A Letter to the Romans (Part 3)
NOVEMBER 16 - Nº 320 Romans 9 – 16
After explaining the basics of the Gospel and sharing the benefits of accepting God’s incredible gift of eternal life, Paul revealed something to the Roman believers that was breaking his heart. “I have great sorrow and constant anguish for my people, the people of Israel,” he said. “I’d give up anything—even my own salvation if I could—for them to experience the blessings of being part of God’s family!” Paul explained that God had chosen the Jewish people to be His children. He wanted to reveal His plan of salvation to the rest of the world through them. He expected other nations to notice the blessings they received and want to join His family, too. But when God sent His own son to die for the sins of the Jewish nation, they rejected him. They stumbled over the idea of trusting Jesus as the source of their salvation. They chose instead to rely on their own good works. Since the Jews rejected God’s plan, He allowed others to take their place. Now anyone could become a part of God’s family! They did not have to accept Judaism first. All they had to do was accept Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as the only way to have a relationship with God. And anyone could receive God’s blessings now—not just those who were Jews! Paul illustrated it this way: The Jews were like branches on God’s olive tree. But because they rejected their role, they were cut off and wild olive branches (Gentiles) were temporarily grafted in. “But don’t get too proud!” Paul warned the Roman Gentiles. “If a natural branch can be broken off, how much easier will it be to break off the grafted-in branch? And that is exactly what is going to happen!” Paul explained that one day this “time of the Gentiles” will be over, and God will turn the tables. “A time is coming,” he explained, “when the nation of Israel will turn back to God and accept Jesus as their Messiah. They will be grafted back in and eventually all of Israel will be saved!” “Take advantage of God’s mercy while you can,” Paul instructed the Roman believers. “Give your bodies to Him as a living sacrifice. Stop sinning and start living lives that please Him.” He instructed them to work together like the different parts of the body do—even though they each have a different role, they function together. He told the Roman believers to be humble and loving toward each other in everything they did. They were to be respectful and submit to those in authority. Paul told them to honor the way other people obeyed God rather than judge them for not conforming to man-made standards of righteousness. He warned them not to use their own freedom in Christ to trip or to trap other believers. Their goal should always be to build each other up. As he finished his long letter, Paul told the Romans that he hoped to visit them soon and eventually to travel on to Spain with the good news about Jesus. He asked the believers to greet Aquila and Priscilla and many others he knew in Rome. After finishing the letter, Paul gave it to a woman named Phoebe. He trusted her to safely deliver it for him.
A sacrifice requires complete surrender. Is there any part of your life (your family, your friends, your health, your extra-curricular activities, your work, or schoolwork, etc.) that you have not completely given to God? What aspect of your life do you need to surrender to Him today?