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10 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given.[b] As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God.

Salvation Is for Everyone

For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands.[c] But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth). And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” In fact, it says,

“The message is very close at hand;
    it is on your lips and in your heart.”[d]

And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”[e] 12 Jew and Gentile[f] are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[g]

14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”[h]

16 But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed our message?”[i] 17 So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. 18 But I ask, have the people of Israel actually heard the message? Yes, they have:

“The message has gone throughout the earth,
    and the words to all the world.”[j]

19 But I ask, did the people of Israel really understand? Yes, they did, for even in the time of Moses, God said,

“I will rouse your jealousy through people who are not even a nation.
    I will provoke your anger through the foolish Gentiles.”[k]

20 And later Isaiah spoke boldly for God, saying,

“I was found by people who were not looking for me.
    I showed myself to those who were not asking for me.”[l]

21 But regarding Israel, God said,

“All day long I opened my arms to them,
    but they were disobedient and rebellious.”[m]

Footnotes

  1. 10:1 Greek Brothers.
  2. 10:4 Or For Christ is the end of the law.
  3. 10:5 See Lev 18:5.
  4. 10:6-8 Deut 30:12-14.
  5. 10:11 Isa 28:16 (Greek version).
  6. 10:12 Greek and Greek.
  7. 10:13 Joel 2:32.
  8. 10:15 Isa 52:7.
  9. 10:16 Isa 53:1.
  10. 10:18 Ps 19:4.
  11. 10:19 Deut 32:21.
  12. 10:20 Isa 65:1 (Greek version).
  13. 10:21 Isa 65:2 (Greek version).

God’s Mercy on Israel

11 I ask, then, has God rejected his own people, the nation of Israel? Of course not! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham and a member of the tribe of Benjamin.

No, God has not rejected his own people, whom he chose from the very beginning. Do you realize what the Scriptures say about this? Elijah the prophet complained to God about the people of Israel and said, Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”[a]

And do you remember God’s reply? He said, “No, I have 7,000 others who have never bowed down to Baal!”[b]

It is the same today, for a few of the people of Israel[c] have remained faithful because of God’s grace—his undeserved kindness in choosing them. And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved.

So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have—the ones God has chosen—but the hearts of the rest were hardened. As the Scriptures say,

“God has put them into a deep sleep.
To this day he has shut their eyes so they do not see,
    and closed their ears so they do not hear.”[d]

Likewise, David said,

“Let their bountiful table become a snare,
    a trap that makes them think all is well.
Let their blessings cause them to stumble,
    and let them get what they deserve.
10 Let their eyes go blind so they cannot see,
    and let their backs be bent forever.”[e]

11 Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. 12 Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it.

13 I am saying all this especially for you Gentiles. God has appointed me as the apostle to the Gentiles. I stress this, 14 for I want somehow to make the people of Israel jealous of what you Gentiles have, so I might save some of them. 15 For since their rejection meant that God offered salvation to the rest of the world, their acceptance will be even more wonderful. It will be life for those who were dead! 16 And since Abraham and the other patriarchs were holy, their descendants will also be holy—just as the entire batch of dough is holy because the portion given as an offering is holy. For if the roots of the tree are holy, the branches will be, too.

17 But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. 18 But you must not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. You are just a branch, not the root.

19 “Well,” you may say, “those branches were broken off to make room for me.” 20 Yes, but remember—those branches were broken off because they didn’t believe in Christ, and you are there because you do believe. So don’t think highly of yourself, but fear what could happen. 21 For if God did not spare the original branches, he won’t[f] spare you either.

22 Notice how God is both kind and severe. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you continue to trust in his kindness. But if you stop trusting, you also will be cut off. 23 And if the people of Israel turn from their unbelief, they will be grafted in again, for God has the power to graft them back into the tree. 24 You, by nature, were a branch cut from a wild olive tree. So if God was willing to do something contrary to nature by grafting you into his cultivated tree, he will be far more eager to graft the original branches back into the tree where they belong.

God’s Mercy Is for Everyone

25 I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters,[g] so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ. 26 And so all Israel will be saved. As the Scriptures say,

“The one who rescues will come from Jerusalem,[h]
    and he will turn Israel[i] away from ungodliness.
27 And this is my covenant with them,
    that I will take away their sins.”[j]

28 Many of the people of Israel are now enemies of the Good News, and this benefits you Gentiles. Yet they are still the people he loves because he chose their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 29 For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn. 30 Once, you Gentiles were rebels against God, but when the people of Israel rebelled against him, God was merciful to you instead. 31 Now they are the rebels, and God’s mercy has come to you so that they, too, will share[k] in God’s mercy. 32 For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone.

33 Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!

34 For who can know the Lord’s thoughts?
    Who knows enough to give him advice?[l]
35 And who has given him so much
    that he needs to pay it back?[m]

36 For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.

Footnotes

  1. 11:3 1 Kgs 19:10, 14.
  2. 11:4 1 Kgs 19:18.
  3. 11:5 Greek for a remnant.
  4. 11:8 Isa 29:10; Deut 29:4.
  5. 11:9-10 Ps 69:22-23 (Greek version).
  6. 11:21 Some manuscripts read perhaps he won’t.
  7. 11:25 Greek brothers.
  8. 11:26a Greek from Zion.
  9. 11:26b Greek Jacob.
  10. 11:26-27 Isa 59:20-21; 27:9 (Greek version).
  11. 11:31 Other manuscripts read will now share; still others read will someday share.
  12. 11:34 Isa 40:13 (Greek version).
  13. 11:35 See Job 41:11.