Thursday 26 April 2018

Bible Book:

“I have great sorrow and anguish in my heart.” (v. 2)

Romans 9:1-5 Thursday 26 April 2018

Psalm: Psalm 47


In today’s passage from Romans Paul grapples with what was for him an excruciating problem: why had the great majority of his own people, the Jews, not believed in Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ? It helps us to understand what’s happening if we imagine Paul pacing up and down the room, dictating to a harassed scribe, as his mind darts around the Hebrew scriptures and the salvation history of Israel, trying to make sense of it.

It’s instructive to read the last few verses of chapter 8 then go straight on into chapter 9. It feels like the curtain fell on a triumphal finale to the first act but now it has risen for a darker second. Where does all the grandeur of chapter 8 leave us when most of one’s compatriots have not received the good news? This is as sharp a question for 21st-century Christians as it was for Paul in the first century AD.

His great sorrow tests his faith, and he sacrificially wishes that his people might be saved even were it at the personal cost of by his own damnation. He is simply perplexed at the shocking paradox of God’s chosen people Israel being lost just at the point where others, previously outside, are finding salvation through faith in Christ. Jews who don’t believe in Jesus don’t seem to fit into the salvation story Paul is telling. This cannot surely be?

All the good things of God which have gone before belong to the Jews. Paul finds some comfort in rehearsing these things, even realising that God’s original choice of Israel had at least some similarity with the adoption he now proclaims in Christ.

To Ponder

  • You will almost certainly have friends and family who are not believing Christians. Are they lost eternally if they don’t turn to Christ?
  • Take time to pray for them. How might you be a witness to the love of Christ for them?
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