Tue Aug 22-God Never Gives Up On Us

Romans 11:25-32 (CEB)

25 I don’t want you to be unaware of this secret, brothers and sisters. That way you won’t think too highly of yourselves. A part of Israel has become resistant until the full number of the Gentiles comes in. 26 In this way, all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

The deliverer will come from Zion.
    He will remove ungodly behavior from Jacob.
27 This is my covenant with them,
    when I take away their sins.

28 According to the gospel, they are enemies for your sake, but according to God’s choice, they are loved for the sake of their ancestors. 29 God’s gifts and calling can’t be taken back. 30 Once you were disobedient to God, but now you have mercy because they were disobedient. 31 In the same way, they have also been disobedient because of the mercy that you received, so now they can receive mercy too. 32 God has locked up all people in disobedience, in order to have mercy on all of them.

33 God’s riches, wisdom, and knowledge are so deep! They are as mysterious as his judgments, and they are as hard to track as his paths!

34 Who has known the Lord’s mind?
    Or who has been his mentor?
35 Or who has given him a gift
    and has been paid back by him?
36 All things are from him and through him and for him.
    May the glory be to him forever. Amen.


Our scripture makes several key points. First, God never gives up on us, even when we reject the gospel message. Second, Salvation is a gift; no one should boast that personal achievement warranted salvation. Third, Paul’s love for Israel translates into perpetual intercession. Whom do we love with such passion?

Going a bit deeper we see Israel appearing to have failed to receive salvation in Christ Jesus. How does God respond to those who reject Jesus? Does this open the door for a theology in which God replaces the Jewish people with those who are not Jewish? Paul never supports that position. Instead, he uses himself as proof that this is not the case. He is a Jew, a descendant of Abraham, who has accepted Christ as Lord and Savior showing it is possible for other Jews to find salvation. Paul represents the faithful remnant in Israel through whom other Israelites came to know Jesus Christ as Lord.

We see Paul continuing to teach the Gentiles that they are to live by faith in Jesus Christ without being arrogant about their salvation. Paul states that the reason that the Gentiles were now afforded the opportunity to experience salvation was because of Israel’s disobedience. It was an act of God’s mercy and grace, leaving no room for personal boasting.

Through bad choices or bad circumstances, people can wind up feeling distanced from and forgotten by God. The Methodist Revival Movement is said to have begun as a fervent campaign for the hearts, minds, bodies, and lives of the perishing multitudes in eighteenth-century England. That fervent campaign became a tangible demonstration of God’s love toward the marginalized.

The marginalized are with us today: the poor, the sick, the orphaned, the homeless. We can claim our Methodist heritage by speaking out to the hearts of those on the margins through our message and actions both personally and as a congregation. If you are interested in learning more, John Wesley’s Sermon 68 is based on Romans 11 and is, to me, a fascinating treatise on human nature during that time.


by Clarence Beverage

For Pondering & Prayer

God grants us irrevocable gifts and calling with the expectation that we will do something with them. Satisfaction with personal salvation is not enough. God and the world are looking for more. How do people who encounter us know that we are Christians? Do we actively demonstrate God’s love? Is it possible to see our faith in action? 

Prayer: Holy Lord God, creator, and architect of the universe, we want to believe that your love for us means you will go before us on life’s path and clear the way, but our experience does not always reflect that. We know you see a bigger picture than we do, and we are thankful for that and affirm your presence from times of despair to the pinnacles of faith and hope. Amen


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