Romans 9:1-18

Israel's people have not believed in Christ

1 What I am telling you is true. I speak as someone who belongs to Christ. I am not telling lies. God's Holy Spirit rules my thoughts, and they tell me that I am right. 2 I tell you this: I am very sad deep inside myself. I am always very upset because of Israel's people. 3 I belong to the same family as they do. They are my own people. I really want them to believe in Christ too. If it would help them, I would even ask God to curse me. I would ask him to make me separate from Christ.

4 They are Israelite people. God chose them to belong to him as his own children. He showed them that he is very great. He made many agreements with them and he gave his Law to them. He showed them how they should worship him. He promised many good things to them. 5 It was their ancestors that God chose to make great many years ago. And Christ himself, as a man, was born to an Israelite family. Christ is God, who rules over all things. We should praise him for ever! This is true! Amen.

9:5The ancestors of Israel's people were Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. See Genesis 12-49.

6 God promised good things to Israel's people. But I am not saying that what God promised did not happen. It is clear that not all of Israel's people are God's true people. 7 Not all of them are true descendants of Abraham. God told Abraham, ‘It is only your son Isaac that I will call the father of your descendants.’

8 This means that not all of Abraham's children are really God's children. It is only those children who were born as a result of God's promise. Only they are the people that God calls true descendants. 9 This is what God promised to Abraham: ‘At this time next year I will come back. Then Sarah, your wife, will have a son.’

10 Remember this too: Later, Isaac's wife, Rebekah, gave birth to twins. Those 2 sons had the same father, who was our ancestor, Isaac. 11 And God spoke to Rebekah before her sons were born. God spoke before the boys had done anything either good or bad. God did this to show clearly that he himself was choosing one child. He was not choosing someone because of what that person had done. He himself decided who he would choose. 12 God said to Rebekah, ‘The older son will serve the younger son.’ 13 This is written in the Bible: ‘I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau.’

9:13See Malachi 1:2-3. Later, God gave Jacob the name ‘Israel’. Jacob was the ancestor of the Israelites.

14 Because of this, someone might say that God is not fair. No! We should never say that! 15 Think about this. God said to Moses, ‘I will be kind to whoever I choose to be kind to. I will feel sorry for whoever I choose to feel sorry for.’ 16 So then, it is God who decides these things. It is not because of what people want. It is not because of what people do. It is because God chooses to be kind.

9:15See Exodus 33:19.

17 The Bible tells us what God said to Pharaoh: ‘This is why I caused you to be king of Egypt. My purpose was to show how powerful I am. As a result, people everywhere would know that I am great.’ 18 So we see this: God is kind to some people and he forgives them. But he causes some people, like Pharaoh, to turn against him. He chooses what he will do with each person.

9:17See Exodus 9:16.