Romans 11:1-24; 1 Samuel 20; Psalm 65
One of the popular themes in literature used in novels today is survival after the apocalypse. Post-apocalyptical literature includes a group of people who survive the war, most likely nuclear, or the great natural event that destroys all life on earth except for the remnant. People crawl out of their caves and hiding places and join with the others who have survived the cataclysm. In some cases, the book is hopeful as the survivors overcome all the challenges and begin building a brave new world. In other books, you can see the despair of the author as the challenges become too great and the group splinters from outside attacks or internal problems and all hope is lost. The way an author writes such a book tells us a lot about their personality. The books like that we prefer to read tell us a lot about our personalities as well. Are you optimistic about life? or do you foresee doom and gloom for all of humanity?
Elijah was a great prophet and was prophesied as the forerunner of the Messiah, but he had a few problems. After hiding from King Ahab, God told him to show himself to the King. He decided to let God know a few things God didn’t know, including the fact that he alone followed God. God reminded Elijah that He had already dealt with that issue by protecting 7000 people who were faithful to Him. This remnant would lead Israel in the future. Paul used that story to illustrate that even though many Jews had rejected Jesus, God wouldn’t forget His chosen people. Jews would be saved, but only by grace – just like the Gentiles. “So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” (Romans 11:5-6)
As you read the book of Romans you can’t help but be struck by Paul’s love for the Jewish people. Just a quick note here: Anti-Semitism is not a Christian value. Of course, neither is hate. Back to the point, Paul talked about being willing to give up his own salvation if it meant that God would save all the Jewish people. In other words, he was willing to go to hell to see the Jews saved. At this point, he reminded his readers that story about Elijah and told people that God would not give up on His chosen people. He would preserve a remnant. The remnant would not be chosen by any process other than grace. That’s how God works with us in these days: grace. These Jews will not be selected because they followed the law. They will be given the grace of God. As Paul continued, he reminded the Gentiles that this is the same way that God deals with us.
I’ve always wondered about people who think they can be good enough to get into heaven because they followed the law. If that could happen, I would almost hate to see them in Heaven. I can just imagine, sitting in the heavenly coffee shop talking with them and them saying, “Yep, I got here by following the law and obeying all the commandments. How’d you get here?” Me: “I needed God’s grace.” Him, after looking me over: “Yeah, it figures.” Think about it: How would you react to someone like that? I might need a lot more grace after my response to that. I’d probably need more grace given to me in heaven than I ever received on earth. Fortunately, that’s not how it works. We all gain a relationship with God in the same way – through His grace because of the death of Jesus on the cross. We can’t be good enough on our own. His grace is offered to all people. The only question is, “will you accept His grace?” The joy of our relationship with God begins the day we turn to Him. We don’t wait for our trip to Heaven to experience joy, it begins today because of the grace of God.
Lord, thank You for Your grace. You have given me forgiveness through the death of Jesus on the cross. Your grace has allowed me to fellowship with You – help me to show others the joy of life with You.