Saturday, February 1, 2014

"Mercy - for Israel and for YOU!"

Day #36:  Daily Bible Reading - February 2nd

Scripture Reading:  Romans 11 - 12 ...

God knows those who are His.  That is such a comforting truth, yet one overlooked by many.  Before you knew God, God knew you.  If you have believed in Jesus Christ it is because God chose you, gave you His Spirit, regenerated you, gave you the gift of faith, saved you by the blood of Christ and now empowers you to live for Him until you leave this world to be with Him in eternity.  That's what the Apostles' Creed teaches because that's what the Bible teaches.  God knows those who are His, and if you are one of His children, God knows YOU!

In Romans 11, Paul continues his explanation of God's relationship with Israel, the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  "Did God reject His people?  By no means!" (11:1).  God has always kept a remnant from Israel as His very own (11:5).  Paul had explained in Chapter 9, verse 6, that "not all who are descended from Israel are Israel."  God knows those who are His, from the descendants of Abraham AND from the Gentiles - those who are called and who have faith in the promises of God.  In fact, God had told the Apostles to take the Gospel "first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles" (1:16).

The Church today is made up of both Jews and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:11-22), yet God has a further plan for physical Israel.  The "root" of the Church is still physical Israel.  "They are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God's gift and His call are irrevocable" (11:28-29).  That is a huge comfort to us who believe in Jesus today.  Salvation is the gift of God and cannot be lost!  Which leads Paul to begin to apply the Gospel to life in Chapter 12.

All of what he says in the remainder of his letter to Romans is said in the context of Romans 12:1:  "In view of God's mercy ..."  God is worthy of your worship, of your service, of your life, because He has shown you mercy.  You and I deserve judgment, but God has chosen to show His children mercy.  The privilege of knowing God and loving Him cannot be explained to those who have not received His grace.  But to His children God gives gifts to be used for Him in the context of the Church, His body.  "In Christ, we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others" (12:5).

How can you say you have received God's mercy and been shown His grace and NOT serve the Lord with fervor and zeal (12:11)?  Evil is all around us, and even within us, but God empowers His children to overcome evil with good (12:21).  Life with Christ is life lived with purpose, life lived with love for God and love for others ... in view of God's mercy!  These chapters reveal again that everything points us to the God who rules over all things and who makes promises and keeps them.

TRUST Him!  LOVE Him!  Serve Him and find joy in being one of His children!!

"Oh Lord, my God, from You, to You and through You are all things, so that YOU will receive glory, honor and praise from your children, now and forever!  Thank you for making ME part of Your family through faith in Jesus.  I am YOURS!!  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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