I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—
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I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race,
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the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.
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Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
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It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.
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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.”
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In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.
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For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.”
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Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac.
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Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand:
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not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”
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Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
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What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all!
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For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
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It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.
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For 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.”
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Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
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One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?”
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But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ ”
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Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
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What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction?
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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—
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even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
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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,”
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and, “In the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’ ”
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Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.
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For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.”
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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.”
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What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith;
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but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal.
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Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.
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As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”
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