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Romans 9-11 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Paul’s Love for the Jewish People

1–2 O Israel, my Jewish family,[a] I feel such great sorrow and heartache for you that never leaves me! God knows these deep feelings within me as I long for you to come to faith in the Anointed One. My conscience will not let me speak anything but the truth. 3–4 For my grief is so intense that I wish that I would be accursed, cut off from the Messiah, if it would mean that you, my people, would come to faith in him!

You are Israelites, my fellow citizens, and God’s chosen people.[b] To you belong God’s glorious presence, the covenants, the Torah, the temple with its required sacrifices, and the promises of God. We trace our beginnings back to the patriarchs, and through their bloodline is the genealogy of the Messiah, who is God over everything. May he be praised through endless ages! Amen!

Clearly, God has not failed to fulfill his promises to Israel, for that will never happen! But not everyone who has descended from Israel belongs to Israel. Physical descent from Abraham doesn’t guarantee the inheritance, because God has said:

“Through Isaac your descendants will be counted as part of your lineage.”[c]

This confirms that it is not merely the natural offspring of Abraham who are considered the children of God; rather, the children born because of God’s promise[d] are counted as descendants. For God promised Abraham:

“In nine months from now your wife, Sarah, will have a son!”[e]

God’s Freedom of Choice

10 Now, this son was our ancestor, Isaac, who, with his wife, Rebekah, conceived twins. 11–12 And before her twin sons were born, God spoke to Rebekah and said:

“The oldest will serve the younger.”[f]

God spoke these words before the sons had done anything good or bad, which proves that God calls people not on the basis of their good or bad works, but according to his divine purpose. 13 For in the words of Scripture:

“Jacob I have chosen, but Esau I have rejected.”[g]

14 So, what does all this mean? Are we saying that God is unfair? Of course not! 15 He had every right to say to Moses:

“I will be merciful to whomever I choose and I will show compassion to whomever I wish.”[h]

16 Again, this proves that God’s choice doesn’t depend on how badly someone wants it or tries to earn it,[i] but it depends on God’s kindness and mercy. 17 For just as God said to Pharaoh:

“I raised you up[j] as ruler of Egypt for this reason, that I might make you an example of how I demonstrate my miracle power. For by the example of how I deal with you, my powerful name will be a message proclaimed throughout the earth!”[k]

18 So again we see that it is entirely up to God to show mercy or to harden[l] the hearts of whomever he chooses.

19 Well then, one might ask, “If God is in complete control, how could he blame us? For who can resist whatever he wants done?”

20 But who do you think you are to second-guess God? How could a human being molded out of clay say to the one who molded him, “Why in the world did you make me this way?”[m] 21 Or are you denying the right of the potter to make out of clay whatever he wants? Doesn’t the potter have the right to make from the same lump of clay an elegant vase or an ordinary pot?

22 And in the same way, although God has every right to unleash his anger and demonstrate his power, yet he is extremely patient with those who deserve wrath—vessels prepared for destruction. 23 And doesn’t he also have the right[n] to release the revelation of the wealth of his glory to his vessels of mercy, whom God prepared beforehand to receive his glory? 24 Even for us, whether we are Jews or non-Jews, we are those he has called to experience his glory. 25 Remember the prophecy God gave in Hosea:

“To those who were rejected and not my people,
    I will say to them: ‘You are mine.’
And to those who were unloved I will say:
    ‘You are my darling.’ ”[o]

26 And:

“In the place where they were told, ‘You are nobody,’
    this will be the very place where they will be renamed
    ‘Children of the living God.’ ”[p]
27 And the prophet Isaiah cries out to Israel:
Though the children of Israel
    are as many as the sands of the seashore,
    only a remnant will be saved.
28 For the Lord Yahweh[q] will act
    and carry out his word on the earth,
    and waste no time to accomplish it![r]

29 Just as Isaiah saw it coming and prophesied:

If the Lord God of angel armies[s]
    had not left us a remnant,[t]
    we would have been destroyed like Sodom
    and left desolate like Gomorrah!

