Romans 9:30-33 That Kind of Faith

God calls us to faith in Jesus

Paul comes back to the core of the matter. The heart of the promise and the goal of the Law.

In our last reading I forgot to mention a very heartfelt cry from Paul. He loves his fleshly brothers. He longs for Israel to receive Jesus. That love is one of the things that drove him to pen this letter. He said that he would gladly be cut off from Jesus if it meant that all of Israel would be saved. “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (verses 2-3). THAT’S love! That’s Jesus’ kind of love.

Paul knows what Israel’s problem is and he can’t fix it. Israel received so much from God, including the “Law that would lead to righteousness” (verse 31). But they got so caught up in the “do’s” and “don’ts” that they thought THEY were responsible for earning their way into God’s presence.

I can understand their dilemma, especially with also receiving the “blessings” and “curses” in Deuteronomy 28. We still have people today that believe that if they follow all the rules they are bound to be blessed beyond all measure and can earn their way into Heaven.

But that is not what God called for. He called for an Abraham kind of faith. A Joshua and Caleb kind of faith. A faith that saw what was and didn’t even count it as important because of the promise they had already received from God. A faith that can clearly see there is NO earthly way and not lose hope in the promise. God said it and that’s all I need to know.

That is the only way to God. Working won’t get you there. There is no good enough. You have to trust God to take you where you can’t go yourself.

I’m presented with a picture that I want to try and share on this point. My mind is turning to the point of death for each of us.

I see the person who is “working his way to Heaven” come to the end of his days. If he has done enough good in his life, he should be handed a key that he can use to let himself into Heaven. There should be something different that happens to him at the moment of death than what happens to the people who “didn’t make the cut.” Some special door only his key fits.

Then I see the person who trusts God’s word about what comes after this life. He doesn’t need a special key. He knows he can’t open the door, only God can. He has faith in God’s promises that when he steps from this life that God is going to catch him. His death looks exactly like everyone else’s because it is not him doing the work.

The big problem for our first man is that what is “good enough?” When can he be sure he has made it? He would never be able to rest. He would never know peace. Our second person already has peace because he knows where his hope comes from. That’s faith.

Father God, thank You that I don’t have to be good enough. You did that for me. Thank You that You open the door for me. Thank You for Your promise to not only meet me on the other side of death but to also walk with me daily on this side. Thank You for placing this message into the hearts of Your disciples so they would write it all down for me. Help me have Caleb kind of faith. Days full of “Holy Cow’s” and not “Yah buts“.

Romans 9:1-29 Chosen Children

NOT how God chooses!

Paul brings us something very interesting to contemplate today. Who deserves salvation? Why one person and not the other? I don’t know that I have the answer but we are going there anyway.

The last time we met we looked at the fact that God “foreknew” who would choose to follow Him. Today’s reading gives me pause to reconsider that point. I still hold to the basis of God knew from the beginning but why didn’t He put more “ah ha” moments in everyone’s path so we would ALL turn to Him? Why do some people seem born to be born again and others seem to be damned from birth? Read more »

Romans 8:31-39 Unstoppable Love

This promise is written in blood!

Today Paul shares with us just how precious we are to God. “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (verses 38-39).

Those two verses say it ALL. There is nothing that can get in the way of God’s love for us. He loved us so much that He sent His OWN Son to take our place! There is no person I love enough to exchange my child’s life for theirs. God had a slight advantage over me because He knew the final score concerning Jesus’ death. He knew that His Son’s death was not permanent but would permanently change us. Read more »

Romans 8:18-30 Anticipation

For those who love God all things work together for good

Paul shares with us today that this walk is not easy but we have help and hope. We are not blindly stumbling about on our own. God has a plan for each of us.

We are warned right away that there will be suffering. But that suffering or problems are NOTHING compared to the reward that awaits us in the end. Because sin entered the world even creation itself struggles daily. If you ever doubt that, think about how many animals have gone extinct and how our planet has become more and more polluted. It is due to sin being in this world and working through man’s hands.

This world and all that is in it longs for Jesus’ return. Unfortunately not every man joins in that eager anticipation. But those of us who do, have a promise of help while we wait. That help comes from the Holy Spirit. Read more »

Romans 8:12-17 Abba! Father!

My name is in there somewhere too

Paul shares with us today the ultimate gift we receive through Jesus; that of becoming sons and daughters of God. What the Law couldn’t do, Jesus did instead. Through faith in Him we are heirs with Christ.

I can’t remember the first time I asked Jesus into my heart. As long as I can remember He has been my Companion, my Savior. I can, however, remember the last time I prayed that prayer.

Because I didn’t have a clear memory of the first time, I was always afraid that I didn’t REALLY belong to Jesus. So, as a child, every time someone made an impassioned plea for people to give their lives to Jesus, I would join in that prayer again. I was afraid I wasn’t really “saved” and was terrified that somehow I would still wind up going to Hell for my sins. Read more »