Read This Week: Romans 11
Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. – Romans 11:30-32 NIV
Mercy is a readily embraced word in our lives. It is often used in the contexts of our court systems and narratives of justice and punishment. The idea that we can receive compassion or forgiveness for something that we deserve a penalty for touches the deepest and most humane parts of us. Mercy is an expression that goes against our natural tendencies and makes for a powerful impact both when we give and receive it.
Mercy is the theme of Romans 11 as Paul builds off of the previous chapter and further asserts that God has a plan of salvation for the Jews and Gentiles. God has not totally rejected His chosen people, and in the same manner, has provided a way of salvation for everyone else. The Apostle cites the grace and mercy of God through Christ applied both to the Jews who rebelled against the message and to the Gentiles who heard the good news and received it because of Israel’s rebellion. He writes in verses 30-31:
Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you.
Paul shows that God’s plan of salvation means that Jews are saved in the same way that Gentiles are. All people of all races are redeemed through faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross. All receive mercy despite our disobedience and the desire to live our way. There is nothing more worthy about one group of people over another in God’s sight. He has the same purpose for us all. Verse 32 is a good summation of the gospel for the world: For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
We see that Jesus is at the center of God’s sovereign plan for mankind even as we tend to make ourselves the focus of God’s work. But His will does not revolve around us or one particular group. It is His gospel that reveals His holiness, righteousness, and goodness. He owes nothing to no one but out of his great love and mercy, gave Jesus for the salvation of everyone who believes.
Paul ends this chapter by quoting Isaiah 40 and praising God for His infinite power, wisdom, and perfect plan. We should have this same attitude and posture of worship to the Lord for His mercy on us when we didn’t and don’t deserve it. And may we, in recognizing the mercy and favor we’ve received from Almighty God, have mercy on others.
This is what God was saying to me in this chapter. I don’t need a lot of people to do great work. I often work through a small group like the group you are in. It pleases My heart that you are in this small group. Everyone of you make a difference. It is only by My grace that you can be grafted into My tree. My son Jesus Christ is the root that supports you. This relationship is of continual abiding. Perseverance is crucial. You have the potential to bear much fruit.
I will not give up on you and I always leave the path open to restoration. In your disobedience, I have shown you mercy. You can not free yourself from the prison of sin and self. It can only happen through Me and the great work of Jesus on your behalf. It is through Him that brings you salvation. It is My pleasure that you are created and you find your fulfillment in bringing Me glory and honor.
What this said to me is I matter to God. We all do. He wants His love and power to flow through me but I need to be an open vessel for Him to do that. I need to quit doing things my own way. He wants me to bear much fruit but I have to continue doing my part.
This is really good, Kathy. I appreciate your reminder and reflection that God’s will and power do not need human capacity and crowds to accomplish things on earth. He can and does work through individuals and small groups. We see this in the Scriptures from start to finish. The power of a limitless and boundless God fulfilling His will and purposes through limited individuals and groups. It also shows the awesome nature of His supremacy and sovereignty.
I pray that the Holy Spirit will protect our minds and hearts from the deception of it being necessary to have large numbers to do and accomplish things for God. As you said, we matter to God and He doesn’t regard the status or volume of people when it comes to using us for His glory on earth. I am encouraged by that.
Who do you think you are? If you love Jesus, you are a Child of God.
Many claim that they know Him, but are just acquaintances, others are just getting to know Him, and still others really have a life filled with God, The Holy Spirit, which, to me, means a intimate personal relationship with the True and Living God – Anything else is a mediocre or a cheap facsimile.
I want to inspire you to seek a close, personal relationship with Jesus and then, you will experience His peace, His presence, and all of the benefits, all of the blessings He has for your life.
God is saying: “I am calling out to you with my love, please respond to me and I will help you, right here, right now, where you are at. I love you so much, please respond to Me now.”
This is a really challenging word about authentic faith enabling an authentic life, Ken. I agree that if we truly have a relationship with the God of the universe through Jesus Christ that it will be evident and resonant in our lives. Children of God live like it.
I appreciated these lines: Many claim that they know Him, but are just acquaintances, others are just getting to know Him, and still, others really have a life filled with God, The Holy Spirit, which, to me, means an intimate personal relationship with the True and Living God – Anything else is a mediocre or a cheap facsimile.
After one has tasted God and life with Him, everything else does seem like a cheap imitation.
God has a purpose and great plans for your life. What a blessing it is to do life with God. We are so blessed with so many gifts from Father God! Most of all, the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, His grace, mercy, love, and the list goes on. He provided a way for us to be Him forever and ever. He loves us so much how can we not want to share what He has given us.
For me, I’m so thankful that I get to be a part of the Family of God and I get to spread the good news with others. I am so thankful to God for all of His blessings!
Thank you for your post, Heidi. This is the believer’s anthem to reflect on and proclaim the mercy, grace, and goodness of God. It should underwrite our thoughts, actions, behaviors, relationships, and everything we do.
We are, as you said, so blessed to receive His gift of Jesus Christ and a relationship with Him. It is a privilege to be in His family and experience His love and blessings every day!
God gave me a song this week from Romans 11:
We are children of the Lord, children of the Lord
We are children of the Lord
Learning, trusting, believing in our Lord
We are the branches in God’s tree
Growing, learning, loving and sharing life with each other
We have no fear
God is within us
When the broken branches fall
God will draft them in and make them become stronger
Learning, trusting, believing in our Lord
We are children of the Lord, children of the Lord.
We are God’s branches that are growing in His tree. Sometimes we fall but God will draft us back into the branch and we will be stronger and grow in the Lord’s way.
I love this, Alma as it reminds me of John 15:5 – I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.
I love the imagery and hope of this Scripture and how it applies to our lives as your lyrics depict as well. Staying connected to God is a promise to be fulfilled, grow strong, and bear fruit that will glorify Him. Your song also recalled a part of Jeremy Riddle’s called “Full Attention”:
Please keep my eyes
Fixed on You
Please root my heart
So deep in You
Keep me abiding
Keep me abiding
Keep me abiding
That I, that I may bear fruit