But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel;
The word of God is the good news of Jesus. See entry for Acts 4:31.
That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants.
Children of God. Although God is the Father of all (Acts 17:29), the phrase “children of God” usually refers to believers (1 John 5:2), as is the case here. See entry for Children of God.
Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.”
If God so loved the world (John 3:16), why does he hate Esau? He doesn’t. Paul is quoting an old prophecy (Mal. 1:2-3) to show how God chose one of the twins (Jacob) but not the other (Esau). The descendants of Jacob (the Israelites) received the favor of God but the descendants of Esau (the Edomites) did not. God chose Israel to display the riches of his glory to the world (Rom. 9:23). He was advertising, in other words. He blessed one nation so that they might reveal his goodness to others.
Sadly, the Israelites were not good ambassadors of God’s favor, but God’s plan was not thwarted. From among their number came Jesus who died for the whole world – including the descendants of Esau.
For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”
Mercy… compassion. Mercy is showing compassion towards those in need. Like his grace, God’s mercy is unmerited and freely offered to all (Rom. 11:32). See entry for Mercy.
What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith;
(a) Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness. The Gentiles never tried to keep the law of righteousness because they did not have it.
(b) Pursue righteousness; see entry for 1 Tim. 6:11.
(c) The righteousness which is faith is the righteousness of God that is received by faith (see entry for Php. 3:9). This divine righteousness is sometimes referred to as the righteousness of faith or faith righteousness (Rom. 4:11, 13, 10:6, Heb. 11:7).
but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law.
A law of righteousness. The law is holy, righteous, and good (Rom. 7:12), but no one was ever made righteous by keeping it (see entry for Rom. 3:20). The law of righteousness can be distinguished from the righteousness which is by faith (Rom. 4:13, 9:30, 10:6).
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