JohnSWilson3 Blog

“Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy…”
October 14, 2009, 1:04 am
Filed under: L Letter to Romans

Reading chapters 9 to 11 of Paul’s letter to the church in Rome has always seemed mysterious to me. Paul is very introspective and retrospective and deeply emotional all at the same time.

Paul has just told the believers in the church what their identity was in Christ, a glorious description and revelation of the riches of God’s grace for all who have peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ, concluding with one of the greatest statements ever of our solid foundation in Jesus! “Who will separate us from the love of Christ”? Paul writes rhetorically. There is only one answer! Nothing can separate the body from Jesus! When Jesus gave us “life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you” He became our life! Jesus is our life! Our spirit and His Spirit are now one and are sons of God through the Son of God!

As Paul reflects on this incredible truth he reflects on those who have rejected Jesus, the Messiah, “those of my own race, the people of Israel.” What an emotional low this must have brought him. Those who should have received Jesus because “theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” Because of those whom he has preached Christ to, who should have received Christ, rejected Christ, Paul has “great sorrow and unceasing anguish in (his) heart” and that he wished that he could be “cursed and cut off from Christ” for them. But Paul reconciles in his letter the fact that “not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendents are they all Abraham’s children.”

As Paul describes the mercy of God for the Gentiles at the expense to the Jews, and while Paul’s “desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved” he also realizes that God did not “reject his people.” The reason? Because Paul himself is “an Israelite… a descendent of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.” God chose Paul! God did not reject the Jews, in fact Jesus came to them first! “Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness” did not receive mercy from God “because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works.” But because God so loved the world He desired that all people, no matter who they are or where they are from, He desired to “call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; and…. call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,” and for those who receive Jesus by faith are all now “called ‘sons of the living God.’ ” How incredible God’s mercy! Right now, I could be an object “of his wrath.” Right now, you could be an object of God’s wrath! But God has given me mercy when He opened my eyes and revealed to me His Son! Paul must have thought the same way!

No wonder in the middle of this thought about the Jews and God’s mercy on the Gentiles he proclaims the confession of all believers everywhere: “That is you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ ”

Is Jesus your Lord? have you heard about Jesus the Messiah? You can only receive Him if you believe the message, “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God”! Amazing grace!

The body of Christ, both Jew and Gentile, whoever they are, “now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,” Jesus Christ our Lord! He is the vine, we are the branches, we are now in Christ! But, “Christ, who is God” is also in us! “Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen!” Jesus is our Lord, our all in all! Therefore, because salvation is through faith, by His grace and His mercy, we should “consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness” and “not be conceited.” Remember that “God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all” through faith in Jesus Christ! What a mystery! No wonder Paul has to proclaim: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?’ ‘Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”

So how are we, the body of Christ, serving “in the new way of the Spirit?” Have you counted yourself “dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus”? Because of God’s mercy on us, because He now lives, truly lives, in reality lives, in us, “the hope of the glory of God,” are we letting Jesus show His glory through us? “We have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” “Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Let us “consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God” and live “in the new way of the Spirit.” We have direct access to God, we can let Him live His life through us, His life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

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