Paul’s Anguish Over Israel

I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying,(A) my conscience confirms(B) it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself(C) were cursed(D) and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people,(E) those of my own race,(F) the people of Israel.(G) Theirs is the adoption to sonship;(H) theirs the divine glory,(I) the covenants,(J) the receiving of the law,(K) the temple worship(L) and the promises.(M) Theirs are the patriarchs,(N) and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah,(O) who is God over all,(P) forever praised![a](Q) Amen.

God’s Sovereign Choice

It is not as though God’s word(R) had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.(S) Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[b](T) In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children,(U) but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.(V) For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.”[c](W)

10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac.(X) 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad(Y)—in order that God’s purpose(Z) in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”[d](AA) 13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”[e](AB)

14 What then shall we say?(AC) Is God unjust? Not at all!(AD) 15 For he says to Moses,

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
    and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”[f](AE)

16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.(AF) 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”[g](AG) 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.(AH)

19 One of you will say to me:(AI) “Then why does God still blame us?(AJ) For who is able to resist his will?”(AK) 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God?(AL) “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,(AM) ‘Why did you make me like this?’”[h](AN) 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?(AO)

22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience(AP) the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction?(AQ) 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory(AR) known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory(AS) 24 even us, whom he also called,(AT) not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?(AU) 25 As he says in Hosea:

“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
    and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”[i](AV)

26 and,

“In the very place where it was said to them,
    ‘You are not my people,’
    there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’”[j](AW)

27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:

“Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea,(AX)
    only the remnant will be saved.(AY)
28 For the Lord will carry out
    his sentence on earth with speed and finality.”[k](AZ)

29 It is just as Isaiah said previously:

“Unless the Lord Almighty(BA)
    had left us descendants,
we would have become like Sodom,
    we would have been like Gomorrah.”[l](BB)

Israel’s Unbelief

30 What then shall we say?(BC) That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith;(BD) 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness,(BE) have not attained their goal.(BF) 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.(BG) 33 As it is written:

“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble
    and a rock that makes them fall,
    and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[m](BH)

Footnotes

  1. Romans 9:5 Or Messiah, who is over all. God be forever praised! Or Messiah. God who is over all be forever praised!
  2. Romans 9:7 Gen. 21:12
  3. Romans 9:9 Gen. 18:10,14
  4. Romans 9:12 Gen. 25:23
  5. Romans 9:13 Mal. 1:2,3
  6. Romans 9:15 Exodus 33:19
  7. Romans 9:17 Exodus 9:16
  8. Romans 9:20 Isaiah 29:16; 45:9
  9. Romans 9:25 Hosea 2:23
  10. Romans 9:26 Hosea 1:10
  11. Romans 9:28 Isaiah 10:22,23 (see Septuagint)
  12. Romans 9:29 Isaiah 1:9
  13. Romans 9:33 Isaiah 8:14; 28:16

10 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire(A) and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous(B) for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.(C) Christ is the culmination of the law(D) so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.(E)

Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.”[a](F) But the righteousness that is by faith(G) says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’”[b](H) (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’”[c](I) (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).(J) But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,”[d](K) that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare(L) with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,”(M) and believe(N) in your heart that God raised him from the dead,(O) you will be saved.(P) 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[e](Q) 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile(R)—the same Lord is Lord of all(S) and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord(T) will be saved.”[f](U)

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”[g](V)

16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news.(W) For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?”[h](X) 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message,(Y) and the message is heard through the word about Christ.(Z) 18 But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did:

“Their voice has gone out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.”[i](AA)

19 Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says,

“I will make you envious(AB) by those who are not a nation;
    I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.”[j](AC)

20 And Isaiah boldly says,

“I was found by those who did not seek me;
    I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”[k](AD)

21 But concerning Israel he says,

“All day long I have held out my hands
    to a disobedient and obstinate people.”[l](AE)

Footnotes

  1. Romans 10:5 Lev. 18:5
  2. Romans 10:6 Deut. 30:12
  3. Romans 10:7 Deut. 30:13
  4. Romans 10:8 Deut. 30:14
  5. Romans 10:11 Isaiah 28:16 (see Septuagint)
  6. Romans 10:13 Joel 2:32
  7. Romans 10:15 Isaiah 52:7
  8. Romans 10:16 Isaiah 53:1
  9. Romans 10:18 Psalm 19:4
  10. Romans 10:19 Deut. 32:21
  11. Romans 10:20 Isaiah 65:1
  12. Romans 10:21 Isaiah 65:2

