There is a complete change of theme today in Paul’s letter to the Romans compared to what we read yesterday. In ch’s 9 to 11 his thoughts are on Israel: he had formerly been proud of being an Israelite, the chosen nation. The main point he makes in these chapters is that he now sees that everything depends on God’s mercy. Israel, although the chosen nation – is to experience God’s wrath. Although the Gentiles (non-Jews) are now, in a sense, chosen, the underlying foundation fact is that God is calling individuals and each one will depend on God’s “mercy.’
Of course, this has always been the foundation principle in God’s calling; Paul writes, “For he says to Moses , ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy.” [9 v.15,16]
No one can ‘earn’ salvation. Our lives are a training period – it is surprising to read that it even was for Jesus! The point is made in the letter to the Hebrews, “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.” [5 v.8] We follow in his footsteps. We also, as we read on Tuesday, should “walk in the footsteps of the faith that … Abraham had …” [Rom.4 v.12]
Now ,we must take note of Paul’s point and his question, “What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known …” [v.22,23] To make known what?
Before we quote his answer, let us appreciate the patience of God in not yet acting to punish the world for its ungodliness. One of the hidden sevens in the Book of Revelation is that this word ‘patience’ occurs 7 times. And what does God’s ‘patience’ make known? Verse 23 continues, “… to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory. – even us whom he has called.”
Let us more fully respond to his calling, these are the only “riches” in our lives worth having – indeed, it is essential that we have them, otherwise we will not be among the “us’ he is calling to experience the incredible “riches of his glory.”
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