised you to your position for this very purpose of displaying my power in dealing with you, of announcing my name all over the earth."
18 So He has mercy on any man that He chooses to, and He hardens any man that He chooses to harden.
19 So you will ask me, "Why does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?" 20 On the contrary, friend, who are you anyway that you would answer back to God? Can the clay that is molded ask the man who molds it, "Why did you make me like this?" 21 Has not the potter the right with his clay to make of the same lump one vessel for ornamental purposes, another for degrading service? 22 And what if God, though wishing to display His anger and make known His power, yet, has most patiently borne with the objects of His anger, already ripe for destruction, 23 so as to make known the riches of His glory for the objects of His mercy, whom He prepared in ages past to share His glory -- 24 even us whom He has called, not only from among the Jews but from among the heathen too? 25 Just as He says in Hosea: "I will call a people that was not mine, my people, and her who was not beloved, my beloved,
26 And in the place where it was said, 'You are no people of mine,' they shall be called sons of the living God."
27 And Isaiah cries out about Israel, "Although the sons of Israel are as numberless as the sands of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28 for the Lord will completely and quickly execute His sentence on the earth."
29 As Isaiah again has foretold, "Unless the Lord of hosts had left us some descendants, we would have fared as Sodom did and would have been like Gomorrah."
30 What are we then to conclude? That heathen peoples who were not in search for right standing with God have obtained it, and that a right standing conditioned on faith; 31 while Israel, though ever in pursuit of a law that would bring right standing, did not attain to it. 32 Why? Because they did not try through faith but through what they could do. They have stumbled over the stone that causes people to stumble, 33 as the Scripture says: "See, I put on Zion a stone for causing people to stumble, a rock to trip them on, but no one who puts his faith in it will ever be put to shame."