God himself decides when he will be angry or kind
19 One of you may say to me, ‘God always does what he wants to do. Nobody can change what God makes them do. So, God should not say that people have done wrong things.’ 20 But you are only human. You have no authority to speak against God like that. God has made you. A pot cannot speak against the person who made it! It cannot ask him, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ 21 Somebody who makes pots can choose to make any kind of pot. He can use the same piece of clay to make two different pots. One of the pots may be for special parties. The other pot is for dirty things.
22 What does that teach us about God? Some people are like pots that are ready for God to destroy. God is angry with people like that. He is ready to show his power against them. But he has chosen to wait patiently. He keeps his anger for later. 23 Other people are like valuable pots that God has chosen to make. God wants to be kind to people like that. He wants to use them to show people how great he is. He has prepared them to be with him for a special party in heaven. 24 We are those people! God has chosen us to be his people. It is not only Jews that he has chosen. He has also chosen Gentiles. 25 God says this in the book of Hosea:
‘I will say to people who were not my people,
“Now you are my people.”
I will say to people that I did not love,
“I love you.” ’
26 ‘God had said to them,
“You are not my people.”
In the same place where he said that,
people will now call them “Children of God, who lives for ever.” ’
27 Also, God's prophet Isaiah spoke this about Israel's people:
‘There are so many of Israel's people, nobody can count them.
They are as many as the bits of sand on the shore of the sea.
But God will save only a few of them.
28 The Lord God will finish his work quickly.
He has warned his people what he will do.
And he will punish them completely.’
29 Isaiah had already said this:
‘The Lord of great power has let some of our children live.
If he had not done that, no descendants would remain.
We would have become like the people in Sodom and Gomorrah.’
9:29See Isaiah 1:9 and Genesis 19:1-29. Sodom and Gomorrah were small towns. The people who lived there refused to obey God. So God destroyed those towns.
30 So, we must think about what all this means. The Gentiles were not trying to become right with God. But some of them have now become right with him. God has accepted them as right, because they have believed in Jesus Christ. 31 But Israel's people tried to find a law that would make them right with God. But they failed to become right with God. 32 They failed because they refused to believe in Christ. Instead, they were trying to do certain things so that God would accept them. Because of that they fell to the ground. Their feet hit the stone which causes people to fall. 33 It says this in the Bible:
‘Look, I am putting a special stone in Zion.
That stone will cause people to fall to the ground.
It is a rock that will make them fall down.
But anyone who believes in him will never be disappointed.’
9:33See Isaiah 26:16; 8:14 and 1 Peter 2:6-8. ‘Rock’ is one of God's names for Jesus. He is God's special Messiah. It is difficult for people to believe that God will only accept them if they believe in Jesus Christ. They think that they can do good things and then he will accept them. That is why Jesus is like a rock that causes people to fall to the ground.
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.