S16P14 – Personal lessons from Paul: desiring to share our God
For this reason [grasping the greatness of this plan by which Jews and Gentiles are joined together in Christ] I bow my knees [in reverence] before the Father [of our Lord Jesus Christ], from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name [God—the first and ultimate Father].
Paul was a member of God’s chosen Israel by lineage, chosen for Jesus to come and redeem. His people awaited their Messiah for centuries before He appeared as prophesied. It is understandable, then, why some of these chosen people would take issue with God sending his Son to save not only the Jews but the Gentiles as well. It is even more understandable that hard feelings would exist considering Paul’s explanation of how salvation came to the Gentiles: “but through their (Israel’s) transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make them (Israel) jealous” [Rom. 11:11b]. Paul, however, states the he falls to his knees to praise God for the joining of the Gentiles with the Jews in salvation because of the greatness of this plan.
While Paul loves God fiercely and can stake claim to being a member of his chosen people, Paul does not guard God so jealously as to not wish that others also would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. He goes on to explain in Romans: “But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring” [Rom. 11:12]. He even calls himself the apostle to the Gentiles in the very next verse. What Paul is realizing is that he loses nothing by God making salvation available to the Gentiles, but God gains tremendously by making his grace accessible to all of humanity. The purpose of stirring jealously among the Jews who rejected Jesus is not to alienate them from God but to bring them into the fold. That jealously is used to bring them to salvation after seeing what the Gentiles have attained through God’s grace.
We may be tempted to view ourselves as special because we have been grafted into the vine. No doubt, that is a special thing. But we should not be holding so tightly to our hope in God that we have no desire to share it with others. We should desire that they may be grafted in as well. We should never ask, “why would God save them?” We should desire for the undeserving, the evil, the enemies of God to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Nothing should make us want to keep this great gift from the world. Father, gives us hearts that rejoice at the fact that you have made salvation available to all, and prompt us to gladly desire salvation for the worst of the worst instead of expecting or even desiring hopeless destruction.