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Living by the Power of God’s Spirit

If you belong to Christ Jesus, you won’t be punished. The Holy Spirit will give you life that comes from Christ Jesus and will set you[a] free from sin and death. The Law of Moses cannot do this, because our selfish desires make the Law weak. But God set you free when he sent his own Son to be like us sinners and to be a sacrifice for our sin. God used Christ’s body to condemn sin. He did this, so that we would do what the Law commands by obeying the Spirit instead of our own desires.

People who are ruled by their desires think only of themselves. Everyone who is ruled by the Holy Spirit thinks about spiritual things. If our minds are ruled by our desires, we will die. But if our minds are ruled by the Spirit, we will have life and peace. Our desires fight against God, because they do not and cannot obey God’s laws. If we follow our desires, we cannot please God.

You are no longer ruled by your desires, but by God’s Spirit, who lives in you. People who don’t have the Spirit of Christ in them don’t belong to him. 10 But Christ lives in you. So you are alive because God has accepted you, even though your bodies must die because of your sins. 11 Yet God raised Jesus to life! God’s Spirit now lives in you, and he will raise you to life by his Spirit.

12 My dear friends, we must not live to satisfy our desires. 13 If you do, you will die. But you will live, if by the help of God’s Spirit you say “No” to your desires. 14 Only those people who are led by God’s Spirit are his children. 15 God’s Spirit doesn’t make us slaves who are afraid of him. Instead, we become his children and call him our Father.[b] 16 God’s Spirit makes us sure that we are his children. 17 His Spirit lets us know that together with Christ we will be given what God has promised. We will also share in the glory of Christ, because we have suffered with him.

A Wonderful Future for God’s People

18 I am sure that what we are suffering now cannot compare with the glory that will be shown to us. 19 In fact, all creation is eagerly waiting for God to show who his children are. 20 Meanwhile, creation is confused, but not because it wants to be confused. God made it this way in the hope 21 that creation would be set free from decay and would share in the glorious freedom of his children. 22 We know that all creation is still groaning and is in pain, like a woman about to give birth.

23 The Spirit makes us sure about what we will be in the future. But now we groan silently, while we wait for God to show that we are his children.[c] This means that our bodies will also be set free. 24 And this hope is what saves us. But if we already have what we hope for, there is no need to keep on hoping. 25 However, we hope for something we have not yet seen, and we patiently wait for it.

26 In certain ways we are weak, but the Spirit is here to help us. For example, when we don’t know what to pray for, the Spirit prays for us in ways that cannot be put into words. 27 All of our thoughts are known to God. He can understand what is in the mind of the Spirit, as the Spirit prays for God’s people. 28 We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him.[d] They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose, 29 and he has always known who his chosen ones would be. He had decided to let them become like his own Son, so that his Son would be the first of many children. 30 God then accepted the people he had already decided to choose, and he has shared his glory with them.

God’s Love

31 What can we say about all this? If God is on our side, can anyone be against us? 32 God did not keep back his own Son, but he gave him for us. If God did this, won’t he freely give us everything else? 33 If God says his chosen ones are acceptable to him, can anyone bring charges against them? 34 Or can anyone condemn them? No indeed! Christ died and was raised to life, and now he is at God’s right side,[e] speaking to him for us. 35 Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, suffering, and hard times, or hunger and nakedness, or danger and death? 36 It is exactly as the Scriptures say,

“For you we face death
    all day long.
We are like sheep
on their way
    to be butchered.”

37 In everything we have won more than a victory because of Christ who loves us. 38 I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love—not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, 39 and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!

God’s Choice of Israel

I 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 my heart is broken and I am in great sorrow. I would gladly be placed under God’s curse and be separated from Christ for the good of my own people. 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. They have those famous ancestors, who were also the ancestors of Jesus Christ. I pray that God, who rules over all, will be praised forever![f] Amen.

It cannot be said that God broke his promise. After all, not all of the people of Israel are the true people of God. 7-8 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 Sarah, “At this time next year I will return, and you will already have a son.”

