Right With God

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded.

Romans 9:30-31

Romans 9 is not primarily about our personal relationship with God. Rather, it’s part of Paul’s explanation of the surprising outworking of God’s salvation of the world, especially as it relates to Jews and Gentiles. Part of the surprise comes in verses 30-31. The Gentiles, who weren’t even trying to be right with God, were made right through faith. And the Jews, who had tried to get right with God by keeping the law, were not successful. In the end, all people, whether Gentile or Jew, are made right with God by responding in faith to God’s faithfulness in Christ.

Though Romans 9:30-31 directly addresses the issue of how Gentiles and Jews are made right with God, it illustrates our own situation quite fittingly. We too are brought into relationship with God through faith. Our good works will not make us right with God, though they are an outgrowth of the righteousness that comes by faith. Nevertheless, many of us have within us a sense that our relationship with God really depends on what we do, rather than on God’s grace received through faith. Thus, like Israel, we try so hard to get right with God by our own actions, and then wonder what’s wrong when we fail.

The grand story of Jew and Gentile reminds us that our righteousness depends, not on ourselves, but on God’s amazing grace. Thus we are secure in our relationship with God, and through that grace-filled relationship find the ability to do good works for God’s glory.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Do you sometimes feel like you need to earn your righteousness through doing good things for God? What helps you to live each day by faith, trusting in God’s grace?

PRAYER: O Lord, you know how I play out the story of the Jews and Gentiles in my own life. Though I have entered into relationship with you by faith, and though I trust you for my righteousness, still there are times when I try to earn your grace. I know that’s a contradiction in terms, because grace cannot be earned, but only received. Nevertheless, there is something in me that finds your grace too amazing to be believed.

Forgive me, dear Lord, when I reject you and your grace by trying to make myself right by what I do. Help me to trust you more consistently. And when I do the good works you have called me to, may I be motivated by gratitude, not by some mistaken desire to earn your favor.

Finally, thank you for your amazing grace, and for the incredible truth that I receive this grace simply by trusting you. How good you are to me! Hallelujah! Amen.