¶ I TELL the truth through Christ, and I do not lie, my conscience also bears me witness through the Holy Spirit,
That I am exceedingly sorrowful, and the pain which is in my heart never ceases.
For I have prayed that I myself might be accursed because of Christ for the sake of my brethren and my kinsmen according to the flesh,
Who are Israelites;
to whom belongs the adoption and the glory and the covenants and the law, and the rituals therein, and the promises,
And the fathers, from among whom Christ appeared in the flesh, who is God over all, to whom are due praises and thanksgiving, for ever and ever.
¶ It is not as though the word of God had actually failed.
For all those who belong to Israel are not Israelites;
Neither, because they are of the seed of Abraham are they all his children;
for it was said, In Isaac shall your descendants be called.
That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God;
but the children of the promise who are reckoned as descendants.
For this is the word of promise: I will come at this season, and Sarah shall have a son.
And not only this;
but Rebecca also, even though she had intimacy with one only, our father Isaac;
Before her children were born or had done good or evil, the choice of God was made known in advance;
that it might stand, not by means of works, but through him who made the choice.
For it was said, The elder shall be the servant of the younger.
As it is written, Jacob have I loved but Esau have I set aside.
What shall we say then?
Is there injustice with God?
Far be it.
For he said to Moses also, I will have mercy on him whom I love, and I will have compassion on him whom I favor.
Therefore, it is not within reach of him who wishes, nor within the reach of him who strives, but it is within the reach of the merciful God.
For in the scripture, he said to Pharaoh, It was for this purpose that I have appointed you, that I might show my power in you, so that my name might be preached throughout all the earth.
Thus he has mercy on whom he pleases, and he hardens whom he pleases.
Perhaps you will say, Why then does he yet find fault?
For who can resist his will?
However, O man, who are you to question God?
Shall the thing formed say to him who formed it, Why have you made me like this?
Does not the potter have power over his clay, to make out of the same lump vessels, one for special occasions and the other for daily service?
Now then, if God wanted to show his anger and make his power known, would he not then, after the abundance of his patience, bring wrath upon the vessels of wrath which were ready for destruction?
But he poured his mercy upon the favored vessels, which were prepared for the glory of God;
Namely, ourselves, the called ones, not of the Jews only but also of the Gentiles.
¶ As he said also in Hosea, I will call them my people, who were not my own people;
and her beloved who was not beloved.
And it shall come to pass that in the place where it was said you are not my people, there shall they be called the children of the living God.
Isaiah also preached concerning the children of Israel, Though the number of children of Israel should be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant shall be saved.
For whatever the Lord has determined and decreed he shall bring to pass upon the earth.
Just as Isaiah had said before, If the Lord of Hosts had not increased the remnant, we should have been like Sodom, and should have resembled Gomorrah.
What shall we say then?
That the Gentiles who followed not after righteousness have attained to righteousness;
that is, the righteousness which is the result of faith.
But Israel, who followed after the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.
Because it was not sought by faith but by the works of the law.
So they stumbled at that stumbling-stone.
As it is written, Behold, the prophet I give to Zion becomes a stumbling-stone, and rock of offence;
but whoever believes in him shall not be ashamed.