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The Blessings of the True Israel

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying—my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit that I have great sorrow and continuous pain in my heart. For I almost wish that I myself could be cursed and separated from Christ in place of my brothers, my relatives according to the flesh, those who are Israelites. Theirs are the adoption as sons, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, came the Christ, who is God over all, eternally blessed. Amen.

This does not mean that God’s word has failed, because not all who are descended from Israel are really Israel, and not all who are descended from Abraham are really his children. On the contrary, “Your line of descent will be traced through Isaac.”[a] This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are counted as his descendants. For this is what the promise said: “I will arrive at this set time, and Sarah will have a son.”[b]

God’s Choice Is Based on His Mercy

10 Not only that, but Rebekah also had children by one man, our forefather, Isaac. 11 Even before the twins were born or did anything good or bad, in order that God’s purpose in election might continue— 12 not by works but because of him who calls us—it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.”[c] 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”[d]

14 What will we say then? Does this mean that God is unjust? Absolutely not! 15 For God says to Moses:

I will show mercy to whom I show mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.[e]

16 So then, it does not depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.

17 Indeed, the Scripture says in regard to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I caused you to stand, that I may demonstrate my power in how I deal with you, and that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.”[f] 18 So then, God shows mercy to whom he desires, and he hardens whom he desires.

19 Then you will say to me, “Why does God still find fault? For who has ever succeeded in resisting his will?” 20 But who are you, a mere human being, to talk back to God? Shall the thing that is formed say to the one who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?” No. 21 Doesn’t the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay one pot for special use and another for ordinary use?

22 What if God, although he wanted to demonstrate his wrath and make his power known, endured with great patience the objects of wrath—ripe for destruction?[g] 23 And what if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of mercy whom he prepared in advance for glory, 24 including us, whom he called—not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles.

God Shows Mercy to Gentiles and the Remnant of Israel

25 This is also what God says in Hosea:

Those who were not my people, I will call my people,
and she who was not loved, I will call my loved one.[h]
26 And, it will be that in the place where they were told,
“You are not my people,”
there they will be called “sons of the living God.”[i]
27 And Isaiah cries out about Israel:

Although the number of the sons of Israel is as great as the sand
    of the sea,
only the remnant will be saved.
28 For the Lord, who carries out what he says without delay,[j]
will do what he said completely and decisively on the earth.[k]

29 Just as Isaiah said earlier:

If the Lord of Armies[l] had not left us some descendants,
we would have become like Sodom, and we would have been
    like Gomorrah.[m]

The Majority of Jews Rejected Justification by Faith

30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who were not pursuing righteousness, have obtained righteousness, a righteousness that is by faith. 31 But Israel, while pursuing the law as a way of righteousness, did not reach it. 32 Why? Because they kept pursuing it not by faith, but as if it comes by works.[n] They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 Just as it is written:

Look, I am putting a stone in Zion over which they will stumble
and a rock over which they will fall.
The one who believes[o] in him will not be put to shame.[p]

Prayer for Israelites to Believe

10 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God on behalf of the Israelites is that they may be saved. Indeed, I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but it is not consistent with knowledge. Since they were ignorant of the righteousness from God and sought to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to the righteousness from God. For to everyone who believes, Christ is the end of the law, resulting in righteousness.

Indeed, Moses writes this about the righteousness that comes by the law: “The one who does these things will live by them.”[q] But the righteousness that comes by faith speaks like this: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’”[r] (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’”[s] (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart,”[t] that is, the word of faith that we are proclaiming. Certainly, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and it is with the mouth that a person confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”[u]

12 So there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord is Lord of all, who gives generously to all who call on him. 13 Yes, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[v]

Israel Rejected the Message God Sent

14 So then, how can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one about whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without a preacher? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news of peace,[w] who preach the gospel of good things!”[x]

16 But not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who believed our message?”[y] 17 So then, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message comes through the word of Christ.[z]

18 But I ask, did they not hear? Of course, they certainly did.

The sound of their voice went out to all the earth,
and their words to the farthest parts of the world.[aa]

19 Yet I ask, did Israel not understand? First, Moses says:

I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation;
I will make you angry with a nation that does not understand.[ab]

20 And Isaiah also boldly says:

I was found by those who were not looking for me;
I became well known to those who were not asking for me.[ac]

21 But about Israel he says:

All day long I stretched out my hands
to a people who disobey and oppose me.[ad]


  1. Romans 9:7 Genesis 21:12
  2. Romans 9:9 Genesis 18:10
  3. Romans 9:12 Genesis 25:23
  4. Romans 9:13 Malachi 1:2,3
  5. Romans 9:15 Exodus 33:19
  6. Romans 9:17 Exodus 9:16
  7. Romans 9:22 Or who had prepared themselves for destruction?
  8. Romans 9:25 Hosea 2:23
  9. Romans 9:26 Hosea 1:10
  10. Romans 9:28 Some witnesses to the text omit who carries out what he says without delay.
  11. Romans 9:28 Isaiah 10:22-23
  12. Romans 9:29 Or Sabaoth. The Hebrew word Sabaoth means armies. God’s armies are the armies of angels and the armies of stars.
  13. Romans 9:29 Isaiah 1:9
  14. Romans 9:32 Some witnesses to the text read by works of the law.
  15. Romans 9:33 Some witnesses to the text read And everyone who believes.
  16. Romans 9:33 Isaiah 28:16
  17. Romans 10:5 Leviticus 18:5
  18. Romans 10:6 Deuteronomy 30:12
  19. Romans 10:7 Deuteronomy 30:13
  20. Romans 10:8 Deuteronomy 30:14
  21. Romans 10:11 Isaiah 28:16
  22. Romans 10:13 Joel 2:32
  23. Romans 10:15 Some witnesses to the text omit who preach the good news of peace.
  24. Romans 10:15 Isaiah 52:7
  25. Romans 10:16 Isaiah 53:1
  26. Romans 10:17 Some witnesses to the text read by the word of God.
  27. Romans 10:18 Psalm 19:4
  28. Romans 10:19 Deuteronomy 32:21
  29. Romans 10:20 Isaiah 65:1
  30. Romans 10:21 Isaiah 65:2