Stop and thank God for being present with you today. Ask for God’s guidance as you hear God’s voice through scripture and the writer.
Romans 11:2-10 (NRSV)
God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars; I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” But what is the divine reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too 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.
What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written,
“God gave them a sluggish spirit,
eyes that would not see
and ears that would not hear,
down to this very day.”
And David says,
“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them;
let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
and keep their backs forever bent.”
We live in a culture where most people have bought into the idea of staying busy all of the time. Some people find it hard to relax, even when they have down time. We may carry this idea over into our spiritual lives. We may think we have to “work” our way to heaven. We are covered by grace, and any works we do come out of our love for God.
Paul explains in our scripture today that if we were saved by works, grace would no longer be grace. What is grace anyway? It means that we receive unearned merit from God through Jesus Christ so that our sins are no longer held against us.
Grace does not mean that we do not suffer the consequences of our sins. If we break the law of the land, God will forgive us when we repent and ask for forgiveness. So why do we still receive punishment? Receiving grace does not keep us from suffering the consequences of our actions. What is important is that we are freely forgiven and our sins are forgotten.
Dear God, thank you for your mercy and grace. Please help me to show grace and mercy to everyone I encounter. Thank you for covering me with grace when I fall short of my intentions. Amen.
Go with God.