16 Therefore, God’s choice does not depend on a person’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.
17 For example, Scripture says to Pharaoh, “I put you here for this reason: to demonstrate my power through you and to spread my name throughout the earth.” 18 Therefore, if God wants to be kind to anyone, he will be. If he wants to make someone stubborn, he will.
19 You may ask me, “Why does God still find fault with anyone? Who can resist whatever God wants to do?”
20 Who do you think you are to talk back to God like that? Can an object that was made say to its maker, “Why did you make me like this?” 21 A potter has the right to do whatever he wants with his clay. He can make something for a special occasion or something for everyday use from the same lump of clay.
22 If God wants to demonstrate his anger and reveal his power, he can do it. But can’t he be extremely patient with people who are objects of his anger because they are headed for destruction? 23 Can’t God also reveal the riches of his glory to people who are objects of his mercy and who he had already prepared for glory? 24 This is what God did for us whom he called—whether we are Jews or not.
25 As God says in Hosea:
“Those who are not my people
I will call my people.
Those who are not loved
I will call my loved ones.
26 Wherever they were told,
‘You are not my people,’
they will be called children of the living God.”
27 Isaiah also says about Israel:
“Although the descendants of Israel are
as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore,
only a few will be saved.
28 The Lord will carry out his sentence on the land,
completely and decisively.”
29 This is what Isaiah predicted:
“If the Lord of Armies hadn’t left us some descendants,
we would have been like Sodom and Gomorrah.”
30 So what can we say? We can say that non-Jewish people who were not trying to gain God’s approval won his approval, an approval based on faith. 31 The people of Israel tried to gain God’s approval by obeying the laws in Moses’ Teachings, but they did not reach their goal. 32 Why? They didn’t rely on faith to gain God’s approval, but they relied on their own efforts. They stumbled over the rock that trips people. 33 As Scripture says,
“I am placing a rock in Zion that people trip over,
a large rock that people find offensive.
Whoever believes in him will not be ashamed.”