Romans 9:1-18 (ESV)
I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—that 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. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
Yesterday we talked about Jesus being the Stumbling Stone prophesied by Isaiah, this passage is Paul fleshing out that concept just before he ties it to that prophesy. You see, it is all about faith. In another place in Romans, Paul goes a step further and says that whatever is not done in faith is sin. We must rely upon God. Not on our works, or our best intentions, or anything else we have done. It is God Who saves. Jesus paid for our sins by His death on the Cross. He calls all men to Himself, but only those who respond in faith will be saved.
When we try to work our way to God, we cheapen His death. If there was anything I could do, then Jesus would not have had to die. But the Scriptures clearly teach that the Messiah had to suffer and die, in order to redeem all mankind. For as it says in Hebrews 9:22 “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. “
It is so easy that it is difficult. We humans try to fix things. We try to do things. But this we cannot do. I know we have spoken of this in previous devotions, yet not based upon this passage. There are so many passages that speak of this theme, how do people miss it? Share the message of Grace to someone today, tomorrow, and / or this week. Proclaim it from the rooftops. For it truly is the most awesome, miraculous, wonderful thing.
Thank you, Jesus!
by Virgil Stripes
Photo: prayers stuffed into the cracks of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. What is believed to be the remnant of the Temple Mount.