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Chapter 9

1I am telling the truth as a Christian, it is no falsehood, for my conscience under the holy Spirit’s influence bears me witness in it, 2when I say that I am greatly pained and my heart is constantly distressed, 3for I could wish myself accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my natural kindred. 4For they are Israelites, and to them belong the rights of sonship, God’s glorious presence, the divine agreements and legislation, the Temple service, the promises, 5and the patriarchs, and from them physically Christ came—God who is over all be blessed forever! Amen. 6Not that God’s message has failed. For not everybody who is descended from Israel really belongs to Israel, 7nor are they all children of Abraham because they are descended from him, but he was told, “The line of Isaac will be called your descendants.” 8That is to say, it is not his physical descendants who are children of God, but his descendants born in fulfilment of the promise who are considered his true posterity. 9For this is what the promise said: “When I come back at this time next year, Sarah will have a son.” 10And that is not all, for there was Rebecca too, when she was about to bear twin sons to our forefather Isaac. 11For before the children were born or had done anything either good or bad, in order to carry out God’s purpose of selection, which depends not on what men do but on his calling them, 12she was told, “The elder will be the younger’s slave.” 13As the Scripture says, “I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau.”

14What do we conclude? That God is guilty of injustice? By no means. 15He said to Moses, “I will have mercy on the man on whom I choose to have mercy, and take pity on the man on whom I choose to take pity.” 16So it depends not on human will or exertion, but on the mercy of God. 17The Scripture says to Pharaoh, “I have raised you to your position for the very purpose of displaying my power in dealing with you, and making my name known all over the world.” 18So he has mercy on anyone he pleases, and hardens the heart of anyone he pleases.

19“Why, then,” you will ask, “does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20On the contrary, who are you, my friend, to answer back to God? Can something a man shapes say to the man who shaped it, “Why did you make me like this?” 21Has not the potter with his clay the right to make from the same lump one thing for exalted uses and another for menial ones? 22Then what if God, though he wanted to display his anger and show his power, has shown great patience toward the objects of his anger, already ripe for destruction, 23so as to show all the wealth of his glory in dealing with the objects of his mercy, whom he has prepared from the beginning to share his glory, 24including us whom he has called not only from among the Jews but from among the heathen? 25Just as he says in Hosea,

“I will call a people that was not mine, my people,

And her who was not beloved, my beloved,

26And in the very place where they were told, ‘You are no people of mine,’

They shall be called sons of the living God.”

27And Isaiah cries out about Israel, “Although the sons of Israel are as numerous as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28for the Lord will execute his sentence rigorously and swiftly on the earth.” 29As Isaiah foretold,

“If the Lord of Hosts had not left us children,

We would have been like Sodom, and have resembled Gomorrah!”

30Then what do we conclude? That heathen who were not striving for uprightness attained it, that is, an uprightness which was produced by faith; 31while Israel, straining after a law that should bring uprightness, did not come up to it. 32And why? Because they did not seek it through faith, but through doing certain things. They stumbled over that stone that makes people stumble, 33as the Scripture says,

“See, I will put a stone on Zion to make people stumble, and a rock to trip over,

But no one who has faith in it will be disappointed.”

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