HOT OR COLD
Indwelling Holy Spirit, you are unlimited, unbound, and unpredictable. Inspire and guide me, illuminate your Word to me, and give me clear judgment in my decisions.
Read Romans 9:30 – 10:13
30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:
“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall,
and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[a]
10 Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. 2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
5 Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.”[b] 6 But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’”[c] (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’”[d] (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,”[e] that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”[f] 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[g]
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’ (v 13). So simple, so hard.
Pray for someone you love for whom this truth seems too hard. Our younger grandchildren still love a treasure hunt. Sweets are hidden and they search. ‘Getting hotter,’ we say, or ‘Cold, cold, colder.’ Israel searched for God’s truth, but in the wrong place. ‘Cold,’ says Paul. ‘Freezing.’ Meanwhile, the Gentiles stumble upon the truth. ‘Hot, boiling… you’ve found it!’
This is all so upside down and it leads to the next question. ‘What can we say?’ (v 30). In reply, another piece is added to the jigsaw, and it’s a big one: Faith. God waits and longs for people to come to him, to receive the gift of life he offers. That gift is none other than Jesus Christ, his only Son. A gift, however, has to be received, without merit or payment. But there lies the rub. God’s own people, making every effort to earn the gift, stumbled over Christ (vs 32,33). The Gentiles, with nothing to offer, stumbled into his arms and were welcomed home. Again, the irony of it breaks Paul’s heart (10:1).
Faith is the key. No frantic searching high and low, waving our credentials, but a simple turning to Christ, who watches and waits. Now, no more shame, but hearts open to his truth and voices confessing his goodness (vs 10,11). Is that your story?
‘Nothing in my hand I bring / Simply to thy cross I cling’ (‘Rock of Ages’, Augustus Toplady 1775)
Teach me today Lord, what it means to live in you, to rest in you, and to hope in you.
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