Israel’s Unbelief

30 So then, what does all this mean? Here’s the irony: The non-Jewish people, who weren’t even pursuing righteousness, were the ones who seized it—a perfect righteousness that is transferred by faith. 31 Yet Israel, even though pursuing a legal righteousness,[u] did not attain to it. 32 And why was that? Because they did not pursue the path of faith but insisted on pursuing righteousness by works,[v] as if it could be seized another way. They were offended by the means of obtaining it and stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 just as it is written:

“Be careful! I am setting in Zion a stone
    that will cause people to stumble,
    a rock[w] of offense that will make them fall,
    but believers in him will not experience shame.”[x]

Faith-Righteousness

10 My beloved brothers and sisters, the passionate desire of my heart and constant prayer to God is for my fellow Israelites to experience salvation. For I know that although they are deeply devoted to God, they are unenlightened. And since they’ve ignored the righteousness God gives, wanting instead to be acceptable to God because of their own works, they’ve refused to submit to God’s faith-righteousness. For the Christ is the end of the law.[y] And because of him, God has transferred his perfect righteousness to all who believe.

Moses wrote long ago about the need to obey every part of the law in order to be declared right with God:

“The one who obeys these things must always live by them.”[z]

But we receive the faith-righteousness that speaks an entirely different message:

“Don’t for a moment think you need to climb into the heavens to find the Messiah and bring him down, or to descend into the underworld to bring him up from the dead.”[aa]

But the faith-righteousness we receive speaks to us in these words of Moses:

“God’s living message is very close to you, as close as your own heart beating in your chest and as near as the tongue in your mouth.”[ab]

And what is God’s “living message”? It is the revelation of faith for salvation,[ac] which is the message that we preach. For if you publicly declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will experience salvation. 10 The heart that believes in him receives the gift of the righteousness of God—and then the mouth gives thanks[ad] to salvation. 11 For the Scriptures encourage us with these words:

“Everyone who believes in him will never be disappointed.”[ae]

Good News for All People

12 So then faith eliminates the distinction between Jew and non-Jew, for he is the same Lord Jehovah[af] for all people. And he has enough treasures to lavish generously upon all who call on him. 13 And it’s true:

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Yahweh
    will be rescued and experience new life.”[ag]

14 But how can people call on him for help if they’ve not yet believed? And how can they believe in one they’ve not yet heard of? And how can they hear the message of life if there is no one there to proclaim it? 15 And how can the message be proclaimed if messengers have yet to be sent? That’s why the Scriptures say:

How welcome is the arrival[ah]
    of those proclaiming the joyful news of peace
    and of good things to come!

16 But not everyone welcomes[ai] the good news, as Isaiah said:

Lord, is there anyone who hears
    and believes our message?[aj]

17 Faith, then, is birthed in a heart that responds to God’s anointed utterance of the Anointed One.

18 Can it be that Israel hasn’t heard the message? No, they have heard it, for:

The voice has been heard throughout the world,
    and its message has gone to the ends of the earth![ak]

19 So again I ask, didn’t Israel already understand that God’s message was for others as well as for themselves?[al] Yes, they certainly did understand, for Moses was the first[am] to state it:

“I will make you jealous of a people who are ‘nobodies.’
    And I will use people with no understanding
    to provoke you to anger.”[an]

20 And Isaiah the fearless prophet dared to declare:

“Those who found me weren’t even seeking me.
    I manifested[ao] myself before those
    who weren’t even asking to know me!”[ap]

21 Yet regarding Israel Isaiah says:

“With love I have held out my hands day after day,
    offering myself to this unbelieving
    and stubborn people!”[aq]

God Will Not Forget His Promises to Israel

11 So then I ask you this question: did God really push aside and reject his people?[ar] Absolutely not! For I myself am a Jew, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.[as] God has not rejected his chosen, destined people![at] Haven’t you heard Elijah’s testimony in the Scriptures, and how he prays to God, agonizing over Israel?

“Lord, they’ve murdered your prophets; they’ve demolished your altars. Now I’m the only one left and they want to kill me!”[au]

But what was the revelation[av] God spoke to him in response?

You are not alone. For I have preserved a remnant for myself—seven thousand others who are faithful and have refused to worship Baal.”[aw]

And that is but one example of what God is doing in this age of fulfillment, for God’s grace empowers his chosen remnant. And since it is by God’s grace, it can’t be a matter of their good works; otherwise, it wouldn’t be a gift of grace, but earned by human effort.

