Thursday, February 1, 2018

Year 8, Day 32: Romans 9

Theological Commentary: Click Here

Romans 9 contains some of my favorite verses.  As a Biblical scholar, the reason why it is some of my favorite verses is because it is challenging.  In this chapter, Paul steps out on a limb and says some things that will hard for his own people to hear.  In fact, Paul is willing to sacrifice standing for the truth.  That’s admirable.

The reality is that it is not the physical decedents of Abraham that are God’s children but the spiritual ones.  To say it another way, it is not the genetic seed but the spiritual seed who carry on God’s promise.  It is not the literal heirs to Abraham but the spiritual heirs to Abraham who live in God’s promise.

Paul then goes on to quote the Hebrew Scriptures several times with words like “I will call those who are note me people ‘my people’” and those who are “not my people will become children of the living God.”  “Only the remnant will be saved.”

Think about how these words would sound to a traditionally Jewish audience.  Here we have Paul saying that the group of people who trust in their genealogy have placed their trust in the wrong thing!  It isn’t their genealogical connection that is important at all!  If anything, it is their genealogical connection that puts them in proximity to the Law, which merely points us to why we need Christ’s sacrifice for us.

I believe this to be a good lesson for all of us.  Every single one of us have those moments where we think we have God figured out.  We have moments where we believe we know everything God asks of us.  It is in those moments that we are in great peril.  We will never have God figured out.  We may have a belief that we think we know where God is leading us.  We should absolutely act upon those beliefs.  But far be it from us to claim that we know the mind of God with absolute certainty!

After all, did Paul know where God was leading him on the way to Damascus or even later in life when on his way to Rome?  Did Peter know where God was leading him when he told him to come out on the water?  Did John the Baptizer know the kind of death the he would face when being called out into the wilderness?  We follow in faith, absolutely!  But we cannot know.

That’s what I love about Paul’s chapter here.  Paul isn’t afraid to speak the truth and challenge the status quo.  Our confidence isn’t in who we are.  Our confidence is in who God is and what He has done for us.  Our confidence is in who God is and the relationship that He has extended to us.