“I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew… There is a remnant, chosen by grace…
“What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking… Did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!.. If their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?..
“But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches… They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.” Romans 11:1-2a,5b,7a,11-12,15,17-18a,20-22
As a devout Jew, Paul did all the right things to gain righteousness. Then God Almighty stopped him in his hell-bent tracks and saved him, exchanging self-effort and pride in credentials with faith and surrender to Christ’s credentials on his behalf. Now as humble recipient of God’s lavish, kind grace, he was compelled to share and spread that kindness in truth to everyone everywhere God led. (Acts 9:1-6; Philippians 3:3-6)
Recognition of the Lord’s amazing, unearned grace and lovingkindness overwhelms all sense of desert and puffery. If we really grasp that the severity of God’s holy judgment on sin ushered in the magnificent love gift of salvation on the cross, we are at once undone, grateful, and ready, ready to go anywhere that God calls. (Isaiah 6:1-8; 53:4-6; Romans 11:33-12:2; Ephesians 2:8-10;
Are we too busy running around in mind and activity to contemplate the kindness of God in saving us? The suffering and ultimate sacrifice of our Savior on our behalf? When is the last time we bowed, and thanked Him? Let us never forget or grow callous to recall! What does His grace applied to our hearts look like in the way we apply grace to others?
Where is Jesus compelling me to scatter His beauties today: whom to love? Whom to tell about his kindness and severity? Whom to serve willingly and generously? How does His grace change the vantage point from which I assess my neighbor, perceive the lost, pray for and pursue my loved ones? (2 Corinthians 5:14-21)
“Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul.
Thank you, Lord, for making me whole.
Thank you, Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation so rich and free.” ~Seth and Bessie Sykes (1940)
Lord, let me never get over what Your kindness has done for me, nor cease to tell of it to this dark world.