Welcome to Week 22 of the Higher Hope Church 2018 New Testament Reading Plan! If you haven’t already, go pick up your 5x5x5 Reading Plan and join our private Facebook group for daily interaction and discussion. This week we continued the Book of Romans!
Paul’s desire is for the Israelites to be saved. He knows that they are zealous for God but their zeal is not based on knowledge. They do not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own. They do not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the culmination of the law so that there is righteousness for anyone who believes. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile. The same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But not all Israelites accepted the Good News.
God did not reject the Israelites (Paul is an Israelite). There is a remnant now that is chosen by grace. It is not based on works or it would not be grace. What the people of Israel sought so earnestly, they did not obtain. The elect among them did but the others were hardened. Because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel jealous. Paul’s desire is to arouse some of them and make them envious so that they may be saved. Paul uses a tree metaphor to explain the Israelites and Gentiles. The natural branches (Israelites) were broken off due to unbelief which made room for the Gentiles to be grafted in. The Gentiles should not be arrogant because of this. God has the ability to cut off the Gentiles and to also graft the Israelites back in again. God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.
Paul urges the brethren to offer their bodies as a living sacrifice to God as true and proper worship. They should not conform to the world but be renewed by the transforming of their minds. We are all given different gifts and we should fulfill those gifts in service to the Lord. Practice love in action.
Be subject to the governing authorities. The authorities that exist have been established by God. The one in authority is God’s servant for your good. “Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (v. 7) Continue to love one another for whoever loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments are summed up in one command – love your neighbor as yourself. Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Accept those with weaker faith and do not argue over small matters such as what food to eat or what day is more sacred than another. God has accepted them and He will make them stand. We will all stand before God’s judgment seat to give an account of ourselves to God. Do not put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of another brother or sister to hinder their belief. Do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
Have a great week!