Israel’s Rejection and God’s Justice
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
25 As He says also in Hosea:
“ I will call them My people, who were not My people,
And her beloved, who was not beloved.”
26 “ And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,
‘ You are not My people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.”
27 Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel:
“ Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea,
The remnant will be saved.
28 For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness,
Because the LORD will make a short work upon the earth.”
29 And as Isaiah said before:
“ Unless the LORD of Sabaoth had left us a seed,
We would have become like Sodom,
And we would have been made like Gomorrah.”
Present Condition of Israel
30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:
“ Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
Paul goes on a tour of the Bible that they all would have been taught at that time explaining that God not only has the authority to choose His “people” but that it shows His character and nature to choose to save those who have chosen to bless Him. In His righteousness He must do what is just and while that means that He will keep His promises – to save those who have blessed Him and to curse those who have cursed Him. This is the stumbling block that He has prepared for them – that they will have to abandon their preconceived notions of how they want God accept them despite their unfaithfulness to Him. We have the same thing today.