Happy New Year all!
I realize I haven’t been blogging much the past couple of weeks because of the winter holidays, but God willing, I should be starting to get back into the swing of things again.
It is so easy, sometimes, to forget the very grace that we stand on and to look down on others.
The Roman Christians apparently very tempted to do so when they thought about the Jews who had rejected Jesus.
But Paul warns them against such pride throughout this chapter.
He reminds them of the pride of Elijah, who complained that he was the only one following after God. And God had to sharply rebuke him, saying, “No, you aren’t the only spiritual one. There are 7000 others.”
Elijah too, forgot at times the grace on which he stood. God didn’t choose Elijah as his own because Elijah was somehow better than those around him. God chose him out of his grace. Paul emphasizes this, saying,
In the same way, then, there is also at the present time a remnant chosen by grace. Now if by grace, then it is not by works; otherwise grace ceases to be grace. (5-6)
Paul is specifically talking about a remnant of Jews, but all of us who belong to God are chosen the same way: by grace.
And so Paul warns us,
…do not boast that you are better than those branches (the unbelieving Jews). But if you do boast—you do not sustain the root, but the root sustains you. (18)
Do not be arrogant, but beware, because if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. (20-21)
Are you tempted to look down on others? Not just unbelievers, but believers? Do you think you are somehow better than they? Maybe you serve more at church. Maybe you are more spiritually “mature.”
Remember the grace on which you stand. And be humble.
For as Paul concludes,
And who has ever given to God,
that he should be repaid?
For from him and through him
and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever. Amen. (35-36)