Thursday 21 April 2016

Bible Book:

“I am speaking the truth in Christ ...” (v. 1)

Romans 9:1-5 Thursday 21 April 2016

Psalm: Psalm 74:13-23


Today's passage brings a sudden change of tone from that whichhas gone before as Paul, having jubilantly proclaimed that nothing"will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesusour Lord" (Romans 8:39), begins a section that deals withthe question of Israel's failure and unbelief. We discover a Paulwho is full of deep and genuine grief for Israel, and who wouldgive his own life, if he could, in order to save them. Paul is atpains to stress his sincerity, his concern flowing from his beliefand relationship in and through Jesus. The words "in Christ" arethought, here, to indicate someone who takes their relationshipwith Christ seriously and through whom Christ acts. Paul's anguishover Israel flows from his love and commitment to Christ.

Whilst Paul understands that the Israelites are currentlyoutside of God's salvation through Christ, he also believes thatGod has not yet finished relating to them. After all, God has had aspecial relationship with the Israelites over a long period oftime. Verses 4 and 5 describe the divine favour that has been shownacross the years, and indicate the faithfulness of God to theseparticular people. We might wonder, then, whether Paul's concern isnot just pastoral but theological. What of God's past promises nowthat a new relationship is possible through Christ? Will God stillbe faithful to a people who do not recognise what has beenaccomplished in Jesus? Paul understands that God will always befaithful (Romans9:6-29), and despite the unfaithfulness of the Israelites andtheir rejection of Christ (Romans9:30 - 10:21), God will never reject them and has not forgottenthem (Romans 11). God's love and faithfulness is notreally in doubt.

To Ponder

  • Are there people whom you care about who you worry might nothave the assurance of God's salvation? Take some time to offerthem, and your concerns, to God in prayer.
  • In what ways are you able to witness to the faithfulness ofGod?
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