How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in him whom they have not heard? How will they hear without a preacher? And how will they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Good News of peace,
who bring glad tidings of good things!”
But they didn’t all listen to the glad news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, didn’t they hear? Yes, most certainly,
“Their sound went out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.”
But I ask, didn’t Israel know? First Moses says,
“I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is no nation,
with a nation void of understanding I will make you angry.”
Isaiah is very bold, and says,
“I was found by those who didn’t seek me.
I was revealed to those who didn’t ask for me.”
But as to Israel he says, “All day long I stretched out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”
I ask then, did God reject his people? May it never be! For I also am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God didn’t reject his people, which he foreknew. Or don’t you know what the Scripture says about Elijah? How he pleads with God against Israel: “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have broken down your altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.” But how does God answer him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
What then? That which Israel seeks for, that he didn’t obtain, but the chosen ones obtained it, and the rest were hardened. According as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, to this very day.” David says,
“Let their table be made a snare, and a trap,
a stumbling block, and a retribution to them.
Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see.
Bow down their back always.”
I ask then, did they stumble that they might fall? May it never be! But by their fall salvation has come to the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy. Now if their fall is the riches of the world, and their loss the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?