God's Mercy, Our Trust
Eternal God, by You I am fearfully and wonderfully made, graciously kept and provided for. I thank You.
Read Romans 9:30-10:21
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). This is simple but wise.
Because God is the only source of life, he can bestow his friendship only on his righteous terms; to do otherwise would be to deny himself, which would mean denying life. Those terms, for Paul, are dictated by God’s elective intention to reveal his deeply merciful character. The Gentiles found friendship with God simply because they were willing to trust his mercy, ultimately and finally revealed in Christ. Israel, in spite of great zeal for God, had not.
The issue is not really works-righteousness. Israel’s failure lay in holding onto the old when what God had always intended had finally come. Everything the Law pointed to—life, proximity, clarity—was fulfilled in Christ (10:4). Furthermore, God’s long-standing appeal for faith was never dependent on prior conditions—all who trust will be saved (Isa. 28:16). He is the same generously merciful Lord to anyone, Jew or Gentile, who calls on his name; a name embodied in Jesus (10:11-13). Nor is Israel’s problem that they were not told. The gospel proclamation had been as obvious as the heavens above (Psa. 19:1,4). God had even gone so far as to get their attention by provoking them through “those who are not a nation” and lacked “understanding” (10:19); hence, Jewish jealousy in the face of mass Gentile conversions (e.g., Acts 13:44,45).
Israel’s tragedy lay in its combination of uninformed zeal and stubbornness. Their continued pursuit of righteousness through Torah-obedience was to insist on friendship with God on their own terms. We, too, can easily fall into seeking to impress God with our goodness. It does not work, for it is based on unbelief. What God always wanted is for us to trust that his nature is to show mercy to all who call on him.
Are you trusting only in Christ for your salvation? Are you struggling with sin? Trust in Christ, and drink deeply of his even stronger kindness and mercy.
Lord, Your mercies are new every morning. If it wasn’t for Your mercy I would be doomed. I am so blessed. I trust only in You.
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