1 My Christian friends, I want God to save Israel's people. I want that very much. I pray to God that he will save them. 2 I can say this about them: They really want to serve God well. But they do not understand the right way to do this. 3 They have not understood the way that God accepts people. Instead, they tried to make their own way to become right with God. They refused to accept God's way that would make them right with him. 4 God gave his Law to Israel's people for a purpose. But Christ has finished that purpose. So now, every person who believes in Christ becomes right with God.
God wants to save everyone
5 Moses wrote about how God's Law could help people to be right with God. He said, ‘If a person obeys the rules in God's Law, then he will live by them.’ 6 But the Bible speaks also about another way. It shows how to become right with God because you trust him. It says: ‘Do not say to yourself, “Someone will have to go up into heaven.” ’ (That means: ‘Someone will have to bring Christ down from up there.’) 7 ‘Do not say to yourself either, “Someone will have to go down into the world below.” ’ (That means: ‘Someone will have to bring Christ up from the place where dead people are.’) 8 But the Bible says: ‘God's message is near you. You can talk about it, and you can think about it.’ That is the same message that we are teaching to people. We tell people to believe in Jesus Christ.
9 The message is this: You must say clearly that Jesus is the Lord. Also, you must believe deep inside yourself that God raised him to life again after his death. Then God will save you. 10 God accepts people as right with him when they believe like that, deep inside themselves. And when people say clearly that Jesus is Lord, God saves them. 11 It says in the Bible:
‘Everyone who believes in him will not be disappointed.’
12 It says ‘everyone’. There is no difference between Jews and Gentiles. There is the same Lord for all of them. He helps everyone who asks him with many good things. 13 As it says in the Bible: ‘The Lord God will save everyone who asks him for help.’
14 But people will never ask Christ to help them if they have not believed in him. And they will never believe in him if they have not heard about him. And they will not hear about him unless somebody tells God's message to them. 15 And nobody can go to tell God's message to people unless God sends them. This is written in the Bible: ‘When people arrive to tell us good news, we say “welcome!” ’
16 But not every person who hears the good news obeys its message. Isaiah said this: ‘Lord God, it seems that nobody has believed our message.’ 17 So then, people must hear the message before they can trust God. And people hear that message when someone tells them about Christ.
18 Let me ask you this: ‘Did Israel's people hear that message?’ They certainly did! The Bible says:
‘People have spoken God's message everywhere.
People have heard his message in every part of the world.’
19 So, I ask this too: ‘When Israel's people heard God's message, did they understand it?’ First, think about what Moses wrote. God said to Israel's people:
‘I will make you jealous because of people who are not my people.
I will make you angry because of people who know nothing about me.’
20 Also, this is what Isaiah said very bravely:
‘God says: Those people who were not looking for me have found me.
I showed myself to people who were not even asking about me.’
10:20See Isaiah 65:1. Isaiah is speaking about the Gentiles. They were not waiting for Christ, God's Messiah, to come. They did not know anything about him. But because God is kind, he sent his good news to them.
21 But Isaiah says this about Israel's people:
‘God says: For a very long time,
I have been asking my people to return to me.
But they refused to obey me.
They turned against me.’
10:21See Isaiah 65:2. The Jews should have been waiting for Christ. The Old Testament told them that he would come. But when he came, they did not recognise him. See John 1:11.