So then, Israel failed to achieve what it had strived for, but the divinely chosen remnant receives it by grace, while the rest were hardened and unable to receive the truth. Just as it is written:

God granted them a spirit of deep slumber.[ax]
    He closed their eyes to the truth
    and prevented their ears from hearing[ay]
    up to this very day.

And King David also prophesied this:

May their table[az] prove to be a snare
    and a trap to cause their ruin.
    Bring them the retribution they deserve.
10 Blindfold their eyes and don’t let them see.
    Let them be stooped over continually.[ba]

The Restoration of Israel

11 So, am I saying that Israel stumbled so badly that they will never get back up? Certainly not! Rather, it was because of their stumble that salvation now extends to all the non-Jewish people, in order to make Israel jealous and desire the very things that God has freely given them. 12 So if all the world is being greatly enriched through their failure, and through their fall great spiritual wealth is given to the non-Jewish people, imagine how much more will Israel’s awakening[bb] bring to us all!

13 Now, I speak to you who are not Jewish, since I am an apostle to reach the non-Jewish people. And I draw attention to this ministry as much as I can when I am among the Jews, 14 hoping to make them jealous of what God has given to those who are not Jews, winning some of my people to salvation.

15 For if their temporary rejection released the reconciling power of grace into the world, what will happen when Israel is reinstated and reconciled to God? It will unleash resurrection power throughout the whole earth!

A Warning to Non-Jewish Believers

16 Since Abraham and the patriarchs are consecrated and set apart for God, so also will their descendants be set apart.[bc] If the roots of a tree are holy and set apart for God, so too will be the branches.

17 However, some of the branches have been pruned away. And you,[bd] who were once nothing more than a wild olive branch in the desert,[be] God has grafted in—inserting you among the remaining branches as a joint partner to share in the wonderful richness of the cultivated olive stem. 18 So don’t be so arrogant as to believe that you are superior to the natural branches. There’s no reason to boast, for the new branches don’t support the root, but you owe your life to the root that supports you!

19 You might begin to think that some branches were pruned or broken off just to make room for you. 20 Yes, that’s true.[bf] They were removed because of their unbelief. But remember this: you are only attached by your faith. So don’t be presumptuous, but stand in awe and reverence. 21 Since God didn’t spare the natural branches that fell into unbelief, perhaps he won’t spare you either!

22 So fix your gaze on the simultaneous kindness[bg] and strict justice[bh] of God. How severely he treated those who fell into unbelief! Yet how tender and kind is his relationship with you. So keep on trusting in his kindness; otherwise, you also will be cut off.

23 God is more than ready to graft back in the natural branches when they turn from clinging to their unbelief to embracing faith. 24 For if God grafted you in, even though you were taken from what is by nature a wild olive tree, how much more can he reconnect the natural branches by inserting them back into their own cultivated olive tree!

The Mystery of Israel’s Restoration

25 My beloved brothers and sisters, I want to share with you[bi] a mystery[bj] concerning Israel’s future. For understanding this mystery will keep you from thinking you already know everything.

A partial and temporary hardening[bk] to the gospel has come over Israel, which will last until the full number of non-Jews has come into God’s family. 26 And then God will bring all of Israel to salvation! The prophecy will be fulfilled that says:

“Coming from Zion will be the Savior,
    and he will turn Jacob away from evil.[bl]
27 For this is my covenant promise with them
    when I forgive their sins.”[bm]

28 Now, many of the Jews are opposed to the gospel, but their opposition has opened the door of the gospel to you who are not Jewish. Yet they are still greatly loved by God because their ancestors were divinely chosen to be his. 29 And when God chooses someone and graciously imparts gifts to him, they are never rescinded.[bn]

30 You who are not Jews were once rebels against God, but now, because of their disobedience, you have experienced God’s tender mercies. 31 And now they are the rebels, and because of God’s tender mercies to you, you can open the door to them to share in and enjoy what God has given to us!

32 Actually, God considers all of humanity to be prisoners of their unbelief, so that he can unlock our hearts and show his tender mercies to all who come to him.

33 Who could ever wrap their minds around the riches of God, the depth of his wisdom, and the marvel of his perfect knowledge? Who could ever explain the wonder of his decisions[bo] or search out the mysterious way he carries out his plans?

