Posts tagged ‘Epistle to the Romans’

THE REPLACEMENTS

English: Olive Tree from Greece, Sithonia Бълг...

English: Olive Tree from Greece, Sithonia Български: Маслиново дърво от Ситония, Гърция (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One day there was a father who wanted to take his son fishing.  It was not just a fishing trip, but the fishing trip of a lifetime.  They would travel across country to join some of the most renown fishermen of all time.  They were to be supplied with the absolute best fishing gear that was available, and fish from the top-of-the-line fishing boat of that time.  More than that, they would fish in a location where they were guaranteed to catch the biggest and best fish with each and every cast.  They would stay in a room that was designed for the comfort of kings, and eat food they could not even dream of at home.  

 

The boy was told that all he had to do to go on this trip was complete his chores.  But the boy refused.  He had all the details ahead of time, knew exactly what he would be missing out on, but he wanted to do what he wanted to do before they left.  He didn’t want to carry out the garbage and sweep the basement floor.  He did want to play on his computer game.  Finally, after repeated warnings, his father gave up.  Instead of taking his son on this fantastic trip, he took a poor, destitute little boy from the other side of the tracks.  The father and this boy had a wonderful time!!  They caught fish after fish after fish, and ate food that was to die for.  As a bonus for his willingness to go along, the boy received an extra special reward when they returned home…something the son had wanted badly for a very long time, a new bike.  The shiniest, most expensive, with all the latest features, new bike.  The little boy was brought into the father’s home to live, and was even given the son’s bedroom.  The son was told to sleep in the loft of the garage.  Now the son was jealous.  Now he wanted to go fishing, but it was too late.  The trip was over.  He would have to wait for a very long time to have this opportunity again.

 

This post has a few more verses than normal, so I won’t write them all out.  I encourage you to pull out your Bible and read the following on your own before continuing with the post.

 

 Romans 11:4-7; 11:12; 11:13; 11:17-26; Romans 12:1: Romans 12:11.

 

Paul begins chapter 11 by talking directly to the Jewish people.  The gist is that the Jews are God’s people.  But they disobeyed God.  They tried to make themselves right with God by their actions, by obeying the Law.  They were unable to do this because only faith can accomplish that.  When Jesus came, they were given the opportunity to be made right by faith, but they rejected the opportunity.  So God made their hearts hard and stubborn.  But not all of them.  A remnant was chosen to believe and receive, and share the Good News.  As a result, the world (the Gentiles) received a rich blessing because God turned His attention towards us.

 

In chapter 11:13 Paul changes his focus.  Okay, now for you Gentiles, here is what I have to say.  He talks about Israel being an Olive tree…not just any olive tree.  A good one.  One that had been planted, nourished, cared for.  It was strong and healthy.  But some branches were broken off.  Those Jews who’s hearts had been hardened were removed from the base tree.  They no longer received the benefits of the caretaker.  Instead, branches from a wild olive tree (the Gentiles), that just happened to grow where a seed had fallen, were grafted into the good tree.  These new wild branches began to receive the care and nourishment that originally belonged to the broken branches.  It was accepted as part of the tree.  This was done to make the broken branches jealous and create a desire to return to the tree (vs. 14).  The grafted Gentile branches can stay as long as they remain faithful to the tree’s caretaker.  If not, they will be broken off.  The broken Jewish branches can be returned to the tree if they become faithful to the caretaker once again.

 

In English:-)  As Gentiles, we are receiving the blessings of God as replacements for His chosen people, the Jews.  We know that already.  A couple of things that stand out.

   1.  God has used us to make the Jewish people jealous in order to illicit a change of heart on their part.  (Don’t worry, He still loves us, and has adopted us as His own.)

   2.  Just as the Jewish people (as a nation) were cut off from God because of their disobedience and hardened, stubborn hearts, so the Gentiles can, and will be, cut off for the same reasons.

 

Now, what God has revealed to me in this.

   1.  The Jewish people are not jealous now.  They continue to be blinded and not see the blessings that we receive in their stead.

   2.  The Gentiles, as a people, are moving further and further away from God.  Their hearts are being hardened and made stubborn.  And God will break them off from Him.  But just as God chose a remnant of Jews to remain faithful, God has chosen a remnant of Gentiles who will be faithful and obedient to Him.

   3.  When Christ returns to rapture His church, the remnant of faithful Gentiles, they will receive the reward that was once intended for the Jews…and the Jews’ eyes will be opened.  Then the Jews will be jealous and will turn their hearts back to God, and God will save them with Jesus’ second coming to earth, and the establishment of His kingdom.

 

Final thoughts.  We, as Gentiles, the adopted, the replacements, receive God’s love and blessings only by His infinite grace!  As a result, our gratitude should be intense!  We have no right to be here, in His shadow.  This place does not belong to us, but we are here because He took mercy on us and has given us beggars the king’s portion.  When Paul says in chapter 12:1 that we should offer ourselves as living sacrifices, and be pleasing to God, and in 12:11 that we should not be lazy, but work hard and serve God with all our hearts, he wasn’t speaking lightly.  Our gratitude should pour out in everything we do, think, say, are.  How deep is the grace of the God of the Jews, who lifted us out of the filthy streets to give us a home in His kingdom!  Do NOT take that for granted!  Do not judge the Jewish people, and think we are better than they, because it is only by God’s grace that we are here at all.  Thank you Gracious God!!!  May our hearts remain true to You forever and ever!!!!

