Is God Faithful, or Not?

Old Testament Reading: Exodus 21 & 22
Psalms Reading: Psalm 39
* New Testament Reading: Romans 9

Romans 8 ended with the promise that nothing can separate us from the love of God.  But then in the next chapter, we find Paul saying, in Romans 9:2-4, “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.  For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers… the people of Israel.”

You may be thinking, “Wait a minute, is God faithful, or not?  Didn’t he choose the Israelites as His chosen people originally?  Apparently, that didn’t work out so well, so then God threw them away, and now Christians are His chosen people.  Will God get tired of us too, and throw us away too?”

I’m glad you asked.  Let’s look at that.

God chose the Israelites.  They were His people. God gave the Israelites the law, the temple worship, and the promises, the patriarchs, and the human ancestry of Jesus.   God extended tremendous grace to them.   God was (and is) faithful.  But despite that, many turned their back on God.  Romans 9:6 says, “It is not as though God’s word had failed.  For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.”  The problem was with the Israelites.  They weren’t faithful to God.  Even though they had the right ancestor (Abraham), they didn’t have the right heart.

Romans 9:27-28 later says, “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.  For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality.”

This should be a warning to us.  God told us in Romans 8 that nothing external can separate us from the love of God.  But we are free to walk away from Him if we choose.  Even though God extended tremendous grace to Israel, many rejected God, and only a remnant will be saved.  God has now extended tremendous grace to us Gentiles through Christ.  Unfortunately, I fear the same will be true of those of us who call ourselves Christians.

Romans 9:30-32 then stresses again the importance of righteousness by faith, “What shall we say then?  That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it.  Why not?  Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works…”

To recap, God is merciful, gracious, and faithful.  He showered His love on the Israelites, but many rejected him.  And many who didn’t reject Him tried to please God by just following a bunch of rules.  I picture their attitude as something like this:  “I’m going to do what God demands, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.”  God then rejected those who rejected Him and those who tried to earn their way into his favor.

God has showered his love on us through Jesus, and has invited us to be adopted as His children.  How will you respond?  Will you reject Him?  Will you try to earn His favor by following a bunch of rules?  Or will you develop a loving relationship with Him and live by faith?  Only one of these choices will result in eternal life.  Which will you choose?

-Steve Mattison

Reflection Questions

  1. In this chapter on God’s Sovereign Choice how many times does Paul quote the Old Testament? Why do you think Paul does so?
  2. Are there times you have questioned if God is faithful? Do you find anything in Romans 9 that would have helped you (or did help you) through these times? How can you help someone else who is questioning?
  3. What do we learn about God and His character and roles and desires in our reading of His words today?

2 thoughts on “Is God Faithful, or Not?”

  1. That is why I worship the same God, that Jesus and the Apostles worshiped. Mark 12:28-32, John 17:3, John 20:17, Rom. 15:6, Rom. 16:37, I Tim. 2:5, Rev. 3:12.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Michael, I absolutely agree. You’ve referenced some great verses. I also like 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 on this same topic, and also pointing out our hope in the resurrection when Christ returns.

    Liked by 1 person

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