Discerning True Israel!
Scripture reading for July 25th: Romans 9:1-24
“For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” (Romans 9:3-5) The apostle Paul had great concern for his own countrymen. They had great privileges through being part of Israel and their heritage through Abraham.
But Paul recognized that it was not just a blood tie that made a person part of the true Israel. “For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” (Romans 8:6-7) (Genesis 25:23) God sovereignly chose Isaac through election as the one to carry the blessing over Ishmael.
God has infinite knowledge of what was, what is, and what will be. From this knowledge He is capable of choosing who He will use and will fulfill His purposes. He is the ‘Potter’ and we are the ‘clay’. (Romans 9:20-21) We must trust by faith that God knows what He is doing.
Because of sin, we were all objects of God’s wrath. How come God shows mercy on some and not others? Paul offers a possible answer by posing two questions: “What if God, choosing to show His wrath and make His power known, bore with great patience the objects of His wrath–prepared for destruction? What if He did this to make the riches of His glory know to the objects of His mercy, whom He prepared in advance for glory–even us, whom He also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?” (Romans 9:22-24) God’s glory is related to His mercy. He has shown great mercy to those who have not repented and embraced Christ, particularly the Jews who were blinded. This opened the door for both Jew and Gentile to find God’s mercy! Praise the Lord for God’s patience towards us!