February 3rd, 2007
The enormous number of choices which we face in our lives give us the illusion that we are in charge of our lives. The problem is that we’re not in charge at all. Everyone’s life is spiralling out of control and will end in death. Whether you’re suave and sophisticated or frumpy and dowdy in your choices, you still end up dead, and there’s nothing you can do about it, because in spite of what the advertisers tell you you’re not really the one making the choices. The only way you can escape this reality is if the person who controls the universe chooses you and thereby gives meaning and a purpose to your life.
Paul’s Letter to the Romans — Chapter 9
9:1 I tell the truth in Christ. I am not lying, and my conscience supports it in the Holy Spirit, 9:2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing pain in my heart. 9:3 I wish that I myself was condemned and separated from Christ in place of my people, my blood relatives 9:4 who are Israelites. Adoption as God’s children belongs to them, as do the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises. 9:5 The patriarchs belong to them, and a blood descendant of them is Christ, God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
9:6 But it is not as if the word of God has come to nothing. Not everyone descended from Israel belongs to Israel, 9:7 and not all of Abraham’s descendants are his children. Instead, “It is through Isaac that your descendants will be known.” 9:8 That is, it is not the blood descendants who are children of God, but the children of the promise who are regarded as descendants. 9:9 This is what the promise said: “At this time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” 9:10 Moreover, a similar thing happened when Rebecca conceived children by our ancestor Isaac. 9:11 Before they were born, and before they had done anything good or bad, 9:12 she was told, “The elder will serve the younger.” This happened so that God’s choice and purpose would prevail, not according to our actions, but to his call. 9:13 It is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
9:14 So can we say that God is unrighteous? Certainly not! 9:15 He told Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 9:16 So it depends not on someone wanting it or someone running after it, but on God who has mercy. 9:17 The scripture says to Pharaoh, “The reason I made you prominent was so that I could show my power, and so that my name would be spoken about all over the earth.” 9:18 So he has mercy on whoever he wants, and he causes whoever he wants to become obstinate. 9:19 You might ask, “Why does he still find fault? Who can oppose his wishes?” 9:20 But who are you, a human, to argue against God? Can something which has been made say to the person who made it, “Why did you make me like this?” 9:21 Doesn’t the potter have a right to use the same lump of clay to make a superior item and an inferior item? 9:22 What if God, wanting to show his wrath and make his power known, has patiently endured the objects of wrath that are made for destruction, 9:23 and what if he has done so to reveal the riches of his glory for the objects of his mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory, 9:24 us, whom he has called, not from Jews only, but also from Gentiles? 9:25 As he predicted through Hosea, “I will call ‘my people’ those who were not my people, and I will call her ‘beloved’ who was not beloved,” 9:26 and, “In the same place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘children of the living God.'”
9:27 Isaiah proclaims concerning Israel, “Even if the number of the children of Israel are like the sand of the sea, only the remnant will be saved, 9:28 because the Lord will finish the work on the earth quickly and decisively.” 9:29 As Isaiah had previously predicted, “Unless the Lord of Hosts had left us some descendants, we would have become like Sodom, and would have been made like Gomorrah.”
9:30 So what can we say? The Gentiles, who didn’t pursue righteousness, achieved righteousness, a righteousness which comes by faith, 9:31 but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, failed to arrive at the law of righteousness. 9:32 Why? Because they didn’t seek it by faith, but by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 9:33 just as it was predicted, “See, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and a rock of offense; and no one who believes in him will be disappointed.”
Entry Filed under: Hope