So I ask you, has God rejected his people? Absolutely not! I'm an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.
God hasn't rejected his people, whom he knew in advance. Or don't you know what the scripture says in the case of Elijah, when he pleads with God against Israel?
Lord, they have killed your prophets, and they have torn down your altars. I'm the only one left, and they are trying to take my life.a4
But what is God's reply to him? I have kept for myself seven thousand people who haven't bowed their knees to Baal.b5
So also in the present time there is a remaining group by the choice of God's grace.
But if it is by grace, it isn't by what's done anymore. If it were, God's grace wouldn't be grace.
So what? Israel didn't find what it was looking for. Those who were chosen found it, but the others were resistant.
As it is written, God gave them a dull spirit, so that their eyes would not see and their ears not hear, right up until the present day.c9
And David says, Their table should become a pitfall and a trap, a stumbling block and payback to them for what they have done. 10Their eyes should be darkened so they can't see, and their backs always bent.d11
So I'm asking you: They haven't stumbled so that they've fallen permanently, have they? Absolutely not! But salvation has come to the Gentiles by their failure, in order to make Israel jealous.
But if their failure brings riches to the world, and their defeat brings riches to the Gentiles, how much more will come from the completion of their number!
I'm speaking to you Gentiles. Considering that I'm an apostle to the Gentiles, I publicize my own ministry
in the hope that somehow I might make my own people jealous and save some of them.
If their rejection has brought about a close relationship between God and the world, how can their acceptance mean anything less than life from the dead?
But if part of a batch of dough is offered to God as holy, the whole batch of dough is holy too. If a root is holy, the branches will be holy too.
If some of the branches were broken off, and you were a wild olive branch, and you were grafted in among the other branches and shared the root that produces the rich oil of the olive tree,
then don't brag like you're better than the other branches. If you do brag, be careful: it's not you that sustains the root, but it's the root that sustains you.
You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in."
Fine. They were broken off because they weren't faithful, but you stand only by your faithfulness.e So don't think in a proud way; instead be afraid.
If God didn't spare the natural branches, he won't spare you either.
So look at God's kindness and harshness. It's harshness toward those who fell, but it's God's kindness for you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise, you could be cut off too.
And even those who were cut off will be grafted back in if they don't continue to be unfaithful, because God is able to graft them in again.
If you were naturally part of a wild olive tree and you were cut off from it, and then, contrary to nature, you were grafted into the cultivated olive tree, won't these natural branches stand an even better chance of being grafted back onto their own olive tree?
I don't want you to be unaware of this secret,f brothers and sisters. That way you won't think too highly of yourselves. A part of Israel has become resistant until the full number of the Gentiles comes in.
In this way, all Israel will be saved, as it is written: The deliverer will come from Zion. He will remove ungodly behavior from Jacob. 27This is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.g28
According to the gospel, they are enemies for your sake, but according to God's choice, they are loved for the sake of their ancestors.
God's gifts and calling can't be taken back.
Once you were disobedient to God, but now you have mercy because they were disobedient.
In the same way, they have also been disobedient because of the mercy that you received, so now they can receive mercy too.
God has locked up all people in disobedience, in order to have mercy on all of them.
God's riches, wisdom, and knowledge are so deep! They are as mysterious as his judgments, and they are as hard to track as his paths!
34Who has known the Lord's mind? Or who has been his mentor?h35Or who has given him a gift and has been paid back by him?i36
All things are from him and through him and for him. May the glory be to him forever. Amen.