1 But then I ask, “Has God rejected his people?” Of course not! I'm an Israelite myself, from the tribe of Benjamin.
2 God has not rejected his chosen people. Don't you recall what Scripture says about Elijah? How he complained about Israel to God, saying,
3 “Lord they've killed your prophets and destroyed your altars. I'm the only one left, and they're trying to kill me too!”
4 How did God answer him? “I still have seven thousand left who have not worshiped Baal.”
5 Today it's just the same: there are still some faithful people left, chosen by God's grace.
6 And since it's through grace, then clearly it's not based on what people do, otherwise grace wouldn't be grace!
7 So what do we conclude? That the people of Israel didn't achieve what they were striving for—only the chosen, while the rest became hard-hearted.
8 As Scripture says, “God dulled their minds so their eyes could not see and their ears could not hear, to this very day.”
9 David adds, “May their feasts become a trap for them, a net that catches them, a temptation that brings punishment.
10 May their eyes become blind so they cannot see, and may their backs always be bent low in dejection.”
11 So am I saying that they stumbled and consequently failed completely? Not at all! But as a result of their mistakes, salvation came to other nations, to “make them jealous.”
12 Now if even their failure benefits the world, and their loss profits the foreigners, how much more beneficial it would be if they were to completely fulfill what they were meant to be.
13 Now let me speak to you foreigners. Insofar as I'm a missionary to foreigners, I promote what I'm doing
14 that somehow I might make my people jealous and save some of them.
15 If the result of God's rejection of them is that the world becomes God's friends, the result of God's acceptance of them would be like the dead coming back to life!
16 If the first part of the bread dough given as an offering is holy, then so is all the rest; if the roots of a tree are holy, then so are the branches.
17 Now if some of the branches have been broken off, and you—a wild olive shoot—have been grafted in, and have shared with them the benefit of nourishment from the olive tree's roots,
18 then you shouldn't look down on the other branches. If you're tempted to boast, remember it's not you who are supporting the roots, but the roots that are supporting you.
19 You could make the claim, “Branches were broken off so I could be grafted in.”
20 All well and good—but they were broken off because of their failure to trust in God, and you stay there because you trust in God. So don't think highly of yourselves, but be respectful,
21 because if God didn't spare the original branches, he won't spare you either.
22 You should recognize both God's kindness and toughness—he was tough on the fallen, but God is kind to you so long as you trust in his kindness—otherwise you'll be removed too.
23 If they no longer refuse to trust in God, they can be grafted in as well, for God is able to graft them back in again.
24 If you could be cut from a wild olive tree, and then be grafted artificially onto a cultivated olive tree, how much more easily they could be grafted back naturally to their own tree.
25 I don't want you, my brothers and sisters to miss this previously-hidden truth, for otherwise you could become conceited. The people of Israel have become hard-hearted in part, until the process of the foreigners coming in is complete.
26 This is how all Israel will be saved. As Scripture says, “The Savior will come from Zion, and he will turn Jacob away from his opposition to God.
27 My promise to them is that I'll take away their sins.”
28 Though they are enemies of the good news—and this is to your benefit—they are still the chosen people, and loved because of their forefathers.
29 God's gifts and his calling can't be withdrawn.
30 At one time you disobeyed God, but now God has shown you mercy as a result of their disobedience.
31 In just the same way that they're now disobedient as you were, they will also be shown mercy like you received.
32 For God treated everyone as prisoners because of their disobedience so that he could be merciful to everyone.
33 Oh how deep are God's riches, wisdom, and knowledge! How incredible his decisions, how unimaginable his methods!
34 Who can know God's thoughts? Who can give him advice?
35 Who has ever given anything to God that God would be obliged to repay?
36 Everything comes from him, everything exists through him, and everything is for him. Glory to him forever, Amen!