Peace Treaty With God: The Way To Salvation

[This is the gospel message, the plan of salvation.  Please share so others may receive the word of the Lord.]

Here are the plain facts.  We, all of humanity, are sinners.  We start our lives in direct opposition to God.

Romans 3:10-12 (NCV) – “There is no one who always does what is right, not even one.  There is no one who understands, there is no one who looks to God for help.  All have turned away.  Together, everyone has become useless.  There is no one who does anything good; there is not even one.”

It is God versus man.  God versus evil…yes, I said evil.  What is not good is bad, sinful, evil.  As sinful people, we naturally turn away from God.  We do not desire to do good.  But we do know what is right and what is wrong.  God gave each of us a conscience to know this.  Romans 2:15 – “They show that in their hearts they know what is right and wrong, just as the law commands.  And they show this by their consciences.  Sometimes their thoughts tell them they did wrong, and sometimes their thoughts tell them they did right.”

He also gave us the Law, the Ten Commandments.  You’ve heard of them.  They are intended to show us the things that we do wrong.  They are a standard.  A comparison.  Look at your life.  How does it stack up against the Ten Commandments?  When you see the places where you miss the mark, that is proof positive that you are a sinner.  (Romans 3:20 – “No one can be made right with God by following the law.  The law only shows us our sin.”)

The law shows us that we are sinful.  We are not for God, so we must be against God.  In essence, we are at war against God.  Since God is God, He is invincible.  There is no way possible for us to defeat Him.  You cannot stand against Him and have victory.  In the end, everyone will stand before Him to be judged.  Romans 2: 5b-6 – “On that day everyone will see God’s right judgments.  God will reward or punish every person for what that person has done.”

How do we go from being punished by God to being rewarded by God?  Can we do that on our own?  No.  We just don’t have it in us.  It is impossible.  Go back to Romans 3:20 – “No one can be made right with God by following the law.”  So then what?  Is it hopeless?  Are we doomed?  No.  But we are at the mercy of our enemy…God.  Thankfully He is a merciful God.  And because He loves us, even though we have never deserved that love, He has provided a way to become right with Him.  God has offered us a peace treaty.  Romans 3:22-25 – “God makes people right with himself through their faith in Jesus Christ.  This is true for all who believe in Christ, because all people are the same:  All have sinned and are not good enough for God’s glory, and all need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift.  They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ.  God gave him as a way to forgive sin through faith in the blood of Jesus’ death.  This showed that God always does what is right and fair.”  The peace treaty came in the form of Jesus Christ, who died as our punishment, for our sin, but was raised to life again to conquer sin and death.  The only concession you need to make is to admit that you are sinful.  Accept the treaty by faith.  That is the hardest part.  It is a free gift from God.  But to believe that God is real, that Jesus is real and He is God’s Son, and that He actually gave up His life for you, is sometimes hard to do.  It is the only way, though.  You just have to believe.  Accept the peace treaty, and become an ally of God.  No longer an enemy, but a friend.  He can be on your side, or rather, you can be on His.

Romans 4: 6-8 – “David said the same thing.  He said that people are truly blessed when God, without paying attention to good deeds, makes people right with himself.  ‘Happy are they whose sins are forgiven, whose wrongs are pardoned.  Happy is the person whom the Lord does not consider guilty.’

IF YOU ARE READY TO SIGN THE PEACE TREATY GOD HAS OFFERED TO YOU, HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT DOING THAT?  This next step can be intimidating, although there is no reason for it to be so.  Remember, God loves you so much, and He has been waiting all your life to hear from you.  You just need to begin talking to Him…this is called prayer.  But to get you started, I offer the following prayer for you.  You may choose to read it as your own prayer to God, or you may read it and then formulate your own.  It is a starting point.

Dear God,
I know that I am a sinner, and that I cannot do what is right on my own.  The only way to be right with You, and to receive your reward, is to believe in You, and what Jesus did for me.  I want to be right with You, God.  Please forgive my sins, and accept my faith in You.  Please teach me more about who You are.  Thank you God, for Your love, and Your mercy.
Amen.

If you have prayed this prayer, welcome to the family of God!  You may be wondering what to do next.  The most phenomenal thing has happened to you!  The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit if God lives inside of those who believe in Him.  He will guide you as you seek to grow closer to God, and to learn more about Him.  I encourage you to find a church that teaches from the Bible.  Bring a Bible with you when you go.  Read what is being taught.  Ask God to show you the truth.  If a church is not teaching from the Bible, I encourage you to look to another one.

Be patient.  It takes time for God to make changes in your life.  But you will see them, and you will be blessed.

Finally, if you have prayed this prayer, please let me know through this blog.  I would love to pray for you, and I am sure other readers of this blog would pray for you as well.  God bless you!!

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