Paul says that God has not cast away His people, the Israelites. ”For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, ‘Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life?’”
Remember after Elijah had the showdown on Mt. Carmel in our June 11th reading, Elijah thought he was alone (1 Kings 18-19). But God encouraged him by saying, “‘I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’ Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” Throughout the Story of the Bible there is always a remnant who walk by faith with the Lord and the same is true today.
Paul says, because of the Jews’ lack of faith, salvation came to the Gentiles in order to provoke the Jews to jealousy and save some of them. Then Paul warns the Gentiles not to boast in their salvation since it is all a gift from God by grace. He says that any Jew who puts their faith in Jesus Christ will also be saved…or as Paul puts it, they will be grafted into the olive tree.
Paul explains that Israel is still God’s chosen one. At this point in time the majority of Israelites have rejected Christ as their Savior resulting in the gospel being spread to the Gentiles. But there will be a day in the future that God will show mercy to Israel because “they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.” The Lord is going to keep His promise He made to Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
Paul exhorts the believers to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God…And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Paul tells them not to view themselves more highly than others within the body of Christ. “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them.” And use them with love and good works toward one another.
Paul explains that God is the one in charge of placing people in positions of authority. “Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves…Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake…Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”
We end the reading with Paul telling the Romans not to judge one another. “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.” “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ…So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.”
Tomorrow Paul concludes his letter to the Romans and begins a second letter to the Corinthians. Keep reading.