There is a right way to seek righteousness and a wrong way to seek righteousness. Unfortunately, the largest portion of Israel chose the wrong way. They misconstrued the purpose of the law and sought to justify themselves before God on the basis of works. In response, God hardened their hearts and made them fit for destruction. Yet, the calling of God is irrevocable, and according to His sovereign purpose, those who were chosen by Him did receive the gift of righteousness.
The final image we were left with in Romans 10 is that of God reaching out in compassion to Israel only to find them stubbornly and defiantly rejecting His offer of salvation. We are thus left with the question: “Will God wash His hands of them?” Paul’s emphatic answer is “May it never be!” Drawing upon his own personal testimony as well as the experience of the prophet Elijah, Paul reasserts that God will secure the remnant he has chosen for Himself among ethnic Israel.
Questions of adultery, hypocrisy, and conspiracy all meet the Lord Jesus Christ outside temple walls. In John 8 the Pharisees are trying to trap Jesus by bringing a woman who has been caught in the act of adultery before Him. The Pharisees give him two options: either he can stone the woman or let her go free. Jesus, in all of wisdom, brings the weight of the Law to reign down on the Pharisees. Then we see a beautiful glimpse of His mercy towards the adulterous woman.
In Romans 10:15, Paul had built up to a crescendo of praise to God for how He sent out preachers of the Word. But it is that triumph of the ministry of proclamation that makes the plight of lost Israel all the more grievous. Here in Romans 10:16-21, Paul returns the the subject of why Israel rejected their Messiah, and in their plight, we find the rebellious heart of all sinful men exemplified, as well as the compassion of God to save all who will respond to outstretched arms.
As Paul wraps up his opening comments to the church at Ephesus, he offers a prayer for them that is centered around the theme of God’s power displayed in the resurrection and exaltation of Christ. As we ‘know’ God and grow in our understanding of His incredible power, we will deepen in the hope of our calling, realize the riches of the glory of our inheritance, and embrace the surpassing greatness of His power.
In this final message our of Flourish in Faith emphasis, we go all the way to the end of Second Corinthians to consider Paul’s final exhortation to that congregation. In this single verse, we hear God’s command to rejoice, be made complete, be comforted by one another, be like minded, live in peace, and walk in the love and peace of God. These traits represent life in a healthy church, and they result in joy pervading the body of Christ.
Our modern culture prides itself on knowledge and understanding. We believe we can overcome any obstacle, solve any problem by the right use of our mental faculties and the rigorous application of human knowledge. It’s all too easy to lapse into thinking that the same is true for spiritual matters as well. Many believe we can ascend God’s holy hill by way of right reasoning and right choices. An examination of the people in Jerusalem who attended the Feast of Booths in John 7 demonstrates that this is not the case. The natural man cannot comprehend spiritual reality and as such is completely dependent upon God’s grace to enable an understanding of the gospel.