Day 312 “Infinite” Romans 11 – 13
November 8, 2021, 11:58 PM

Day 312 “Infinite” Romans 11 – 13

At the end of the last blog, which I also wrote today, I said that the verses from Romans 8 were my favorite, and that basically Romans 8: 37- 39 could be simply translated as “Nothing can separate us from the love of God.” I wrote about this magnanimous, omnipresent love that God feels for all his creation, a universal love that does not translate to universal salvation. We still have to make the choice to choose God, but it’s almost as if God has no choice but to love his creation.

That brings us to the salvation of the Jews. Many of us are worried about a message of Christian love that seems to leave out people we love and care about, as well as wondering about what will happen to those who are Jews? It’s frightening to think of people we love and care about being left outside the gates of heaven, if that’s the way you think of heaven. I think of being outside as meaning that those people who did not choose to love God through Jesus will spend eternity without God, and that’s a long time to live without the presence that we know as being light and love.

In any case, note that it is the Gentiles (non-Jews, you and me) who are grafted onto the original root of the olive tree that is the tree of the Chosen People, of the Jews. We are grafted onto their tree!!! Our foundation is the Jewish root that God has nurtured and tended. We are a ‘wild olive shoot’, not one of the cultivated olive branches, and we are welcomed onto the fullness of the tree that first began as the sign of the Chosen People. “How much more,” Paul writes, “will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree.” !!:24) They are the natural branches and we are the unnatural, grafted branches who are connected by the grace of God.

The reason I am bringing this up is because we need to keep in mind that God does not forget his chosen ones. God is not going to ignore his own creation, and there is a way that God will find to make himself known to Jew and Gentile, to atheist and believer alike, to religious people and those who have never opened a Bible in their lives. I believe this because of what I read about the Jews in our New Testament writings. They have been unrighteous, but they are not unforgiveable. They have forgotten who God is, but God will never forget who they are, and whose they are. They are his Chosen People who gave birth to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and ultimately Jesus. (Also Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Mary as well!) That is a very short genealogy as I’m sure you recognize, but these men and women are considered the patriarchs and matriarchs of the ancient Jews, and without them, there would be no Christian church at all.

And after hearing this, Paul moves onto a kind of mini-gospel lesson, writing about what it means o have a new life in Christ, and Paul would know these things because these are the changes that happened to him when he had his conversion experience. We catch the whisper of his letter to the Corinthians: “For as in one body we have many members,” (12:4), and the restatement of the beatitudes, slightly different from Paul’s pen than from the mouth of Jesus: “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them,” Paul tells us. Why? Why would Paul or Jesus or anyone tell us this? Because we are to set the example of what it means to live under grace and not under law, and that means we have no real right to vengeance, or retribution. We have only the true and pure power of love and mercy to show people what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

I’m going to give you an example, lucky you. Recently I made a mistake. A big mistake. A notable mistake. And it was a mistake, not purposeful or intentional. But mistakes can still create real problems. And my mistake created problems for someone else. After I recognized the mistake, I expected that the person affected by it would be angry with me, yell at me. So I confessed my mistake and I waited…for the anger, the yelling, the blame that I thought I deserved. But the person did not do any of that. The person immediately forgave me and said it was just fine. First of all, it wasn’t fine, and second, it felt worse to be forgiven than blamed, because I didn’t deserve to be forgiven, at least I didn’t think I did. But my friend had a different idea. She decided to show mercy and kindness to me instead of wrath and anger, and it was just like the verse from the Romans that said it would be like heaping burning coals on my head! I promise you it felt worse NOT to be punished than it would have if my friend had subjected me to verbal attacks. Because I knew I did not deserve her kindness at that moment, or her grace or her mercy. But as she loves me, she gave me all of those things, even though I did not deserve one of them.

“Love”, Paul tells us, “is the fulfilling of the law,”(13:10). That doesn’t sound like it makes sense until we remember who Jesus was and what Jesus did. Jesus’s love for us, his complete and sacrificial love, is the fulfillment of the law, it is the most extreme form of love—to die so someone else can live. If we were able to love perfectly, like Jesus, we would no longer need the law because every circumstance would be guided by love for others rather than by the picayune points of the law.

And to circle back, if love is the guide by which God operates, then all are invited into the circle. So our best way to evangelize is to show the world who God by loving people the way God does, by forgiving them the way God can, and by making room for more branches on that crazy olive tree.

Be blessed and be a blessing to others,


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