Receiving God's Promises Through Faith

Note from JesusDear Child of Grace,

Many people in your fallen world accept or reject others based on race. They exclude those who are not of their race. The Christians in Rome, and really all over the world during the time Paul wrote his letter to the Roman Christians, struggled with the issue of race. The separation between Jew and Gentile was a hard one for many of the early Christians to overcome.

As I look at your time, My heart breaks at both the physical violence done in the name of race and also the more subtle forms of exclusivity, prejudice, bigotry, and racial arrogance. Sometimes this racial prejudice is acted out publicly. Other times it goes on in people’s hearts as they fake racial acceptance to get along in culture.

Please understand something that Paul made very clear to My disciples. I came to tear down racial divisions and bring about a new humanity not based on race (Ephesians 2:11-22). I came to establish “one new humanity” based on faith. I came to create peace between different peoples through My sacrifice on the cross (Ephesians 2:14-16). The future I will bring has all nations, races, languages, and peoples joined together in joyous worship, praise, and fellowship (Revelation 7:9-12).

My human racial identity was Jewish. I came as the answer to the Father’s promise to Abraham and David. I came as the Anointed One, the Messiah of Israel. The Father chose Israel to be His people. He did not choose them because they were better, wiser, more numerous, or more powerful. The Father chose Israel because of His love and faithfulness to His promises to the great Israelite patriarchs — Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and later King David.

John the Baptizer, My cousin and forerunner, had warned people that being Jewish descendants of Abraham didn’t guarantee their righteousness. John reminded the people that the Father “is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham” (Matthew 3:7-9 ESV). Both John and I warned that if a person claims to be a descendant of Abraham, he or she must live a life of faith like Abraham (Romans 4:13; Galatians 3:6-9). So what Paul said in chapters 9-11 of Romans about the relationship of Jews to the Father shouldn’t be a complete surprise. We will be looking at Paul’s message in these chapters for a few days.

Paul wanted everyone to know that just as all have sinned, both Jew and Gentile, all can be children of God through faith in My sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection. Race is not what makes a person a part of God’s Israel, his chosen people. Faith is what makes one a child of Abraham (Galatians 3:26-29). The Father, in His Sovereignty, chose Israel and gave Israel the great benefits of “the glory, the covenants, the gift of the law, the temple service, and God’s promises” as “their rightful heritage”. So the Jewish people should be loved and respected because they provided the story, the heritage, the Scriptures, the promises, and the Messiah (Me) that make salvation available to all people.

However, Paul reminded Jewish Christians:The truth is that not everyone descended from Israel is truly Israel. Just because people can claim Abraham as their father does not make them his true children.For a time, all but a small group of Jews had stumbled because of the truth that is found in Me, the Anointed, the “rock”. But just as many Gentiles have been brought into My family through faith, a time is coming, and indeed has already begun, when My fellow Israelites will find themselves a part of the Father’s promises by faith.Verses to LiveToday and the next several days, you will be reading from Romans chapters 9-11. Paul’s discussion can appear confusing at times because he was using the way of teaching he learned as a young rabbi. But the basis of his reasoning is fairly clear. The Father is sovereign. He works in the way He does to fulfill His promises and to fulfill His desire to bring salvation to all people who will receive His grace. Rather than race, ethnicity, law-keeping, or heritage being the guarantee of this salvation, the Father accepts people based on their faith in Me. In this way, salvation can come to all people, and all people can be accepted into My family without prejudice or racial division or any other distinction.

Spiritual Israel, the people of God, is made up of those who receive the promises of God by faith and choose to share this grace with the nations.Now let me speak the truth as plainly as I know it in the Anointed One [Christ Jesus]. I am not lying when I say that my conscience and the Holy Spirit are witnesses to my state of constant grief. It may sound extreme; but I wish that I were lost, cursed, and totally separated from the Anointed — if that would change the eternal destination of my [Jewish] brothers and sisters, my flesh and countrymen. They are, after all, Israelites who have been adopted into God’s family; the glory, the covenants, the gift of the law, the temple service, and God’s promises are their rightful heritage. The patriarchs are theirs, too; and from their bloodline comes the Anointed One, the Liberating King, Who reigns supreme over all things, God blessed forever. Amen.

Clearly it is not that God’s word has failed. The truth is that not everyone descended from Israel is truly Israel. Just because people can claim Abraham as their father does not make them his true children. But in the Scriptures, it says, “Through Isaac your covenant children will be named.” The proper interpretation is this: Abraham’s children by natural descent are not necessarily God’s covenant people; what matters is that His children receive and live the promise.
(Romans 9:1-8)

So what does all of this mean? Did the non-Jews stumble into a right standing with God without chasing after it? Yes, they found it through faith. And has Israel, who pursued the law to secure a right standing with God, failed to keep the law? Yes again. And why is that? Because Israel did not follow the path of faith. They thought that whatever they needed to be right with God could be accomplished by doing the works of the law; they tripped over the stumbling stone. As the Scriptures say,Look what I am going to do in Zion. I’ll put in place a stone that makes them stumble, a rock that trips them up, and those who trust in it will not be disgraced.(Romans 9:30-33)Response in PrayerO Father, thank You for Your grace that has saved me. Thank You for the promise to Abraham to bless all nations and peoples through him. Thank You for Jesus, the Messiah of spiritual Israel. Thank You for the promises You have kept, the people You have preserved, and the story You have woven through the nation of Israel and for the gift of grace You have extended to all nations because of Jesus’ sacrifice. Give us — give me — courage to share this message of grace with all people and include them in the family and fellowship of Your grace. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.’A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware. © 1998-2022, Heartlight, Inc. ‘A Year with Jesus’ is part of the Heartlight Network.All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Receiving God's Promises Through Faith
Source: Passion for Praise