Opening up God's mercy to all peoples of the world
There was a time before Jesus Christ came to the earth when God saw fit to select one nation for Himself to whom He would show mercy. That nations was of course Israel and grew from the basis of the faith of Abraham.
All the other nations of the time were under condemnation for their sins against Gos were great. We saw in particular how the nations of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of the extent and magnitude of their sin.
But they were not the only such nation who were wanton against God. And in later days Israel itself fell from Gods grace many times, and suffered judgment for their sins until they repented and turned back to Him.
In this and the previous verses of Romans 9 we see Paul discussing God’s process and purpose of election. He shows us that God selects and chooses people to do certain things and he explains that God raises some people up for both good and evil.
Here we see Paul speak of how God raised up Pharaoh in order to show the power of God. Pharaoh was a powerful man who had enslaved the Israelites and it required the power of God with many signs and wonders before he would let them leave Egypt. And even then Pharaoh chased after them to bring them back, and the Egyptians were lost in the Red Sea when God allowed the Israelites to pass through but closed the waters over the Egyptian pursuers so that they were drowned.
We know also that Jesus selected Judas Iscariot as one of the twelve for the very purpose of being the betrayer. He knew from the start that Judas would betray him and although Judas put on a good front to fool the other disciples, he did not fool Jesus for one moment.
What we learn then in this section of Romans 9 is that it is not up to us as to how a person will turn out but it is up to the will of God.
When Abraham walked the earth he lived a righteous life. He chose to follow the ways of God and he believed that God could do anything. He understood that when God was testing him by asking that he offer his son Isaac, through whom he had been told by God that his descendants would be named, Abraham knew that God could raise Isaac from the dead if needs be.
Children of Faith
Abraham was defined by his faith. We are reminded in scripture in many places that Abraham was a man of great faith. Indeed his faith was so strong and his belief in God’s word that his faith was reckoned to him as righteousness and he was called the friend of God.
And God established Abraham in his faith for God had a plan. His plan was to enable all of mankind to come to Him through faith like Abraham so that everyone would be able to become children of God by faith, and so be children of faith.
This section of scripture looks at the issue of choices. It considers the choices God made and the choices that people made in biblical times, which carry through to today.
Seeking the path to life? Choose Christ.
God chose Israel to be His chosen people and in other places He calls Israel the “Apple of my eye”. It was God's love for Abraham Isaac and Jacob that led to his selection of Israel as His chosen people.
The people rebelled. Constantly. They grew proud and arrogant in their selection as God's people and believed they were invincible, better than all others and so they lost the favor of God for a time. Not for all time, but long enough that a new way could be established and the promise of salvation become available to all people, not just the physical descendants of Abraham.
We are more than conquerors through Chris Jesus our Lord. That is what this scripture says and is telling us. We have the victory in and through Jesus Christ and we have conquered all things in Him.
More than conquerors in Jesus Christ
So I can understand what it is to be a conqueror in Jesus Christ, but what does it mean to be MORE than conquerors? Isn't it enough just to be a conqueror? Isn't it enough just to be victorious? What does it mean then to be MORE than a conqueror and what are the implications of this statement to us?
There are three aspects of this that come to mind as I consider these things. First, how it is we have conquered in Jesus Christ. Second, what it is we have conquered in Jesus Christ. And finally what it means to be MORE than conquerors including the implications of this description for our life as we walk forward. So let us look at these things and consider what the mean.
The differences between the followers of the lord and those who do not are strongly seen and felt in these two verses.
Like sheep led to slaughter
When it all boils down the major differences are based upon faith, attitude and priorities. The sum of those things leads the followers of Christ into a position that many in the world would consider desperate and untenable. It is not until a person comes to Christ that they see the power and the value in knowing and being known by God.
But Christians are not held in high regard by the rest of the world. In fact they are considered the lowest of all and hated by many. As this verse says,
As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
Let us consider why this is so
This is perhaps one of the most powerful messages of the new covenant and yet so often either not known, not employed or forgotten by Christians. This is a message we need to remember and employ as we walk with the Lord day by day.
It is God who justifies. Who can condemn?
Listen to this. Romans 8 opens with the words, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” The problem all mankind faces is that they do have a sense of morality and of what is right and wrong. Even the most evil people in the world have line that they believe should not be crossed, which is where their sense of morality lays.
But it is when each of us crosses that line of morality we bring ourselves under condemnation, either from God, other people or worst of all, we condemn ourselves. And condemnation from whatever source is judgement whether we are judged by others, by God or by ourselves.
But this scripture gives us reason to be comforted for it gives us hope.
When I was a little kid there were times when I wished I had an older brother who would step in and protect in those situations I would get into scrapes with other kids. It didn’t happen often but sometimes I used to wish I could say, “I’m getting my big brother!” And scare the nasty kids away.
God…a better protector than your big brother
But as I was the eldest child in the family…it never happened. I had to fight my own battles and sort out my own issues. I had to work out how to placate my childhood opponents, and sometimes it didn’t work and I got my fair share of scrapes. Such is life.
But now, as these scriptures testify, I have that “big brother” I always wanted who will stand in and help me. And He will do much, much more so let’s look at what the promise is in these couple of verses.
Every now and then I come across some scripture that leaves me stumped, and the question of predestination is one of those.
Here in Romans 8 is one such scripture. This verse is quoted by the proponents of predestination as proof positive that this is the way God chooses people to be saved.
For those who are not familiar with the concept of predestination, the doctrine basically suggests that everyone has already been predestined as to who will or will not be saved and that God will call those people and not the rest.
There are various camps between the proponents of this doctrine and slightly different shades or degrees to which they believe things are predetermined, but this is the essence in a nutshell.
My position is…
There are many promises in them bible, both to those who love the Lord and also to those who do not. Those who choose to reject Jesus Christ and reject God have the promise that a day of reckoning awaits when they will learn and earn the results of their folly. Judgement awaits, not just in the end time when everyone will stand before God and give account but as they live and do wicked things they will be judged and sentenced day by day.
God has a plan and a promise to work with you for your good
However, in this scripture we see one of the greatest promises given to those people who choose to follow Jesus Christ and who listen and learn the things of God. This verse gives us hope as well as a promise and it is a message we can all take to heart and live by for there are many times we will need to remember these words as www await the salvation of the Lord.