The Remnant of Israel

11 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means!(A) I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham,(B) from the tribe of Benjamin.(C) God did not reject his people,(D) whom he foreknew.(E) Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”[a]?(F) And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”[b](G) So too, at the present time there is a remnant(H) chosen by grace.(I) And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works;(J) if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain.(K) The elect among them did, but the others were hardened,(L) as it is written:

“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
    eyes that could not see
    and ears that could not hear,(M)
to this very day.”[c](N)

And David says:

“May their table become a snare and a trap,
    a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,(O)
    and their backs be bent forever.”[d](P)

Ingrafted Branches

11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all!(Q) Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles(R) to make Israel envious.(S) 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles,(T) how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!

13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles,(U) I take pride in my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy(V) and save(W) some of them. 15 For if their rejection brought reconciliation(X) to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?(Y) 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits(Z) is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.

17 If some of the branches have been broken off,(AA) and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others(AB) and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.(AC) 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith.(AD) Do not be arrogant,(AE) but tremble.(AF) 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

22 Consider therefore the kindness(AG) and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue(AH) in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.(AI) 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.(AJ) 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree,(AK) how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

All Israel Will Be Saved

25 I do not want you to be ignorant(AL) of this mystery,(AM) brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited:(AN) Israel has experienced a hardening(AO) in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in,(AP) 26 and in this way[e] all Israel will be saved.(AQ) As it is written:

“The deliverer will come from Zion;
    he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
27 And this is[f] my covenant with them
    when I take away their sins.”[g](AR)

28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies(AS) for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs,(AT) 29 for God’s gifts and his call(AU) are irrevocable.(AV) 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient(AW) to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now[h] receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience(AX) so that he may have mercy on them all.

Doxology

33 Oh, the depth of the riches(AY) of the wisdom and[i] knowledge of God!(AZ)
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!(BA)
34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?”[j](BB)
35 “Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay them?”[k](BC)
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.(BD)
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.(BE)

Footnotes

  1. Romans 11:3 1 Kings 19:10,14
  2. Romans 11:4 1 Kings 19:18
  3. Romans 11:8 Deut. 29:4; Isaiah 29:10
  4. Romans 11:10 Psalm 69:22,23
  5. Romans 11:26 Or and so
  6. Romans 11:27 Or will be
  7. Romans 11:27 Isaiah 59:20,21; 27:9 (see Septuagint); Jer. 31:33,34
  8. Romans 11:31 Some manuscripts do not have now.
  9. Romans 11:33 Or riches and the wisdom and the
  10. Romans 11:34 Isaiah 40:13
  11. Romans 11:35 Job 41:11

A Living Sacrifice

12 Therefore, I urge you,(A) brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,(B) holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform(C) to the pattern of this world,(D) but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.(E) Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is(F)—his good, pleasing(G) and perfect will.

Humble Service in the Body of Christ

For by the grace given me(H) I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,(I) so in Christ we, though many, form one body,(J) and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts,(K) according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying,(L) then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith;(M) if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;(N) if it is to encourage, then give encouragement;(O) if it is giving, then give generously;(P) if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Love in Action

Love must be sincere.(Q) Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.(R) 10 Be devoted to one another in love.(S) Honor one another above yourselves.(T) 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor,(U) serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope,(V) patient in affliction,(W) faithful in prayer.(X) 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.(Y) Practice hospitality.(Z)

14 Bless those who persecute you;(AA) bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.(AB) 16 Live in harmony with one another.(AC) Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.(AD)

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil.(AE) Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.(AF) 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.(AG) 19 Do not take revenge,(AH) my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d](AI) says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e](AJ)

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Footnotes

  1. Romans 12:6 Or the
  2. Romans 12:8 Or to provide for others
  3. Romans 12:16 Or willing to do menial work
  4. Romans 12:19 Deut. 32:35
  5. Romans 12:20 Prov. 25:21,22