Let us look at this carefully and summarize at the end. Verses 1-5: Paul laments the fact this his Jewish brethren are not turning to Christ who, according to the flesh, came out of Israel. Paul makes this point because he wishes to emphasize the fact that Jesus was a Jew and foremost for the Jew. Verses 6-13: Paul illustrates that children of Abraham by the flesh are not necessaryily Israel but only the children of Abraham AND Isaac AND Jacob. Indeed, the name Israel comes from the fact that they are all Israel's (Jacob's) children. And indeed, this is why they referred to their God as "the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob." Not all Abraham's descendents can then possibly be Israel because Ishmael's and Esau's lineages are not sons of Israel (Jacob). God chose for the promised seed to go through this lineage of Isaac and Jacob and that promised seed is Christ, according to the flesh, which he mentioned in verse 5 (see also Gal 3:16). In other words, Paul is emphasizing the fact that God chose the nation of Israel to bless the nations of the world (as He promised to all three of their fathers) not because of anything the Jews did, nor simply because they were children of Abraham (Ishmael and Esau were also children of Abraham), but because He chose this particular lineage to be the lineage of the Messiah through whom all nations would be blessed. See Matthew 28:19. One will find nothing here about God choosing who would be saved and who would not and such ideas are only the product of the imagination and eisegetically reading extraneous notions into the text that are not there. Verse 14: Then Paul anticipates the objection that there might be injustice with God for choosing whomever He wills in this manner. This would be similar to objecting to Jesus choosing whatever men he desired to be Apostles from the chosen people of God. Essentially, the argument is that God is unfair to pick and chose who would be: Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises If you think about this carefully, you will see the trap Paul lays for complaining Jews. God chose them and they don't have a problem with it. But boy oh boy they sure get excited when God does this with Gentile Christians and this is what Paul always has in mind. He is subtley illustrating their own hypocrisy. Many Jews were puffed up thinking their status before God was "the chosen people" and they rested in the fact that "Abraham is our father." In other words, they reckoned that they could just rest on the idea that God hd chosen them and favored them due to the fact that they were Jews and had special status. But Paul explained way back in chapter 2 that this concept is very misguided. God does not favor anyone by status (2:11) but will judge all men by works on the Day (2:5-16) and a true Jew is one who walks the walk, not simply someone who is circumcised intot he Law (2:28-29). In this way, not all Israel are Israel. The faithful remnant are Israel and he will get into that in a bit. So when Paul says, "For (1) they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; NOR (2) are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants," he has two different ideas in mind. (1) Only those who walk the walk (2:28-29) (2) Only those who are children of Jacob aka Israel Verses 15-22 Here Paul will explain that God may have mercy on whomever he desires to have mercy. The main point he has in mind here is that a prerequisite for God's mercy is not being a Jew under the Law. See verse 24. He already made a similar argument in chapter 3 where he argued that all sinned and fall short of the glory of God and God did not send his Son because he was blessing the efforts of the Jews but because of his mercy. "So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy." In other words, Paul is stressing the fact that many Jews have a misguided notion that God's mercy depends on their works of the Law but it doesn't. He sent his Son to die for the sins of Israel completely apart from the Law solely because of his mercy. See 3:21-26. So what we have so far is Paul illustrating that God blessed the nation of Israel in the past not because of anything they did, and not because they were sons of Abraham, but because he had made a promise to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob and this promise was attached to this lineage. And when God sent Jesus, he showed his mercy to them not because of anything they did under the Law, but because of his mercy toward them. Now Paul also mentions Pharaoh's hardened heart. What is his point here? Well if we carefully read this in context the answer is plainly obvious. Paul is comparing the hardened heart of Pharaoh to the hardened hearts of Jews who were not turning to Christ, the Jews Paul is lamenting about and prays for all of them to be saved (9:1-5; 10:1). " What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened.... for I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery--so that you will not be wise in your own estimation--that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in... and so all Israel will be saved." When God comes to you and you disobey him your heart will be hardened toward him. This is why we find in Exodus that God hardened Pharaoh's heart but it also says Pharaoh hardened his own heart. When God calls us to obey him and we disobey this action by God hardens our hearts. But