April 12, 2011 – Could It Be Any Simpler?
Pastor Karen Troxler
As a pastor, I can relate to Paul when he states that his “heart’s desire is for Israel’s salvation.” There is nothing more exciting than to see the people you love and work with become established and grow in their relationship with the Lord. Likewise, there is nothing more heartbreaking than to see people not “get it.”
The Israelites were not “getting it.” It was not that they did not desire God in their lives. On the contrary, Paul says that they were enthusiastic about Him. The problem was that their enthusiasm was not based on the truth. Through Moses, God had given them the Law, the ultimate purpose of which was to point them to Christ; however, they made the Law an end to itself, even adding to it their own nuanced rules. In their mind, this made them more righteous. They began to keep the law for the sake of keeping rules and refused to accept Jesus as the fulfillment of the law.
Relationships can sometimes be “messy,” and we have to work at keeping them intact and growing. If that is true for our human relationships, we might think it is even more complicated with God. For some people, there is comfort in keeping a long list of precisely defined rules, because they believe doing so equates with being in the right place spiritually.
In reality, God makes it easier on us than we do on ourselves. Verse 9 says, “If you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and in your heart you have faith that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Wow, what great news! The even better news is that this righteousness provided by Jesus is available to EVERYONE! Verse 13 contains one of the most exciting promises in scripture, “All who call on the Lord’s name will be saved.” It is comforting to know that we do not have to meet some external, arbitrary criteria to be accepted by God! Unlike our human relationships, we are all on equal footing with Him!
Dear God, help me not promote my own arbitrary criteria that would keep others from knowing your love. Help me share your truth in such a way that it is understood as the good news and the road to true freedom. In your name, I pray. Amen.