Another week in the Book of Romans proved to be a week of comfort, encouragement, and truth.
We began with reading Romans 9:1-13.
Here we see Paul, his heart broken, for those who are not in the family of God. We all need a heart like his. A heart broken and willing to pray for the lost.
It should also cause us to pause and wonder at the beauty of being included in God’s family. To have been chosen, and not because of anything we have done.
It isn’t our family, our church background, our church membership, or how we serve which in any way constitutes our salvation.
It is by and through faith in Christ alone.
I loved the reminder the study brings:
“Abraham was a pagan idolater when God called him by name to be the father of a nation and the one through whom the Messiah would come.”
We should marvel at some of the people God called and used in the Scriptures – Abraham, the pagan idolater; Jacob, the deceiver; Saul – murderer of the early Jesus followers.
God’s family, comprised of the least and the unlikely, including each of us. It should bring us to our knees in worship.
Verse 11 should make us pause: “God chooses people according to his own purposes; he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.” (NLT)
The study asks: In Romans 2:28-29 Paul addressed Jews that were counting on their circumcision for salvation, but Paul was clear that what matters is that we have been saved by grace, not what nationality or religious background we have. What are some things that people count on today for salvation?
As you think on all of this, may we also see the importance and need for sharing the gospel.
We moved onto Romans 9:19-23.
The reading was a blessing to me. It is most humbling, and grows my gratitude, to realize God chose me. He settled upon me. Do I understand it? Not really, for I know I am no better than the next woman.
As you read the passage may you find yourself urged, or pushed, to simply trust God for His ways are beyond our understanding and always perfect.
Sometimes we must come to simply trust the character of the One who has saved us. We admit we cannot understand and cling to the truth that God is good and all He does is good.
The study asks us to also read Isaiah 29:16 and Isaiah 45:9. There we see questions the “clay” (us) often asks the Potter (God).
We say these things and ask these questions from a finite and limited mind and perspective. Yet God invites us ask these questions, and enters into the conversation with us, to bring us to the point of surrender and trust.
He leads us to the realization He alone is the Potter, we are the clay; and we somehow find our peace in this.
When you read the two Isaiah portions, how does the imagery of the Potter and the clay help you to understand God’s sovereignty?
The reading brought to mind the lyrics to a familiar song:
“I am not skilled to understand
What God has willed, what God has planned
I only know at his right hand
Stands one who is my Savior
I take him at His word and deed
Christ died to save me: this I read
And in my heart I find a need
Of Him to be my Savior.”
(from My Savior My God by Aaron Shust)
We closed the week with reading Romans 10:1-13, and I can only say what a most powerful and amazing reading!
Paul sure drives home the point that we can do nothing on our own to earn salvation. Not a thing.
“Salvation is a gift that is lovingly bestowed on all that believe..”
(from Romans: The Gospel-Centered Life by The Daily Grace Co., page 68)
As I read through the reading, I wrote several equations in my margins:
- Zeal + Knowledge â‰ Salvation
- Good people + good actions â‰ Salvation
- Jesus alone = Salvation
While that seems so simple, and we seem to know it, we forget this. Faith in Christ alone brings salvation.
He [Paul] reminds us:
- “We do not need to go seeking after Jesus, because Jesus has already sought after us.”
- “All that we need is found in Jesus and He is the One that has come to rescue and redeem us.”
- “Jesus has come to save.”
I read these statements from the study book and immediately the old hymn “Victory in Jesus” started running through my head.
Let the power and beauty of these verses settle on your hearts and minds today:
“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:12-13, NASB)
The riches of God’s grace are abounding towards us, those who have called on His Name.
The study asks: Paul prays earnestly for the people of Israel that have not been saved. How does this challenge you about how you should think and pray for unbelievers? Share the first name of someone we can all join together in praying for.
Let’s believe for salvation, or a renewed faith for some.
We are chosen and
surrender to the truth of God’s sovereignty,
Jesus alone = Salvation