Romans 9:6-13

            I want to break this to you as gently as possible, but as straightforward as I can:  My friend, you are not in control!  Any semblance of control we think we have is only a delusion.  Now, before you push back on this its important to make the distinction between control and taking charge.  Taking charge of your life means that you own your decisions and take responsibility for their outcome.  The Bible describes this as “self-control.”
            But “control” is not your job – never was, isn’t, and never will be – that’s God’s business.  God makes his choices.  This was the Apostle Paul’s point to the church at Rome.  The congregation was a volatile mix of both Jew and Gentile.  There was some bad history between them that stretched back centuries.  Yet, here they were together in one church worshiping Jesus.
            Paul made his choice to step into the mess between them and let each group know something important: It is neither their choice about who’s in and who’s out as God’s people, nor their choice about how someone gets in to start with.  Again, this is God’s choice.
            The Jews needed to know that Gentiles are in because God did his work of calling and including; Gentiles are chosen just as much as Jews.  The Gentiles needed to know that they were not replacing Jews as chosen people.  The point? God chooses whomever he darn well pleases to choose, and its not up to you, my friend.
            This speaks on so many levels about how to conduct ourselves with one another in the church.  The foundation of all good church dynamics is the recognition that God is the one who calls and gathers people together in the church.  This needs to be the starting point in our relations with each other.

 

Sovereign God, you choose whomever you will to include in your kingdom.  Allow me to see Jesus in each person you call and save so that I can love and encourage them in the faith which is mutually and graciously given to us all; through Christ our Lord, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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