The scripture for today is Romans 11:1-6.
1 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
In this passage Paul is reflecting on an Old Testament story about Elijah. The one where the prophet Elijah runs away, scared for his life because God's people have rejected God's relationship with them, and he has just received a death threat. Then the word of God comes to Elijah, not in the wind or the earthquake or the fire, but in a gentle whisper. God tells Elijah to get back out there and continue doing God's work, and that God is saving 7,000 of the people. (It's a good read, check it out: 1 Kings 19: 1-18)
We are included in the people God saves, not by what we do or don't do, but because of God's grace. When we look at the news these days, it is clear that there are different groups of people who call themselves Christian in our nation. It is easy to point fingers and blame others for not following God the same way that we understand Jesus to be calling us. And sometimes the radically inclusive way of Jesus that we try to follow can earn us death threats from the world and even from other Christians. But let us never forget that we are just as much in need of God's grace as our enemies. All the good works we do don't make us any more deserving of God's salvation than those whom we would criticize for not being "truly" Christian.
Thanks be to God for grace!
Ella Vandervlugt firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayer Concern – Those who let pain get in their way of understanding God’s Grace.