Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
God works by God’s rules, not by our inclinations. We find this over and over again in Scripture. Today’s reading from Romans 9:30-10:4 is no exception. God is working by his rules and principles.
The big picture, the one which virtually everyone will miss, given enough opportunity, is that salvation is by grace through faith, not of our works. That’s the idea that the Gentiles were able to grasp. In fact, they found it amazingly liberating. Really? You mean all the sacrifices that we have done in the past, trying to appease one deity or another, trying not to be noticed by those we didn’t sacrifice to, keeping our heads down in hope that we will slip by without being noticed by some angry god or another, all that was useless? Exactly. All it did was to add to your anxiety and fear.
Salvation by grace through faith leaves fear behind. It takes away all the reason for fear and doubt. It leaves salvation up to God’s goodness, not up to my goodness.
Where do we go wrong with this? It’s a matter of our natural desire. We always seem to want to earn our own way, prove our own goodness, show that we are really a lot better than God seems to think we are. Romans 9:31 points out that the Jews, by trying to keep the law and earn their way to heaven through the law, failed in exactly that way. God’s law was to lead to righteousness, but it is a standard which only Jesus could ever keep. The law of God points us to our failure, not to our success. It points us to our need for a savior.
Trusting in Jesus is the only way of salvation. There is no other. We should find this to be a liberating message. We receive salvation in the way God has described it. We don’t have to make up our own system and outdo God at his work. We are recipients of his mercy. So we allow it to be by mercy, not by our effort.
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