Day 57: Road to Repentance

Read: Romans 11:11-16

I know a young man, Eric* who had a son outside of marriage. Eric loved his son and the gift of fatherhood, but his relationship with his son’s mother, Tracy* was bad. Very bad. He was often bitter towards her, even to the point of despising her very presence at times.

            One day, just to irritate her, Eric came up with a plan to make Tracy jealous: He tried to form a better relationship with his son’s grandmother, aka Tracy’s mother. Their relationship had never been good, but Eric set out to change that.

       His plan was to win Tracy’s mother over with kindness, and free food. He would show up at her apartment with delicious meals like barbecue links, macaroni and cheese, baked chicken wings with mashed potatoes and gravy, pizza puffs with cheese fries … he went so far as to call her, asking what she would like for her next meal.

Soon enough, his relationship with Tracy’s mother was at an all-time high. This frustrated her, she was furious, bitter, and jealous. Eric’s plan was working as Tracy was feeling the pain of being overlooked by the person she should’ve been in deep communion with, in the first place.

            In Romans 11:11-16, the apostle Paul addresses the Gentile situation in Rome. He is pointing out that Israel, the original recipient of God’s love and devotion, was now jealous that God had extended grace and salvation to the Gentiles.

The word “gentiles” here refers to anyone who was not Jewish. And in this section of the letter, Paul points to how God was working out His mysterious plan of redemption by provoking Israel, His rebellious but chosen people, to be jealous of the Gentiles who had became recipients of God’s saving love, despite their past identity as pagan rebels. How could they deserve His affection?

            Paul says that God’s act wasn’t a random occurrence, but rather a unique part of His plan. Since Israel decided to turn their backs on God, God decided to turn His love toward the Gentiles.

Israel’s rejection will eventually turn to acceptance, because their jealousy will lead them into repentance, bringing to completion God’s saving plan of unifying believers in Christ across multiple ethnic distinctions (Romans 11:15).

*Names changed for their privacy

Take some time today to think about God’s awesome intelligence. Ponder on His ability to unify billions of people through the death and resurrection of Jesus, binding them together through one Spirit. Because of our relationship with Jesus, we can take daily pleasure in reading His Word and being in His presence, and we are able to hear and understand His voice.

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