1 So here is what I ask. Did God turn his back on his people? Not at all! I myself belong to Israel. I am one of Abraham's children. I am from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God didn't turn his back on his people. After all, he chose them. Don't you know what Scripture says about Elijah? He complained to God about Israel. 3 He said, "Lord, they have killed your prophets. They have torn down your altars. I'm the only one left. And they are trying to kill me."(1 Kings 19:10,14) 4 How did God answer him? God said, "I have kept 7,000 people for myself. They have not bowed down to Baal."(1 Kings 19:18) 5 Some are also faithful today. They have been chosen by God's grace. 6 And if they are chosen by grace, it is no longer a matter of working for it. If it were, grace wouldn't be grace anymore. 7 What should we say then? Israel did not receive what they wanted so badly. But those who were chosen did. God made the rest of them stubborn. 8 It is written, "God made it hard for them to understand. He gave them eyes that could not see. He gave them ears that could not hear. And they are still like that today." (Deuteronomy 29:4; Isaiah 29:10) 9 David says, "Let their feast be a trap and a snare. Let it make Israel trip and fall. Let Israel get what's coming to them. 10 Let their eyes grow dark so they can't see. Let their backs be bent forever." (Psalm 69:22,23) 11 Again, here is what I ask. They didn't trip and fall once and for all time, did they? Not at all! Because Israel sinned, those who aren't Jews can be saved. That will make Israel jealous of them. 12 Israel's sin brought riches to the world. Their loss brought riches to the non-Jews. What greater riches will come when all Israel turns to God! 13 I am talking to you who are not Jews. I am the apostle to the non-Jews. So I think the work I do for God and others is very important. 14 I hope somehow to stir up my own people to want what you have. Perhaps I can save some of them. 15 When they were not accepted, it became possible for the whole world to be brought back to God. So what will happen when they are accepted? It will be like life from the dead. 16 The first handful of dough that is offered is holy. This makes all of the dough holy. If the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 Some of the natural branches have been broken off. You are a wild olive branch. But you have been joined to the tree with the other branches. Now you enjoy the life-giving sap of the olive tree root. 18 So don't think you are better than the other branches. Remember, you don't give life to the root. The root gives life to you. 19 You will say, "Some branches were broken off so that I could be joined to the tree." 20 That's true. But they were broken off because they didn't believe. You stand only because you do believe. So don't be proud. Be afraid. 21 God didn't spare the natural branches. He won't spare you either. 22 Think about how kind God is! Also think about how firm he is! He was hard on those who stopped following him. But he is kind to you. So you must continue to live in his kindness. If you don't, you also will be cut off. 23 If the people of Israel do not continue in their unbelief, they will again be joined to the tree. God is able to join them to the tree again. 24 After all, weren't you cut from a wild olive tree? Weren't you joined to an olive tree that was taken care of? And wasn't that the opposite of how things should be done? How much more easily will the natural branches be joined to their own olive tree! 25 Brothers and sisters, here is a mystery I want you to understand. It will keep you from being proud. Part of Israel has refused to obey God. That will continue until the full number of non-Jews has entered God's kingdom. 26 And so all Israel will be saved. It is written, "The One who saves will come from Mount Zion. He will remove sin from Jacob. 27 Here is my covenant with them. I will take away their sins." (Isaiah 59:20,21; 27:9; Jeremiah 31:33,34) 28 As far as the good news is concerned, the people of Israel are enemies. That is for your good. But as far as God's choice is concerned, the people of Israel are loved. That is because of God's promises to the founders of our nation. 29 God does not take back his gifts. He does not change his mind about those he has chosen. 30 At one time you did not obey God. But now you have received mercy because Israel did not obey. 31 In the same way, Israel has not been obeying God. But now they receive mercy because of God's mercy to you. 32 God has found everyone guilty of not obeying him. So now he can have mercy on everyone. 33 How very rich are God's wisdom and knowledge! How he judges is more than we can understand! The way he deals with people is more than we can know! 34 "Who can ever know what is in the Lord's mind? Or who can ever give him advice?" (Isaiah 40:13) 35 "Has anyone ever given anything to God, so that God has to pay him back?" (Job 41:11) 36 All things come from him. All things are directed by him. All things are for his good. May God be given the glory forever! Amen.
