God's Choice of Israel 9 1I am a follower of Christ, and the Holy Spirit is a witness to my conscience. So I tell the truth and I am not lying when I say 2my heart is broken and I am in great sorrow. 3I would gladly be placed under God's curse and be separated from Christ for the good of my own people. 4 They are the descendants of Israel, and they are also God's chosen people. God showed them his glory. He made agreements with them and gave them his Law. The temple is theirs and so are the promises that God made to them. 5They have those famous ancestors, who were also the ancestors of the Christ.[P] I pray that God, who rules over all, will be praised forever![Q] Amen. 6It cannot be said that God broke his promise. After all, not all of the people of Israel are the true people of God. 787-8 In fact, when God made the promise to Abraham, he meant only Abraham's descendants by his son Isaac. God was talking only about Isaac when he promised 9 Sarah, “At this time next year I will return, and you will already have a son.” 10Don't forget what happened to the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah. 111211-12 Even before they were born or had done anything good or bad, the Lord told Rebekah that her older son would serve the younger one. The Lord said this to show he makes his own choices and it wasn't because of anything either of them had done. 13 That's why the Scriptures say that the Lord liked Jacob more than Esau. 14Are we saying God is unfair? Certainly not! 15 The Lord told Moses that he has pity and mercy on anyone he wants to. 16Everything then depends on God's mercy and not on what people want or do. 17 In the Scriptures the Lord says to the king of Egypt, “I let you become king, so that I could show you my power and be praised by all people on earth.” 18Everything depends on what God decides to do, and he can either have pity on people or make them stubborn. God's Anger and Mercy 19Someone may ask, “How can God blame us, if he makes us behave in the way he wants us to?” 20 But, my friend, I ask, “Who do you think you are to question God? Does the clay have the right to ask the potter why he shaped it the way he did? 21 Doesn't a potter have the right to make a fancy bowl and a plain bowl out of the same lump of clay?” 22 God wanted to show his anger and reveal his power against everyone who deserved to be destroyed. But instead, he patiently put up with them. 23He did this by showing how glorious he is when he has pity on the people he has chosen to share in his glory. 24Whether Jews or Gentiles, we are those chosen ones, 25 just as the Lord says in the book of Hosea,   “Although they are not my people, I will make them my people. I will treat with love those nations that have never been loved.   26 “Once they were told, ‘You are not my people.’ But in that very place they will be called children of the living God.”   27 And this is what the prophet Isaiah said about the people of Israel,   “The people of Israel are as many as the grains of sand along the beach. But only a few who are left will be saved. 28The Lord will be quick and sure to do on earth what he has warned he will do.”   29 Isaiah also said,   “If the Lord All-Powerful had not spared some of our descendants, we would have been destroyed like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.”[R] Israel and the Good News 30What does all of this mean? It means that the Gentiles were not trying to be acceptable to God, but they found that he would accept them if they had faith. 313231-32It also means that the people of Israel were not acceptable to God. And why not? It was because they were trying[S] to be acceptable by obeying the Law instead of by having faith in God. The people of Israel fell over the stone that makes people stumble, 33 just as God says in the Scriptures,   “Look! I am placing in Zion a stone to make people stumble and fall. But those who have faith in that one will never be disappointed.”
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