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Romans 9:1-29 MSG/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 At the same time, you need to know that I carry with me at all times a huge sorrow. 1 I speak the truth in Christ--I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit--
2 It's an enormous pain deep within me, and I'm never free of it. I'm not exaggerating - Christ and the Holy Spirit are my witnesses. It's the Israelites . . . 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
3 If there were any way I could be cursed by the Messiah so they could be blessed by him, I'd do it in a minute. They're my family. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race,
4 I grew up with them. They had everything going for them - family, glory, covenants, revelation, worship, promises, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.
5 to say nothing of being the race that produced the Messiah, the Christ, who is God over everything, always. Oh, yes! 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
6 Don't suppose for a moment, though, that God's Word has malfunctioned in some way or other. The problem goes back a long way. From the outset, not all Israelites of the flesh were Israelites of the spirit. 6 It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.
7 It wasn't Abraham's sperm that gave identity here, but God's promise. Remember how it was put: "Your family will be defined by Isaac"? 7 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."
8 That means that Israelite identity was never racially determined by sexual transmission, but it was God-determined by promise. 8 In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring.
9 Remember that promise, "When I come back next year at this time, Sarah will have a son"? 9 For this was how the promise was stated: "At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son."
10 And that's not the only time. To Rebecca, also, a promise was made that took priority over genetics. When she became pregnant by our one-of-a-kind ancestor, Isaac, 10 Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac.
11 and her babies were still innocent in the womb - incapable of good or bad - she received a special assurance from God. What God did in this case made it perfectly plain that his purpose is not a hit-or-miss thing dependent on what we do or don't do, but a sure thing determined by his decision, flowing steadily from his initiative. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad--in order that God's purpose in election might stand:
12 God told Rebecca, "The firstborn of your twins will take second place." 12 not by works but by him who calls--she was told, "The older will serve the younger."
13 Later that was turned into a stark epigram: "I loved Jacob; I hated Esau." 13 Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
14 Is that grounds for complaining that God is unfair? Not so fast, please. 14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all!
15 God told Moses, "I'm in charge of mercy. I'm in charge of compassion." 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."
16 Compassion doesn't originate in our bleeding hearts or moral sweat, but in God's mercy. 16 It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.
17 The same point was made when God said to Pharaoh, "I picked you as a bit player in this drama of my salvation power." 17 For the 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."
18 All we're saying is that God has the first word, initiating the action in which we play our part for good or ill. 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
19 Are you going to object, "So how can God blame us for anything since he's in charge of everything? If the big decisions are already made, what say do we have in it?" 19 One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?"
20 Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn't talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, "Why did you shape me like this?" 20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' "
21 Isn't it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans? 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?
22 If God needs one style of pottery especially designed to show his angry displeasure 22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath--prepared for destruction?
23 and another style carefully crafted to show his glorious goodness, isn't that all right? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory--
24 Either or both happens to Jews, but it also happens to the other people. 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
25 Hosea put it well: I'll call nobodies and make them somebodies; I'll call the unloved and make them beloved. 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,"
26 In the place where they yelled out, "You're nobody!" they're calling you "God's living children." 26 and, "It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God.' "
27 Isaiah maintained this same emphasis: If each grain of sand on the seashore were numbered and the sum labeled "chosen of God," They'd be numbers still, not names; salvation comes by personal selection. 27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.
28 God doesn't count us; he calls us by name. Arithmetic is not his focus. 28 For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality."
29 Isaiah had looked ahead and spoken the truth: If our powerful God had not provided us a legacy of living children, We would have ended up like ghost towns, like Sodom and Gomorrah. 29 It is just as Isaiah said previously: "Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah."