Text: Romans 11:1-6
Key verses: “I ask you, then, has God rejected his own people, the nation of Israel?…No, God has not rejected his own people, whom he chose from the very beginning. Do you realize what the Scriptures say about this?…” (v. 1a, 2a). “He said, ‘No, I have 7000 others who have never bowed down to Baal!’ It is the same today, for a few of the people of Israel have remained faithful because of God’s grace–his undeserved kindness in choosing them. And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is–free and undeserved” (v. 4-6).
What (I believe) God said to me: Dwayne, this is a very important chapter to help you better grasp the way I deal with my people and to better understand the concept of grace. As Paul said earlier in this letter, I demonstrated my love towards you, in that while you were yet sinners, my Son died for you. Now Paul is speaking particularly of my people, the Israelites. My Son Jesus died for all–both Jews and Gentiles. However, it the nation of Israel, the Jews collectively, that I chose from the beginning to be “my people,” to represent me to the pagan nations and to bless with my name. Throughout history the Israelites have turned their backs on me, defiled my name, and disregarded my commands. They have not loved me in return for my everlasting love on them. I have never–will never–forsake my people. But at the same time, I will not make them follow me and obey me. Many have fallen away. They will give individual accounts when they stand before me in judgement. Nonetheless, there are tens of thousands who have not turned away from me. They have remained faithful and will be saved. Be careful not to read into this chapter that I decide in advance who will be saved and who will not, as though I like and accept some more than others. Certainly I am sovereign. Certainly I know all things, both past and future. And I know who will ultimately follow me and who will not. But I so loved the world. My desire is for all to come to trust and follow my Son–and that most certainly includes my people, the Jews. I have never rejected them as a nation, and I will not start now. My grace needs no help. My grace needs no one’s works added with it to prop it up and get people across the finish line to eternal life. My grace is sufficient to save and to keep my people from falling. The choice is theirs: Will they fall on my grace and trust me to save, or will they cling to their own smarts and ways and works. The same is true for you, Dwayne. No one can earn my salvation–it is a free and undeserved gift. Be grateful today that I shed my love and grace on you.
What I said to God: Holy and precious Lord and Savior, I fall on my knees and repent of my sinful thoughts and actions. I don’t deserve one ounce of Your amazing grace. I could never live up to the faithful way You have led me and provided for me over these many years. And to think, I’m not even one of Your “chosen ones.” I’m a mere Gentile, a pagan deserving of death and damnation. Please help me better grasp Your love and mercy and grace. Deepen my understanding and appreciation of who You are and what You have done, so we could have life and have it more abundantly. Oh what a Savior!