9 I am in Christ, and I am telling you the truth; I do not lie. My conscience is ruled by the Holy Spirit, and it tells me I am not lying. 2 I have great sorrow and always feel much sadness. 3 I wish I could help my Jewish brothers and sisters, my people. I would even wish that I were cursed and cut off from Christ if that would help them. 4 They are the people of Israel, God’s chosen children. They have seen the glory of God, and they have the agreements that God made between himself and his people. God gave them the law of Moses and the right way of worship and his promises. 5 They are the descendants of our great ancestors, and they are the earthly family into which Christ was born, who is God over all. Praise him forever! n Amen.
6 It is not that God failed to keep his promise to them. But only some of the people of Israel are truly God’s people, n 7 and only some of Abraham’s n descendants are true children of Abraham. But God said to Abraham: “The descendants I promised you will be from Isaac.” n 8 This means that not all of Abraham’s descendants are God’s true children. Abraham’s true children are those who become God’s children because of the promise God made to Abraham. 9 God’s promise to Abraham was this: “At the right time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” n 10 And that is not all. Rebekah’s sons had the same father, our father Isaac. 11–12 But before the two boys were born, God told Rebekah, “The older will serve the younger.” n This was before the boys had done anything good or bad. God said this so that the one chosen would be chosen because of God’s own plan. He was chosen because he was the one God wanted to call, not because of anything he did. 13 As the Scripture says, “I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau.” n
14 So what should we say about this? Is God unfair? In no way. 15 God said to Moses, “I will show kindness to anyone to whom I want to show kindness, and I will show mercy to anyone to whom I want to show mercy.” n 16 So God will choose the one to whom he decides to show mercy; his choice does not depend on what people want or try to do. 17 The Scripture says to the king of Egypt: “I made you king for this reason: to show my power in you so that my name will be talked about in all the earth.” n 18 So God shows mercy where he wants to show mercy, and he makes stubborn the people he wants to make stubborn.
19 So one of you will ask me: “Then why does God blame us for our sins? Who can fight his will?” 20 You are only human, and human beings have no right to question God. An object should not ask the person who made it, “Why did you make me like this?” 21 The potter can make anything he wants to make. He can use the same clay to make one thing for special use and another thing for daily use.
22 It is the same way with God. He wanted to show his anger and to let people see his power. But he patiently stayed with those people he was angry with—people who were made ready to be destroyed. 23 He waited with patience so that he could make known his rich glory to the people who receive his mercy. He has prepared these people to have his glory, 24 and we are those people whom God called. He called us not from the Jews only but also from those who are not Jews. 25 As the Scripture says in Hosea:
“I will say, ‘You are my people’
to those I had called ‘not my people.’
And I will show my love
to those people I did not love.”
‘You are not my people,’
but later they will be called
‘children of the living God.’ ”
27 And Isaiah cries out about Israel:
“The people of Israel are many,
like the grains of sand by the sea.
But only a few of them will be saved,
28 because the Lord will quickly and completely punish the
people on the earth.”
“The Lord All-Powerful
allowed a few of our descendants to live.
Otherwise we would have been completely destroyed
like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.” n
30 So what does all this mean? Those who are not Jews were not trying to make themselves right with God, but they were made right with God because of their faith. 31 The people of Israel tried to follow a law to make themselves right with God. But they did not succeed, 32 because they tried to make themselves right by the things they did instead of trusting in God to make them right. They stumbled over the stone that causes people to stumble. 33 As it is written in the Scripture:
“I will put in Jerusalem a stone that causes people to stumble,
a rock that makes them fall.
Anyone who trusts in him will never be disappointed.”
About New Century Version
The New Century Version is one of the easiest translations of the Bible to understand. It accurately communicates the messages found in the original languages of biblical manuscripts, using the kind of terms you use every day. It uses contemporary language with down-to-earth vocabulary. The end result is a fresh, straightforward, and strong translations of God’s truth; and it is something you can connect with in your daily life. You’ll find it easier to experience God's Word as it truly is—absolutely clear, powerfully alive, and completely life-changing.
Copyright 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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