Hey you all! So I need to admit something…I was supposed to have had finished this Romans study series back in the spring…. I got a little side tracked! Yet, here I am! Excited about the words God provided for me to type and for your eyes to read intently. This chapter is a full one, so brace yourselves. It is also a deep root chapter about His deep love for us, and Paul’s prime example of “love thy neighbor more than yourself.” So, let us get started then 🙂
The opening of Romans 9 is a soul jerker for sure. We see instantly Paul’s deep sorrow and grief for the people of Israel. So many (leading up to modern day) have shunned God’s name and have chose to live life according to their beliefs and pleasures. Paul takes his grief, however, to a higher, rarer level. He goes on to say in verse 3, “I would be willing to be forever cursed — cut off from Christ! –if that would save them.” (NLT). Let’s all catch our breath here for a second….Paul stated, with full confidence and integrity, that He would have been WILLING to separate Himself from Heaven and Jesus, in order for someone else to have a chance to be born again. I cannot even fathom those words, it left me speechless. We all know of course that the only one who can truly save in the act of death, or crucifixion, is of course Jesus Christ Himself. However, what we are seeing here is a true lover and believer in Jesus extending His love with the act of selflessness. That leaves us the question for us who are active in The Way: “Are you willing to sacrifice your time, money, effort, and even your own faith to see someone come to know Jesus?”
Now, going deeper into this chapter, we begin to understand our true relationship identity in Christ. The Jews viewed God’s choosing of Israel as adoption. They (and we) are undeserving of such kindness and mercy, yet God carried through and chose to take us in as His own children. The Old Testament shows God’s beautiful promises for us through Abraham. His word proved faithful for him and his descendants. After Jesus’ death, His blood ran over that covenant, which was the key to the pathway of God. We are ALL his descendants. (Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.” Galatians 3:7 NLT) The importance in this is, yes God did choose the timeline to Jesus through the lineage of Issac (Sarah’s son) and not Ishmael (Hagar’s son), however, God does not look at good or bad, He looks at those who prove faithful to Him. God has the choice to choose whomever He wills. The doctrine of God’s choosing is based on His mercy and kindness, not of our merit.
The very last part of this chapter exemplifies what is going on today.
“I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that causes people to stumble, and a rock that makes them fall. But anyone who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” (Romans 9:33 NLT)
The “rock’ that is placed here is referring to our stonemason, Jesus Christ. The Jews chose not to believe in Him because they felt like He did not exceed their expectations as the Messiah. This is still going on now… many, including myself at times, stumble again and again over Jesus because let’s all admit, faith does not make logical sense. That’s it though… it is not supposed to. We think we are supposed to be perfectionists and strive to do good deeds, when in spirituality, God does not look at that. He looks at the heart, and what its intentions are to serve Him selflessly and humbly. He loves us for our brokenness and weaknesses. Many will not partake on this calling, but all will fall before the Heavenly Throne when He comes back to take His children home.