Brothers and sisters, with all my heart I long for the people of Israel to be saved. I pray to God for them.
I can give witness about them that they really want to serve God. But how they are trying to do it is not based on what they know.
They didn't know how God makes people right with himself. They tried to get right with God in their own way. They didn't do it in God's way.
Christ has completed the law. So now everyone who believes can be right with God.
Moses explained how the law could help a person do what God requires. He said, "The one who does those things will live by them."#1(Leviticus 18:5)#2
But the way to do what God requires must begin by having faith in him. Scripture says, "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will go up into heaven?' "#1(Deuteronomy 30:12)#2 That means to go up into heaven and bring Christ down.
"And do not say, 'Who will go down into the grave?' "#1(Deuteronomy 30:13)#2 That means to bring Christ up from the dead.
But what does it say? "The word is near you. It's in your mouth and in your heart."#1(Deuteronomy 30:14)#2 That means the word we are preaching. You must put your faith in it.
Say with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord." Believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead. Then you will be saved.
With your heart you believe and are made right with God. With your mouth you say that Jesus is Lord. And so you are saved.
Scripture says, "The one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."#1(Isaiah 28:16)#2
There is no difference between those who are Jews and those who are not. The same Lord is Lord of all. He richly blesses everyone who calls on him.
Scripture says, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."#1(Joel 2:32)#2
How can they call on him unless they believe in him? How can they believe in him unless they hear about him? How can they hear about him unless someone preaches to them?
And how can anyone preach without being sent? It is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"#1(Isaiah 52:7)#2
But not all the people of Israel accepted the good news. Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our message?"#1(Isaiah 53:1)#2
So faith comes from hearing the message. And the message that is heard is the word of Christ.
But I ask, "Didn't the people of Israel hear?" Of course they did. It is written, "Their voice has gone out into the whole earth. Their words have gone out from one end of the world to the other." #1(Psalm 19:4)#2
Again I ask, "Didn't Israel understand?" First, Moses says, "I will use people who are not a nation to make you jealous. I will use a nation that has no understanding to make you angry." #1(Deuteronomy 32:21)#2
Then Isaiah boldly speaks about what God says. God said, "I was found by those who were not trying to find me. I made myself known to those who were not asking for me." #1(Isaiah 65:1)#2
But Isaiah also speaks about what God says concerning Israel. God said, "All day long I have held out my hands. I have held them out to a stubborn people who do not obey me." #1(Isaiah 65:2)#2