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I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.
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God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel:
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“Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me” ?
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And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”
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So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.
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And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
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What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened,
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as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear, to this very day.”
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And David says: “May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever.”
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Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.
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But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!
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I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry
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in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.
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For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
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If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
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If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,
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do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.
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You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.”
Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble.
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For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.
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And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
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After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
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I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in,
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and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
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And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
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As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs,
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for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.
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Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience,
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so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you.
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For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
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Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
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“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”
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“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?”
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For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
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