“So to at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. But, if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” Romans 11:5-6
Through chapter 11 Paul is addressing something specific to the Church at Rome: being snotty to the Jews. It is the attitude of superiority that the Holy Spirit is addressing so as to get our head on straight. How is this applicable? Haven’t I exhibited a haughty, superior spirit every now and then?
I have to remember not to stretch this too far out of whack. I don’t want to lift this section of Scripture out of context. We do that, you know; sometimes way too often.
Here’s what I think Chapter 11 is conveying: Church at Rome is being snotty to the Jews. Looks like the Gentile Christians are giving the Jews what for, perhaps about crucifying Jesus. Maybe it looks like not living with the Jews like brothers in the Lord, not being kind, not serving each other, talking bad and gossiping-maybe just lifting their nose at them in appearance of superiority.
Pretty proud of myself that I have never acted that way towards anyone (as I humbly polish my halo)…
Paul subtlety reminds the Gentiles of this: God chose the Jews first. Still chose them first. Showed grace by grafting Gentiles in and loves them dearly and they are not second place–but do not be unaware: Abraham’s descendants were chosen first. Ok, not so subtle.
But here’s is my takeaway: Remember it is by Grace. If by Grace, I cannot boast except in His Grace. If I try to define anything by works, I nullify Grace. “I really do Christian things and they don’t…” Patting myself on the back for my works—nullifying Grace. I have a different (more important) position than you-nullifying Grace. If I evaluate others, judge others, by any measure except Grace, then we are (all together now) nullifying Grace. Doesn’t mean we overlook sin, doesn’t mean that we ignore unbiblical behavior, but I have to remember except by His Grace in my life, I do the same kind of stuff.
Making ungodly distinctions-I do it all the time. It is a habit that needs to be broken by really getting in and reviewing the Gospel every single day. Easy to say, harder to do.
Father: I want to be an engaged Disciple. I want to remember, to preach the Gospel to the guy in the mirror every day. One thing I can do is to review the Gospel, the entire Gospel on my way to work. I want to act in accordance to the Gospel, to see the world through the lens of the Gospel, to hear and speak through the filter of the Gospel. Help me O God-not to impress You but to serve as a servant. AMEN.