Psalm 79-80 Romans 11:1-18
“And if he chose them by grace, it is not for the things they have done. If they could be made God’s people by what they did, God’s gift of grace would not really be a gift.” (Romans 11:6 NCV)
Paul makes it clear that God has not rejected His people, it’s that they’ve rejected Him. They’ve been so engrossed in following the Law to discover God’s will that when God the Son showed up on earth, they rejected Him. He used the example of Elijah, though, to remind any Jewish Christian that they were not alone. Just as He’d preserved a remnant then, He’d protected a remnant and showed His grace to them. Paul’s message is clear, though, that whatever they may have thought they needed to do, it was to no avail: they were chosen by His grace. The only way to have a relationship with God is by His grace. If anyone could force God to have a relationship with them because they followed the Law, everyone should be held to those standards and grace, instead of being a gift from God, would be an act of pity.
One of the clichés that Christians share is that all the ground at the foot of the cross is level. That axiom confuses some people. The meaning, though, should be clear: everyone meets God in the same way. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Mother Theresa or a David Berkowitz. (He was the Son of Sam killer in New York City in the late 1970’s who later accepted Christ.) Entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven comes the same way for all: through the grace of God. Entering into God’s presence through His grace doesn’t preclude anyone from doing good things. Let’s be honest: if you have received God’s grace and if the Holy Spirit is living in you, you’ll begin to see others as God sees them and you’ll want to show them God’s grace as well. In the judgment parable of the sheep and the goats Jesus reminded us that those who are connected to Him will meet the needs of others, and in so doing care for Him. Meanwhile, those who would neglect others in their search for Jesus reveal their lack of connection. It’s not the works that produce salvation, though; it’s the salvation and the development of our relationship with Him that produces a desire to care for others. God’s gift of grace brings us into a relationship with Him and molds us into becoming like Him.
Lord, thank You for Your grace. Let people see my works and realize that I am who I am because of You. Let me never bring shame to Your name or Your reputation by what I do.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved