Isay then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel?
"Lord, THEY HAVE KILLED YOUR PROPHETS, THEY HAVE TORN DOWN YOUR ALTARS, AND I ALONE AM LEFT, AND THEY ARE SEEKING MY LIFE.'
But what is the divine response to him? " I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL.'
In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice.
But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.
What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened;
just as it is written, " GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT, DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY.'
And David says, " LET THEIR TABLE BECOME A SNARE AND A TRAP, AND A STUMBLING BLOCK AND A RETRIBUTION TO THEM.
" LET THEIR EYES BE DARKENED TO SEE NOT, AND BEND THEIR BACKS FOREVER.'
I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous.
Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!
But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry,
if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.
For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too.
But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree,
do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.
You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.'
Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear;
for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.
Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.
And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?
For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mysteryso that you will not be wise in your own estimationthat a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;
and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, " THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.'
" THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.'
From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers;
for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience,
so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy.
For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!
For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR?
Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN?
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. 12
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,
so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;
if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching;
or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;
not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,
contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, " VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,' says the Lord.
" BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.'
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. 13