READ: Romans 11
THINK: Let us take a moment to put ourselves in the shoes of one who asks “God, where are you? Have you rejected me? Forgotten me?”. In Romans, this is a question that Paul brings up for the religious leaders of Israel, or who are otherwise known as Pharisees. The very first two verses really asks if God is still here with the “God’s chosen” people, the same people who have “killed [God’s] prophets and torn down [His] altars.” Paul want’s to reassure them that there is still hope and that God is faithful to His chosen, “whom He chose from the very beginning.” Well isn’t that an encouraging note to land on?
To put into perspective, let’s take for instance that you are someone who has gone to church and vacation bible school since you can remember. You’ve accepted Christ as a young child and can recite all of the books of the bible and ultimately just have a great knowledge of the bible and it’s word. Now take this person 10-15 years down the road and imagine he/she has turned away from God and asks, “God, where are you? Have you rejected me? Forgotten me?” Now step out of those shoes for a second… For some of you, this may be a reflection of your own life. But be assured! Paul is not just assuring the Pharisees, but also YOU who God chose from the very beginning! He’s assuring that because of His grace, “His undeserved kindness in choosing them” (v.5), that God couldn’t possibly forget you. Actually, He probably has a purpose for you in a part of His incredible plan. Paul goes on and says that God is so kind that good works, like going to church every Sunday, serving the poor, giving money to charities, and etc. (not that there is anything wrong with those things), could not possibly earn God’s faithfulness and love. Paul states that if good works were to even begin to earn His love, then God’s grace would be pointless and “would not be what it really is- free and undeserved (v.6)”.
What an incredible reminder of how valuable the love and grace (undeserved kindness in being chosen) God unconditionally gives us! Sometimes it’s absolutely necessary to be reminded that God hasn’t forgotten us and thus encouraging us to run back to Him again. Now Paul, being the wise man that he is, then anticipated the question, “Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? (v.11)” Well, he doesn’t hesitate to say “Of course not!” What another assuring encouragement! We read on to find that Paul reminds people that though this salvation was available to the Gentiles, this very same salvation through Christ is readily available for the people of Israel too! Or to put into perspective, the kind of people who didn’t have a Christian/church background and lived a successful, worldly life would have just as much opportunity to be loved and receive grace from God as anyone else in the world!
Knowing that everyone is undeserving of God’s love and grace can be quite the message to brighten someone’s day. For anyone out there who easily fills the role of the person who’s life reflects a lack of God and asks, “God, where are you? Have you rejected me? Forgotten me?”, this is a reminder that there is still hope and there is no possible way to not be eligible for acceptance into the Kingdom of God, found in Christ Jesus. I would encourage you to take a moment to read over this text and thank God for how undeserved we are to have this salvation, that brings us love and mercy. And know that asking the questions, “God, where are you? Have you rejected me? Forgotten me?” are unhesitatingly answered with Paul’s answer.. “Of course not!”
Written by: Ken Truong, http://www.findingauthenticchristianity.com