Sunday, January 22, 2017

Why Does God Choose Some and Not Others?

Romans 9
God’s Selection of Israel
9 With Christ as my witness, I speak with utter truthfulness. My conscience and the Holy Spirit confirm it. 2 My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief 3 for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them. 4 They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises. 5 Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.

One of the hardest things when you are a believer is when a person in your family doesn't hold the same beliefs as you do. You can pray for them, try to share your faith in word and deed with them, but when there is no response you wonder why. In chapter 9, Paul is wondering the same thing. He grew up in the Jewish faith and was deeply committed to his faith, and also was an influential Pharisee. The Pharisees were the religious leaders,. who taught their fellow Israelites how to obey the Law and receive the blessings from it. But then Paul met Jesus on the Road to Damascus, and his life changed dramatically. God sent him to preach to only the Jews, but Gentiles as well. In fact, when he was rejected by his fellow Jews, his mission became almost exclusively to the Gentiles.

So, in chapter 9, Paul shares how broken his heart was over the fact that his fellow brothers and sisters had rejected the faith, he had been given by God's grace. In Chapter 9, Paul explains how though Abraham was given the promise of the covenant, God's plan all along was to bring all people to know the Father through the Son. In fact, he is so distraught over this, he says he is willing to be cut off from God if that would save his fellow Jews. But then he goes on to teach that whether someone is a Jew or Gentile, God has already chosen those who will come to know him by faith in Jesus. He gives examples from the Old Testament like Jacob and Esau, where he chose one brother over the other. And of course this begs the following question which Paul poses to the believers:

"Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?” To which he answers, "Who are we to question what God wants to do or not do." He quotes the Old Testament passage from Exodus where it says, "I will have mercy on whom I have compassion on whom I have compassion."

The important thing here is that it is God who chooses to give us His mercy and grace. This proves that we have no reason to take the credit for it. So if you know God and have received his mercy, God chose to give it to you. So what can you do? Live out your life in gratitude that God chose you and gave you the ability to respond to His mercy and grace. The more we understand this, the more we can live out of this special calling he has given us.

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