34 For who has discovered how the Lord thinks
    or is wise enough to be the one
    to advise him in his plans?[bp]

35 Or:

“Who has ever first given something to God
    that obligates God to owe him something in return?”[bq]

36 And because God is the source and sustainer of everything, everything finds fulfillment in him. May all praise and honor be given to him forever! Amen!

Footnotes:

  1. Romans 9:1 Although implied here, Paul indeed calls them “my people” in v. 3.
  2. Romans 9:3 Or “to you belong the adoption as sons.”
  3. Romans 9:7 See Gen. 21:12.
  4. Romans 9:8 The Aramaic can be translated “the children of the kingdom.” By implication, it is those who can be traced back to a supernatural birth who are regarded as the children of God.
  5. Romans 9:9 See Gen. 18:10, 14.
  6. Romans 9:11 See Gen. 25:23.
  7. Romans 9:13 Or “Jacob I loved, Esau I hated.” The love/hate contrast is not merely a matter of God’s emotions, but God’s actions of choosing Jacob and excluding Esau. This Semitic idiom is also found in Jesus’ words of “hating our father, mother . . . even our own life.” It is a “hatred” compared to the love we demonstrate by choosing to follow Jesus. See Mal. 1:2-3; Luke 14:26.
  8. Romans 9:15 See Ex. 33:19.
  9. Romans 9:16 Or “not of the one willing nor of the one running.”
  10. Romans 9:17 The Aramaic can be translated “For this reason I ruined you.”
  11. Romans 9:17 See Ex. 9:16.
  12. Romans 9:18 Although the Greek implies God hardens hearts, the Aramaic is more of a Hebrew idiom, “God gives permission for them to be hardened.” This implies the hardening the heart is from within the individual.
  13. Romans 9:20 By implication Paul is speaking of people who have been made from clay in the hands of the divine Potter. See Isa. 29:16; 45:9.
  14. Romans 9:23 Or “This he did to make known.” Although this sentence presents an anacoluthon and is missing the conditional clause, it is more likely that Paul is contrasting “the vessels prepared for destruction” with “the vessels of mercy.” Thus, “And doesn’t he also have the right?”
  15. Romans 9:25 See Hos. 2:23.
  16. Romans 9:26 See Hos. 1:10.
  17. Romans 9:28 As translated from the Aramaic, “Lord YHWH.”
  18. Romans 9:28 Or “cutting it short,” a Greek word found only here in the New Testament. See Isa. 10:23.
  19. Romans 9:29 As translated from the Aramaic, “Lord YHWH of hosts” (of angel armies).
  20. Romans 9:29 Or “descendants.” See Isa. 1:9.
  21. Romans 9:31 Or “a righteousness based on the law.”
  22. Romans 9:32 Or “works of the law.”
  23. Romans 9:33 There is a play on words here that is lost in translation. The Aramaic word for “rock” (keefa) is also the word for “teaching” or “faith.” Aramaic speakers today still say that to stand in faith means to stand on a rock. To speak of the message of faith for salvation (versus works) is hidden in the word rock.
  24. Romans 9:33 See Isa. 8:14; 28:16. The Hebrew of Isa. 28:16 is “Let the one who believes not expect it soon.” That is, even if a promise delays, we will not be disheartened but will remain steadfast in faith.
  25. Romans 10:4 Or “Christ is the goal of the law.”
  26. Romans 10:5 Or “Whoever obeys these things will find life.” See Lev. 18:5.
  27. Romans 10:7 See Deut. 30:12-13.
  28. Romans 10:8 See Deut. 30:14.
  29. Romans 10:9 Or “word of faith.”
  30. Romans 10:10 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “the mouth confesses to salvation.”
  31. Romans 10:11 See Isa. 28:16.
  32. Romans 10:12 As translated from the Aramaic.
  33. Romans 10:13 As translated from the Aramaic. See Joel 2:32.
  34. Romans 10:15 Or “how beautiful the feet.” The Greek word implies their arrival comes at just the right time. See Isa. 52:7; Nah. 1:15.
  35. Romans 10:16 Or “obeys.”
  36. Romans 10:16 See Isa. 53:1.
  37. Romans 10:18 See Ps. 19:4.
  38. Romans 10:19 Paul is confirming that God’s plan from the beginning was to give the message of salvation to all the nations.
  39. Romans 10:19 Or “First Moses . . . then Isaiah (v. 20) confirms it.”
  40. Romans 10:19 See Deut. 32:21. Those who are “nobodies” and the “people with no understanding” both refer to the gentile believers among the nations that have by faith entered into new life in Jesus.