10 Don’t forget what happened to the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah. 11-12 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 that he makes his own choices and that 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.

14 Are we saying that God is unfair? Certainly not! 15 The Lord told Moses that he has pity and mercy on anyone he wants to. 16 Everything then depends on God’s mercy and not on what people want or do. 17 In the Scriptures the Lord says to Pharaoh of Egypt, “I let you become Pharaoh, so that I could show you my power and be praised by all people on earth.” 18 Everything depends on what God decides to do, and he can either have pity on people or make them stubborn.

God’s Anger and Mercy

19 Someone 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. 23 He did this by showing how glorious he is when he has pity on the people he has chosen to share in his glory. 24 Whether 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.
28 The 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.”[g]

Israel and the Good News

30 What 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. 31-32 It also means that the people of Israel were not acceptable to God. And why not? It was because they were trying[h] 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.”

10 Dear friends, my greatest wish and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know they love God, but they don’t understand what makes people acceptable to him. So they refuse to trust God, and they try to be acceptable by obeying the Law. But Christ makes the Law no longer necessary[i] for those who become acceptable to God by faith.

Anyone Can Be Saved

Moses said that a person could become acceptable to God by obeying the Law. He did this when he wrote, “If you want to live, you must do all that the Law commands.”

But people whose faith makes them acceptable to God will never ask, “Who will go up to heaven to bring Christ down?” Neither will they ask, “Who will go down into the world of the dead to raise him to life?”

All who are acceptable because of their faith simply say, “The message is as near as your mouth or your heart.” And this is the same message we preach about faith. So you will be saved, if you honestly say, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death. 10 God will accept you and save you, if you truly believe this and tell it to others.

11 The Scriptures say that no one who has faith will be disappointed, 12 no matter if that person is a Jew or a Gentile. There is only one Lord, and he is generous to everyone who asks for his help. 13 All who call out to the Lord will be saved.

14 How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them? 15 And how can anyone tell them without being sent by the Lord? The Scriptures say it is a beautiful sight to see even the feet of someone coming to preach the good news. 16 Yet not everyone has believed the message. For example, the prophet Isaiah asked, “Lord, has anyone believed what we said?”

17 No one can have faith without hearing the message about Christ. 18 But am I saying that the people of Israel did not hear? No, I am not! The Scriptures say,

“The message was told
    everywhere on earth.
It was announced
    all over the world.”

19 Did the people of Israel understand or not? Moses answered this question when he told that the Lord had said,

“I will make Israel jealous
    of people
who are a nation
    of nobodies.
I will make them angry
    at people
who don’t understand
    a thing.”

20 Isaiah was fearless enough to tell that the Lord had said,

“I was found by people
who were not looking
    for me.
I appeared to the ones
who were not asking
    about me.”

21 And Isaiah said about the people of Israel,

“All day long the Lord
    has reached out
to people who are stubborn
    and refuse to obey.”

Footnotes

  1. 8.2 you: Some manuscripts have “me.”
  2. 8.15 our Father: The Greek text uses the Aramaic word “Abba” (meaning “father”), which shows the close relation between the children and their father.
  3. 8.23 to show that we are his children: These words are not in some manuscripts. The translation of the remainder of the verse would then read, “while we wait for God to set our bodies free.”
  4. 8.28 God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him: Or “All things work for the good of everyone who loves God” or “God’s Spirit always works for the good of everyone who loves God.”
  5. 8.34 right side: The place of power and honor.
  6. 9.5 Christ. I pray that God, who rules over all, will be praised forever: Or “Christ, who rules over all. I pray that God will be praised forever” or “Christ. And I pray that Christ, who is God and rules over all, will be praised forever.”
  7. 9.29 Sodom and Gomorrah: During the time of Abraham the Lord destroyed these two cities because their people were so sinful.
  8. 9.31,32 because they were trying: Or “while they were trying” or “even though they were trying.”
  9. 10.4 But Christ makes the Law no longer necessary: Or “But Christ gives the full meaning to the Law.”

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