1 Brothers and sisters, God has shown you his mercy. So I am asking you to offer up your bodies to him while you are still alive. Your bodies are a holy sacrifice that is pleasing to God. When you offer your bodies to God, you are worshiping him. 2 Don't live any longer the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect. 3 God's grace has been given to me. So here is what I say to every one of you. Don't think of yourself more highly than you should. Be reasonable when you think about yourself. Keep in mind the amount of faith God has given you. 4 Each of us has one body with many parts. And the parts do not all have the same purpose. 5 So also we are many persons. But in Christ we are one body. And each part of the body belongs to all the other parts. 6 We all have gifts. They differ in keeping with the grace that God has given each of us. Do you have the gift of prophecy? Then use it in keeping with the faith you have. 7 Is it your gift to serve? Then serve. Is it teaching? Then teach. 8 Is it telling others how they should live? Then tell them. Is it giving to those who are in need? Then give freely. Is it being a leader? Then work hard at it. Is it showing mercy? Then do it cheerfully. 9 Love must be honest and true. Hate what is evil. Hold on to what is good. 10 Love each other deeply. Honor others more than yourselves. 11 Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord. 12 When you hope, be joyful. When you suffer, be patient. When you pray, be faithful. 13 Share with God's people who are in need. Welcome others into your homes. 14 Bless those who hurt you. Bless them, and do not call down curses on them. 15 Be joyful with those who are joyful. Be sad with those who are sad. 16 Agree with each other. Don't be proud. Be willing to be a friend of people who aren't considered important. Don't think that you are better than others. 17 Don't pay back evil with evil. Be careful to do what everyone thinks is right. 18 If possible, live in peace with everyone. Do that as much as you can. 19 My friends, don't try to get even. Leave room for God to show his anger. It is written, "I am the One who judges people. I will pay them back,"(Deuteronomy 32:35) says the Lord. 20 Do just the opposite. Scripture says, "If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. By doing those things, you will pile up burning coals on their heads." (Proverbs 25:21,22) 21 Don't let evil overcome you. Overcome evil by doing good.
1 All of you must be willing to obey completely those who rule over you. There are no authorities except the ones God has chosen. Those who now rule have been chosen by God. 2 So when you oppose the authorities, you are opposing those whom God has appointed. Those who do that will be judged. 3 If you do what is right, you won't need to be afraid of your rulers. But watch out if you do what is wrong! You don't want to be afraid of those in authority, do you? Then do what is right. The one in authority will praise you. 4 He serves God and will do you good. But if you do wrong, watch out! The ruler doesn't carry a sword for no reason at all. He serves God. And God is carrying out his anger through him. The ruler punishes anyone who does wrong. 5 You must obey the authorities. Then you will not be punished. You must also obey them because you know it is right. 6 That's also why you pay taxes. The authorities serve God. Ruling takes up all their time. 7 Give to everyone what you owe. Do you owe taxes? Then pay them. Do you owe anything else to the government? Then pay it. Do you owe respect? Then give it. Do you owe honor? Then show it. 8 Pay everything you owe. But you can never pay back all the love you owe each other. Those who love others have done everything the law requires. 9 Here are some commandments to think about. "Do not commit adultery." "Do not commit murder." "Do not steal." "Do not want what belongs to others."(Exodus 20:13-15,17; Deuteronomy 5:17-19,21) These and other commandments are all included in one rule. Here's what it is. "Love your neighbor as you love yourself."(Leviticus 19:18) 10 Love does not harm its neighbor. So love does everything the law requires. 11 When you do those things, keep in mind the times we are living in. The hour has come for you to wake up from your sleep. Our full salvation is closer now than it was when we first believed in Christ. 12 The dark night of evil is nearly over. The day of Christ's return is almost here. So let us get rid of the works of darkness. Let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us act as we should, like people living in the daytime. Have nothing to do with wild parties. Don't get drunk. Don't take part in sexual sins or evil conduct. Don't fight with each other. Don't be jealous of anyone. 14 Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ as your clothing. Don't think about how to satisfy what your sinful nature wants.