Brethren, the longing of my heart, and my prayer to God, on behalf of my countrymen is for their salvation.
For I bear witness that they possess an enthusiasm for God, but it is an unenlightened enthusiasm.
Ignorant of the righteousness which God provides and building their hopes upon a righteousness of their own, they have refused submission to God's righteousness.
For as a means of righteousness Christ is the termination of Law to every believer.
Moses says that he whose actions conform to the righteousness required by the Law shall live by that righteousness.
But the righteousness which is based on faith speaks in a different tone. "Say not in your heart," it declares, "`Who shall ascend to Heaven?'" --that is, to bring Christ down;
"nor `Who shall go down into the abyss?'" --that is, to bring Christ up again from the grave.
But what does it say? "The Message is close to you, in your mouth and in your heart;" that is, the Message which we are publishing about the faith--
that if with your mouth you confess Jesus as Lord and in your heart believe that God brought Him back to life, you shall be saved.
For with the heart men believe and obtain righteousness, and with the mouth they make confession and obtain salvation.
The Scripture says, "No one who believes in Him shall have reason to feel ashamed."
Jew and Gentile are on precisely the same footing; for the same Lord is Lord over all, and is infinitely kind to all who call upon Him for deliverance.
For "every one, without exception, who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
But how are they to call on One in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in One whose voice they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?
And how are men to preach unless they have been sent to do so? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good!"
But, some will say, they have not all hearkened to the Good News. No, for Isaiah asks, "Lord, who has believed the Message they have heard from us?"
And this proves that faith comes from a Message heard, and that the Message comes through its having been spoken by Christ.
But, I ask, have they not heard? Yes, indeed: "To the whole world the preachers' voices have sounded forth, and their words to the remotest parts of the earth."
But again, did Israel fail to understand? Listen to Moses first. He says, "I will fire you with jealousy against a nation which is no nation, and with fury against a nation devoid of understanding."
And Isaiah, with strange boldness, exclaims, "I have been found by those who were not looking for Me, I have revealed Myself to those who were not inquiring of Me."
While as to Israel he says, "All day long I have stretched out My arms to a self-willed and fault-finding people."