1I am speaking the truth in Christ--I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit--
that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.
For 2I could wish that I myself were 3accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen 4according to the flesh.
They are 5Israelites, and to them belong 6the adoption, 7the glory, 8the covenants, 9the giving of the law, 10the worship, and 11the promises.
To them belong 12the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ 13who is God over all, 14blessed forever. Amen.
But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,
and not all are children of Abraham 15because they are his offspring, but 16"Through Isaac shall your offspring be named."
This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but 17the children of the promise are counted as offspring.
For this is what the promise said: 18"About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son."
And not only so, but 19also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac,
though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad--in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of 20him who calls--
she was told, 21"The older will serve the younger."
As it is written, 22"Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
What shall we say then? 23Is there injustice on God's part? By no means!
For he says to Moses, 24"I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."
So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, 25"For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."
So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For 26who can resist his will?"
But who are you, O man, 27to answer back to God? 28Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?"
29Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump 30one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?
What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience 31vessels of wrath 32prepared for destruction,
in order to make known 33the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he 34has prepared beforehand for glory--
even us whom he 35has called, 36not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?
As indeed he says in Hosea, 37"Those who were not my people I will call 'my people,' and her who was not beloved I will call 'beloved.'"
38"And in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' there they will be called 39'sons of the living God.'"
And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: 40"Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, 41only a remnant of them will be saved,
for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay."
And as Isaiah predicted, "If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, 42we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah."
What shall we say, then? 43That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, 44a righteousness that is by faith;
but that Israel 45who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness46did not succeed in reaching that law.
Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the 47stumbling stone,
as it is written, 48"Behold, I am laying in Zion 49a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; 50and whoever believes in him will not be 51put to shame."