Paul tells the Romans how God loved the Israelite forefathers and made an everlasting covenant with them. He told how God kept His promises throughout generations of rebellion and backsliding. He explained that while God’s righteous judgement required His separation from sinful Israel, His love for them remained fully intact. Then Paul pulled his history lesson into his present moment showing its relevance to the Church. Not only did God’s love for the Jews remain unsevered, His love was big enough to include the Gentiles. Paul put it this way, “Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.” God’s love for all races and creeds temporarily moved Israel aside so that the opportunity for salvation could be available to everyone, but His love for Israel’s fathers kept the rebellious nation close to His heart even as He opened His arms to all people. Like a biological father choosing to adopt, God never left His people in order to welcome strangers into His family. He loved both. As a result, Jesus was sent to us all; He was the perfect fulfillment of God’s love. The complexity of God's adoption plan was revealed.
Paul's words unpack this profound mindset for the Roman church, children of adoption.
- Only a great God with superior thoughts could offer mercy where none was deserved. Though oppressors of God’s people, Romans, to whom Paul’s letter was written, were generously given salvation because of God’s love and mercy, not because they were superior and worthy of salvation.
- Only a God with boundless understanding can deal fairly with both faith and unbelief while maintaining a standard of both grace and truth. God generously rewards believers with salvation; they are joined to the vine. Unbelievers who disconnect from their root source, God, are like branches cut away from a tree. Yet, in His mercy, God provides reconnection to the repentant.
- Only a wise God can use sin for His glory. The Jews’ failure to keep covenant with God caused them to reject the Messiah, but it opened the door for the Gospel to be shared with the Gentiles. Israel’s sin did not stifle God’s victory.
- Only a God whose thoughts are abundant in love can provide blessings through which His children can both excel eternally and offer glory unto Him. In fact, Paul says that the Gentiles who have experienced salvation will be part of the motivation that draws Israel back to God. We need these reminders of God’s incredible thoughts toward His people.
Like the Romans, we who were against God and alien from His covenant have been adopted into His family. Our adoption is not because we earned it, but because God loved us so generously that He was willing to make us His children. Sin and its wages are no longer our end. God is still able to use wrongs and mistakes to showcase His righteous glory. Furthermore, if God is able to take the bad of our lives and bring about blessing from it, how much more is He able to use His beautiful, good work in us and for us and through us? If our sin drives us to Him, how much more should the warmth of His presence draw us into closeness and fellowship with Him? As children of God, we become more than we could have ever imagined. Saved and full of purpose. Gifted with everlasting delight and an eternal home. Only a God with such thoughts toward us could make both good and bad profit our lives and our eternity.
It’s unfathomable that the God, whose thoughts are evidenced by the vast discoveries that we see, holds such views of love for us. Psalm 40:5 says, “Many, oh Lord, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order until thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” If God’s thoughts, of which we testify through our understanding of tangible things and spiritual experiences, are so magnanimous, yet so bent toward us, then why would we do less than respond fully to Him? We do not have to be at odds with the Creator who is so far above our comprehension. We can accept His invitation of adoption. Our simple "Yes" of faith connects us with Him, and that's not complex at all.
Tip/Tidbit: What is your response to God’s willingness to adopt you into His family?