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God and the Jewish People

9 1I am in Christ and I am telling you the truth. I don't lie. My feelings are ruled by the Holy Spirit.* And those feelings tell me that I am not lying:

2I have great sorrow and always feel much sadness [for the Jewish people]. 3They are my brothers [and sisters], my earthly family. I wish I could help them. I would even have a curse on me and cut myself off from Christ if that would help them. 4They are the people of Israel.* Those people (the Jews) are God's chosen children. Those people have the glory of God and the agreements that God made between himself and his people. God gave them the law [of Moses] and the [temple] worship. And God gave his promises to those people (the Jews). 5Those people are the descendants* of our great fathers.* And they are the earthly family of Christ. Christ is God over all things. Praise him forever!* Amen.

6[Yes, I feel sorry for the Jewish people]. I don't mean that God failed to keep his promise to them. But only some of the people of Israel (the Jews) are truly God's people.* 7And only some of Abraham's* descendants* are true children of Abraham (God's people). [This is what God said to Abraham]: "Isaac will be your only legal son."* 8This means that not all of Abraham's descendants are God's true children. Abraham's true children are those people that become God's children because of the promise God made to Abraham.

9God's promise to Abraham was like this: "At the right time I will come back, and Sarah will have a son."* 10And that is not all. Rebecca also had sons. And those sons had the same father. He is our father* Isaac. 11-12But before the two sons were born, God told Rebecca, "The older son will serve the younger."* This was before the boys had done anything good or bad. God said this before they were born so that the boy God chose would be chosen because of God's own plan. He was chosen because he was the one God wanted to call, not because of anything the boys did. 13Like the Scripture* says, "I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau."*

14So what should we say about this? Is God not fair? We cannot say that. 15God said to Moses, "I will show mercy to the person that I want to show mercy to. I will show pity to the person that I want to show pity to."* 16So God will choose the person he decides to show mercy to. And his choice does not depend on what people want or try to do. 17[In] the Scripture* [God] says to Pharaoh*: "I made you king so you could do this for me. I wanted to show my power in you. I wanted my name to be announced in all the world."* 18So God shows mercy to the people he wants to show mercy to. And God makes the people stubborn that he wants to make stubborn.

19So one of you will ask me: "If God controls the things we do, then why does God blame us [for our sins]?" 20[Don't ask that]. You are only people. And people have no right to question God. A clay jar does not question the man that made it. The jar does not say, "Why did you make me like this?" 21The man that makes the jar can make anything he wants to make. He can use the same clay to make different things. He can make one thing for special purposes and another thing for daily use.

22It is the same way with what God has done. God wanted to show his anger and to let people see his power. But God endured patiently those people he was angry with--people that were ready to be destroyed. 23God waited with patience so that he could make known his rich glory. God wanted to give that glory to the people that receive his mercy. God has prepared these people to have his glory. 24We are those people. We are the people God called (chose). God called us from the Jews and from the non-Jews. 25Like the Scripture* says in [the book of] Hosea: "The people that are not mine-- I will say that they are my people. And the people that I did not love-- I will say that they are the people I love." Hosea 2:23

26"And in the same place that God said, 'You are not my people'-- in that place they will be called sons of the living God." Hosea 1:10

27And Isaiah cries out about Israel*: "There are so many people of Israel that they are like the grains of sand by the sea. But only a few of those people will be saved. 28Yes, the Lord will quickly finish judging the people on the earth."* 29It is like Isaiah said: "The Lord has all power. The Lord saved some of his people for us. If he had not done that, then we would now be like Sodom,* and we would now be like Gomorrah.*"*

30So what does all this mean? It means this: That the non-Jews were not trying to make themselves right with God. But they were made right with God. They became right because of their faith. 31And the people of Israel* tried to follow a law to make themselves right with God. But they did not succeed. 32Why not? Because they tried to make themselves right by the things they did. They did not trust in God to make them right. They fell over the stone that makes people fall. 33The Scripture* talks about that stone: "Look, I put in Zion*a stone that will make people fall. It is a rock that will make people sin. But any person that trusts in that rock will not be disappointed." Isaiah 8:14; 28:16

Spirit, Holy Spirit Also called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and the Comforter. Joined with God and Christ, he does God's work among people in the world. Israel The Jewish nation (people). descendants A person's children and all their future families. father(s) Important ancestors of the Jews, especially the leaders of the twelve Jewish family groups. Christ ... forever This can also mean, "May God, who rules over all things, be praised forever!" God's people Literally, "Israel," the people God chose to bring his blessings to the world. Abraham The most respected ancestor of the Jews. descendants A person's children and all their future families. "Isaac ... son" Quote from Gen. 21:12. "At the right time ... son" Quote from Gen. 18:10,14. father(s) Important ancestors of the Jews, especially the leaders of the twelve Jewish family groups. "The older ... younger" Quote from Gen. 25:23. Scripture(s) Holy Writings--the Old Testament. "I ... Esau" Quote from Mal. 1:2-3. "I will show ... show pity to" Quote from Ex. 33:19. Pharaoh The title of the king of Egypt. "I made ... world" Quote from Ex. 9:16. "There are ... earth" Quote from Isa. 10:22-23. Sodom, Gomorrah Cities where evil people lived. God punished them by destroying their cities. "The Lord ... Gomorrah" Quote from Isa. 1:9. Zion Another name for Jerusalem, the city of God's people.

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