  41. Romans 10:20 The compound Greek word emphanes means “to make manifest,” “to appear in shining light,” “to be bright,” “to shine light upon,” “to come into view.”
  42. Romans 10:20 See Isa. 65:1.
  43. Romans 10:21 See Isa. 65:2.
  44. Romans 11:1 See 1 Sam. 12:22; Ps. 94:14.
  45. Romans 11:1 Benjamin was the only son of Jacob born in the promised land, and his was the first tribe to give Israel a king in Saul. And his was the only tribe to remain with Judah in the restored nation after the exile. Paul is saying that he is about as Jewish as anyone could ever be. See Phil. 3:5.
  46. Romans 11:2 Or “his people whom he foreknew.”
  47. Romans 11:3 See 1 Kings 19:10-14.
  48. Romans 11:4 Or “divine utterance.” This is the only place in the New Testament this Greek word appears. It could imply the audible voice of God that spoke to Elijah.
  49. Romans 11:4 See 1 Kings 19:18.
  50. Romans 11:8 The Aramaic can be translated “a spirit of frustration.”
  51. Romans 11:8 Or “He gave them eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear.” See Deut. 29:4; Isa. 6:10; 29:10-13.
  52. Romans 11:9 This could also be a metaphor for their false security, being in a place of well-being and favor. King David’s son Absalom held a banquet as a pretense to murder his brother Amnon. See 2 Sam. 13:23-31.
  53. Romans 11:10 This could also be a metaphor of asking God to punish them. See Ps. 69:22-23 (LXX).
  54. Romans 11:12 Or “fullness” (of restoration), or “full inclusion,” or “full number.” An ellipsis in the Greek text allows for different translations of this verse.
  55. Romans 11:16 Paul uses a metaphor that is better understood when made explicit. The Greek is literally “If the first portion of the dough [Abraham and the patriarchs] is consecrated, so too is the entire batch of dough [those descended from Abraham and the patriarchs].” The principle is that if the first portion is dedicated to God, the rest belongs to him too and is also considered consecrated for God’s use. The Aramaic can be translated “If the crust is holy, so also is the dough.”
  56. Romans 11:17 Every time “you” is used in vv. 17–24 it is singular. God has lovingly and personally grafted you in as a branch in his tree of life. See John 15:117.
  57. Romans 11:17 As translated from the Aramaic.
  58. Romans 11:20 The Aramaic can be translated “Yes, it’s beautiful!” Non-Jewish believers are to be grateful for the Jewish roots of our faith. Our Messiah is Jewish and the Scriptures we read were given to the beloved Jewish people. We feast on the new-covenant riches that have been handed down to us through the “olive tree” of Judaism.
  59. Romans 11:22 The Aramaic word for “kindness” can also be translated “sweetness.”
  60. Romans 11:22 The Greek word apotomia is used only here in the New Testament. It is a play on words, for apotomia is a homonym that can mean “strict justice” or “cut off.”
  61. Romans 11:25 The Greek text contains a litotes, a double negative: “I don’t want you to not know.”
  62. Romans 11:25 The Greek word for mystery, mystērion, is found twenty-eight times in the New Testament. It means a sacred secret, something that God has hidden from ancient times and that can only be revealed by God. Jesus teaches us that these mysteries are meant for us to perceive as part of our kingdom birthright. See Matt. 13:11. The mystery Paul unfolds for us here is the partial insensitivity of Israel, as well as her future salvation as part of God’s eternal plan for the nations.
  63. Romans 11:25 The Greek word for hardening, porosis, can also mean stubbornness, an unwillingness to learn something new.
  64. Romans 11:26 The Aramaic can also mean “the evil one.” See Isa. 59:20-21.
  65. Romans 11:27 See Isa. 27:9.
  66. Romans 11:29 Or “the grace-gifts and calling of God are void of regret and without change in purpose.” See Isa. 27:9; Jer. 31:33-34.
  67. Romans 11:33 Or “judgments,” which does not necessarily imply something negative.
  68. Romans 11:34 See Isa. 40:13.
  69. Romans 11:35 See Job 41:11.
The Passion Translation (TPT)

The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC.
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