Thursday, May 28, 2009

Devotions - Some Are Chosen By Grace Alone

Good morning. This morning's devotion is straightforward as we look at Romans 11:1-10.

Again we see Paul's love for his people. He states that God has not rejected his people. Just because he allowed their hearts to be hardened does not mean they are forever lost. It is hard to think that some will be sacrificed for the sake of others but that is what the Father did for us by sacrificing his Son.

However, the Father has not wiped out Israel from his memory. Just as in the day of Elijah God has preserved a remanant. In Elijah's day it was a number of people who refused to bend their knees to idols as demanded by the king and queen. Elijah though he was the last of the true worshippers of YAHWEH in that land but God corrected him. He will not be left withour representation in Israel. Only now they are not a remanant by works but a remanant by grace:

So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. vv. 5-6

Nothing in the Kingdom is covered by works any more, it is all covered by undeserved grace. We must fight against that sin nature that tries to convince us that we must earn our salvation. God has chosen to have compassion on us. Are you listening? He has chosen. So it doesn't matter how terrible a person you are or what terrible things you have done, he has chosen to have compassion for you and through Jesus Christ to apply mercy.

Yet others were allowed to be hardened so that we may receive this good news:

What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, as it is written:
"God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes so that they could not see
and ears so that they could not hear,
to this very day." v. 7-8

Does this mean their choice was taken away? Not at all. They had the same prophets and sacred text as the remanant only they chose to be stubborn in their belief and the Father uses all things for the good of those who love him. So when the opportunity came to the non-Jews they responded and received. If you find it hard to understand consider the earlier part of Romans:

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. (Romans 1:24)

There was no fighting with their stubbornness so he allowed them to fall deeper into what they desired. You must have experienced it with some people in your life. You faught so hard for them but in their stubbornness they were determined to follow some course of action. So you allowed them to go, hoping they would learn from the experience, willing to be there to help them pick up the pieces. That is a hard thing to do but when a heart is determined to take a specific course there is not much anyone can do. But I am jumping ahead into tomorrow's text.

For this morning understand that God has set aside a representation for himself in Israel. Most are lost to their stubborn way but just like with Elijah there are those chosen by grace to walk in the truth.

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