Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Favoritism (02/28/05)
- TITLE: God has His favourites! (Thoughts on Romans 9:1-12:1)
By Suzanne R
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
We are God’s favourites!
Does God really have favourites? That simply isn’t fair, is it? Just look at the Bible. It is written, “…Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad – in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls – she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”” (Rom. 9:10-13 NIV).
Like Jacob, I am one of God’s favourites and boast shamelessly about it! It is written that we Christians are “… the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory – even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles” (Rom. 9:23b-24 NIV). Have you been born again? Are you, like me, one of God’s children? If so, we should grasp the wonderful truth, although socially unacceptable in our western society, that WE are God’s favourites! It is completely unrelated to anything we’ve done, and quite unfathomable. Do our words, actions and attitudes reflect this high position?
Blessed to be a blessing
Why did God place His favour on the great patriachs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Was it so that they could have a happy life, enjoying fantastic wealth and prestige? When God first called Abraham to be the father of a great nation, He promised, “… I will bless you …. and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Gen. 12:2b, 3b NIV). Abraham was blessed for the purpose of being a blessing to all peoples on earth! The grandson who was loved by God, Jacob, was later renamed Israel. Centuries later, their descendant, the apostle Paul, said about you and me, “… not all who are descended from Israel are Israel…. In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.” (Rom. 9:6b, 8 NIV). That means that you and I are also counted as Abraham’s offspring, and we’re also blessed to be a blessing.
What greater blessing is there than to bring the message of salvation to the world? Again, Paul writes, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Rom.10:15b NIV). Just think - our smelly, dirty, misshapen feet are beautiful! As God’s chosen people, we have a responsibility to bless the world around us. How are we doing in this area? Are we active in social work, supporting the downtrodden and weak? Are we active in evangelism and discipleship? Are we willing to truly live as God’s people in our world?
A stern warning
We who are not Jewish are given a stern warning by the ‘apostle to the Gentiles’. Paul writes, “Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off” (Rom. 11:22 NIV). This is sobering indeed.
Are we actively living out our faith? Are we raising our children to know and fear God? The apostle Paul summarizes the only acceptable response to God’s kindness. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship” (Rom. 12:1 NIV). To do anything else is to make light of God’s choice of us - a dangerous move indeed.
A response of praise
I’m one of God’s favourites. What an awesome privilege this is! Yet with awesome privilege comes awesome responsibility. Do you find the magnitude of our position overwhelming? Do you find confusing the paradox of God’s free grace and the requirement of our own efforts at perseverance? I certainly don’t pretend to understand God’s ways. Nevertheless, these are the ways of Almighty God! “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgements and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord?….To him be the glory forever! Amen” (Rom. 11:33-34a, 36b NIV).
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