Archive for December 22nd, 2010

Romans 11

Romans 11 makes some important points about our salvation.  Paul reminds us that salvation was first offered to the Children of God and they refused it.  Going way back to the time of Elijah when it seemed like no one was left to follow God we find that “there is a remnant, chosen by grace”.  God has always had a special place for those He chose as His own.  Paul reviews the history of their failure to see that light and love and how they have missed His grace as a result.  Paul goes on to make a very important point about grace – pay attention to this: “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace”.  So how much of our salvation is based on works?  NONE.  Nada, not one iota, nothing at all.  Salvation is a gift of God.  Period.  It does not depend on anything I do except my acceptance.  It is not based on how good I am or how well I follow the 10 commandments.  It is totally based on grace – which is the sacrifice and shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross.  That is the whole ballgame.

So does it matter that I live in obedience to the 10 commandments and God’s other commands in scripture?  Absolutely it does.  Obedience is a result of a relationship with Jesus.  It comes as an outgrowth of our salvation.  Works are the outcome.  They flow alongside a desire to walk in God’s way once we give our life to Christ.  The result of that obedience manifests itself in how life goes here on earth, and what eternity will look like once we die.  Works don’t determine where we spend eternity – grace and belief or disbelief in Jesus determines the where.  But obedience and living for God certainly will impact how that life here and forever turn out.  Obedience does matter.  How we live will make a difference – and not only for us – but for those in our patch too.

Paul therefore reminds us “do not become proud, but stand in awe”.  Salvation is not your idea, not something you achieve or even contribute towards.  It is all God done God’s way and in God’s time.  It has nothing that should in any way make us feel proud. In fact we should feel very humbled that God loved us enough to send His Son for us even when we didn’t deserve it – as sinners.  We should be in awe of that kind of love.  But the reality is that God has two sides and we need to pay attention to that: “Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off”.  There is a very different picture for those who reject Christ and don’t make Him Lord and Savior.  Their future is very dark and bleak.  It is hard for our minds to get around that reality that God who loved us so much and sent Jesus to fix our sin problem also will punish people for eternity if they don’t make the decision to accept His Son.  That is a difficult reality – especially when we begin to think of those in our patch who have not yet made a decision for Jesus.  It is the line in the sand my friends.  There is no getting around it.  You are, or you are not, a Christ Follower.  That does determine your eternity.  How should we think of God?  Paul says it this way: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever”.  He is the Creator.  He is in control.  He is the center of the universe.  He alone is God.  We need to give Him all the glory!

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