So then, everything depends, not on what we humans want or do, but only on God's mercy.
For the scripture says to the king of Egypt, "I made you king in order to use you to show my power and to spread my fame over the whole world."
So then, God has mercy on anyone he wishes, and he makes stubborn anyone he wishes.
But one of you will say to me, "If this is so, how can God find fault with anyone? Who can resist God's will?"
But who are you, my friend, to talk back to God? A clay pot does not ask the man who made it, "Why did you make me like this?"
After all, the man who makes the pots has the right to use the clay as he wishes, and to make two pots from the same lump of clay, one for special occasions and the other for ordinary use.
And the same is true of what God has done. He wanted to show his anger and to make his power known. But he was very patient in enduring those who were the objects of his anger, who were doomed to destruction.
And he also wanted to reveal his abundant glory, which was poured out on us who are the objects of his mercy, those of us whom he has prepared to receive his glory.
For we are the people he called, not only from among the Jews but also from among the Gentiles.
This is what he says in the book of Hosea: "The people who were not mine I will call "My People.' The nation that I did not love I will call "My Beloved.'
And in the very place where they were told, "You are not my people,' there they will be called the children of the living God."
And Isaiah exclaims about Israel: "Even if the people of Israel are as many as the grains of sand by the sea, yet only a few of them will be saved;
for the Lord will quickly settle his full account with the world."
It is as Isaiah had said before, "If the Lord Almighty had not left us some descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah."
So we say that the Gentiles, who were not trying to put themselves right with God, were put right with him through faith;
while God's people, who were seeking a law that would put them right with God, did not find it.
And why not? Because they did not depend on faith but on what they did. And so they stumbled over the "stumbling stone"
that the scripture speaks of: "Look, I place in Zion a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will make them fall. But whoever believes in him will not be disappointed."