It is a privilege to be saved, but it is not a reason to be arrogant. We may boast, but we cannot boast in ourselves. We can only boast in Jesus Christ. He saved us, we didn’t. It was God’s great boundless grace which saved us, not our work but His.
Yet, I have seen and maybe I’ve felt it at sometimes, Christians who act as if the world is made up of fools and that as God’s children they are better than the world. I get weary of seeing the hateful messages from people who proclaim Christ yet elevate themselves and degrade the lost. It is not love to demean people and we are supposed to love (John 13:34-35). Some people who claim to be Christians use religion as an excuse for anti-Semitism and other bigotries. God is not an anti-Semite, He does not hate the Jewish people. He chose them. He calls them His treasured possession. Look what He says about Israel in Deuteronomy 7:6
For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
If we truly love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, then we will cherish what and who He cherishes. Some people claim God rejected Israel when they rejected Him. But that is a fallacy. It is a lie to keep our focus on honoring ourselves and dishonoring others instead of honoring The LORD. Paul says it like this in verses 1-6,
I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” 4 But what is God's reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
The Lord has always kept a remnant of Israel for Himself. From Elijah and the seven thousand to Paul, Peter, James, and John to people like me the Jewish believers who live today. God chooses and calls whom He will and He will show His grace and mercy on whom He chooses (Exodus 33:19). Salvation is His. The Lord has His reasons, His ways are not our ways; His thinking is much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). He has a plan. He is the beginning and the end and He knows the beginning and the end (Revelation 22:13, Mark 13:32). Isaiah 46:9-11 reads,
remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
10 declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
11 calling a bird of prey from the east,
the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it.
It is wonderful to be saved, but we didn’t save ourselves. Our part in salvation was submitting to God. God did and does the rest. God called us and opened our eyes to the Jesus. Jesus lived, died, and rose from the dead for us. The Father adopted us. The Holy Spirit indwells and transforms us. Do you know that even the people who rejected Christ, who couldn’t see the truth of who He is played a part in making the way for salvation open to you? Verses 7-16 read,
What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written,
“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that would not see
and ears that would not hear,
down to this very day.”
9 And David says,
“Let their table become a snare and a trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them;
10 let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see,
and bend their backs forever.”
11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!
13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? 16 If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
God adores us and He chose us, but He loves the lost too. We are not more worthy than they are. We are not better. God allowed us to come to know Him and He wants them to come to know Him too. He is calling them. They are lost in unawareness of who The Lord is. Their eyes are closed and their hearts are hard, just like ours used to be. Was it hate and humiliation that brought you to God? Did someone argue about how right they were and wrong and stupid you were to tell you about the love of Jesus? Did name calling bring you to the point where you called on Jesus’ name? Of course not. It was love in action that broke your stone heart. It was the Word of God lived out that made the scales fall from your eyes.
We were not always adopted into God’s family. God transplanted us from the princedom of the world into the Kingdom of Heaven. He made us a part of Him. In John 14:18-21 Jesus described the unity with God like this,
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
The Son is in the Father, believers in the Son, and the Son in believers. It is a concept that is beyond our human thinking, one that hurts my head when I try to envision it. Paul used one of Jesus’ favorite illustrations to describe it, that of the branches and the vine (Matthew 21:33-46, John 15:1-11). Verses 17-24 say,
But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.
God grafted you in. He didn’t have to. He broke of some of the natural branches and put you in their place. Do you realize that He could have made salvation come by birth if He had chosen that way? He could have said all of Jacob’s descendants and no one else would be saved. But He gave the whole world the opportunity for salvation through Jesus Christ. It is God who made the way for you to know Him. It was not and is not us. Verses 25-27 read,
Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
27 “and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”
If some of Israel had not rejected Jesus as Messiah, would the Gospel have ever made it to gentiles? If the Pharisees had not been so set on saving themselves through the law, would the apostles have spread the Word of God to the world? Verses 28-32 read,
As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy.32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.
God chose Israel and called them His treasured possession; He has not changed His mind. God cherishes them. We are not better than anyone else. Our salvation has nothing to do with our own efforts. The Lord cherishes you as well. He has chosen to heap grace and mercy on you. He has called you a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9). He has called you friend (John15:15). He has called you sons and daughters (2 Corinthians 6:18). Do not forget that. God has not and will not change His mind! We may not understand why God does what He does, but we don’t have to understand it, we only need to trust Him. Verses 33-36 read,
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
You were made from God, through Him and for Him and so was Israel, every lost person, every single person on this earth. Give God the glory for who you are, not yourself.