our disobedience is our choice and so we also harden our own hearts. Put another way, if God had not called us to obey him, our heart would not have been hardened by disobeying him. In this way, we understand that God hardened Pharaoh's heart - He called Pharaoh to obey him and Pharaoh would not. And it is the same problem here with Israel at the moment Paul is writing. Israel was a stubborn people and Paul goes on and on about this in chapters 10 and 11. God raised up Israel for this very purpose and this is why Paul compares them to Pharaoh. "Just as you were once disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may receive mercy." (11:30). Paul's point is clear. Just as God raised up Pharoah and his hardened heart to show his mercy on the nation of Israel, now God has raised up Israel with its hardened heart to show his mercy upon the Gentiles. So then Paul anticipates the question, "Why does God find fault with me then?" and he follows this with an analogy of common and noble vessels. So who are the common and noble vessels in view? Some people God picked before creation versus some people he did not pick? Not even close. What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath made for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for the vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? Who are fitted for destruction? Who is the object of God's wrath? Who did God endure with much patience and forbearance? "This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed" (3:25). In Pauline thought, that of the flesh is "common." In Philippians Paul speaks of this "commonor" idea in reference to Christ becoming a human servant as opposed to divine nobility (Php 2:5-6) and refers to our common fleshly bodies of humiliation that will be raised into noble glory (Php 3:20-21). The idea here is: Flesh: Common Spirit: Noble Israel of the flesh were common; Christians of the Spirit, both Jew and Gentile, are noble. They are sons of God. But Jews had the notion they were noble because of their fleshly lineage from Abraham. Wrong again says Paul. Paul's entire point here is this: "You Jews who refuse Christ didn't seem to have a problem thinking you were noble in contrast to Pharaoh so why do you have such a big problem with the idea that spiritual Christians are noble in contrast with you who are mere children of the flesh of Abraham?" Well the answer to that is quite plain. The Jews wanted to think of themselves as those who God considered as noble in contrast to common Gentiles, the common nations. Paul is decimating that notion right here and that is why he speaks as he does at Romans 11:13 to 11:25. He reminds the Gentiles to not get all high and mighty now in this same manner. Verses 23-25 And here Paul makes it plain. The noble ones are those who are in Christ, not hardened Israel, the sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And in verse 25 Paul speaks of the Gentiles whom God has made his people. Christians who suffer with Christ are those he is forepreparing for glory (see Romans 8:17-25, 30). There is nothing here for us to think that Paul meant that God prepared for certain people to become Christians especially in view of the fact Christians are not converts glorified in a conversion event but a people being prepared for glory on that Day. Verses 26-33 And now Paul turns back to explain the initial phrase, "Not all Israel are Israel." This is very, very common in Paul's letters. He will mention something, head off in another direction and then return to explain something he has previously brought up. Here he shows that true Israel is the remnant, those who walk the walk (2:29). Israel as a whole did not pursue the righteousness of God but pursued their own brand of righteousness under the Law. And so they have stumbled. And this is why Paul laments hardened Israel. "They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make men stumble, a rock that will make them fall; and he who believes in him will not be put to shame. Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation." Yes Paul did not perceive hardened Israel to be God's reprobate but those who refused to come to Jesus for salvation. Indeed, Jesus was sent for their salvation and this was the whole end-goal of the Law and is why Paul cries out for them. SUMMARY 1. Paul laments hardened Israel. 2. Paul notes that not all Israel are Israel. 3. Paul notes that not all Abraham's children are Israel but only children of the promise, that is, children of Abraham AND Isaac AND Jacob through whom Christ must also come to bless the nations as promised to the three patriarchs. 4. Paul illustrates that their was no injustice with God by choosing to have mercy over Israel and not Pharaoh and so there is no injustice with God in choosing Christians (including Gentiles) over everyone else, including hardened Israel. Hence, the word of God has NOT failed, an objection Paul anticipated in verse 6. 5. Paul here returns to the idea that not all Israel are Israel but only the remnant. And these are those who accept Christ. 6. And Paul returns to his original idea that Israel as a whole have stumbled and he laments for their salvation and prays for their salvation. So is there absolutely anything in this passage that would imply the notions found in Calvinism? Absolutely nothing. These vain notions are completely imagined into the text by Calvinists.