Monday, 13 January 2014
And again he says:
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!” Romans 15:10
This is a direct quote from Deuteronomy 32:43 which comes from the Song of Moses. This is the last verse of the Song of Moses which is a poetic snapshot of the coming history of the nation of Israel. In particular, this song is actually a scathing indictment on the apostasy Moses foresaw would come upon them. It speaks of their rebellion, turning away from the Lord, and His resulting judgment. And after all of the strong words of condemnation and doom, the song ends with restoration –
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people;
For He will avenge the blood of His servants,
And render vengeance to His adversaries;
He will provide atonement for His land and His people.”
What is clear is that God is faithful and covenant keeping, even when His people turn away from Him. He will never reject them or utterly destroy them, thus violating His promises to them. This glorious God who is truthful to His covenant people Israel (verse 15:8) is also merciful to the Gentiles (verse 15:9). And so together, Jew and Gentile are asked to “receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God (verse 15:7). The idea is that truly, in Christ, there is no favoritism. He is the Lord of Jew and Gentile and therefore we are to receive each other just as Christ has received us.
It is important to not separate what Paul is trying to tell us from the overall context of what he has been giving instruction on. Throughout chapter 14 and the opening of chapter 15, he has been educating the church on “doubtful matters.” These come about based on who we are as individuals coming into the body of Christ. Jews may find some things difficult; gentiles other things. We are to accept one another’s shortcomings just as Christ has accepted us. If He has received someone, then how can we reject them? And so Jew should not look down on Gentile nor should Gentile look down on Jew over doubtful matters. Instead, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people.” Together, we can all give glory to God for His truth and mercy.
Life application: Instead of tearing others within the body down over “doubtful matters,” let us glorify God who has called us, despite our failings, into the body of Christ. Let us glorify God for His bestowal of favor upon His people.
Lord God, You received me despite my many years of failing. I walked a crooked and unsound path in life and yet You washed those years and those many sins away. And even now today, how often I fail You! But in Your rich mercy You sent Jesus to cover it all. In Him is pardon and in Him is full-redemption. I have no fear, just gratitude… immense gratitude. Thank You for Jesus! Amen.