As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ ” “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ ” Romans 9:25-26
Paul has been clear. Not all Jews are the true seed of Abraham; only those who come by way of Christ, through faith. Not all Gentiles share in the promises of Abraham either; only those who come by way of Christ, through faith. Each resulting child of God was pre-destined to be the recipient of grace while also exercising free will to choose or reject Christ.
It is of grace that Paul speaks now; the same grace Hosea offered his unfaithful wife, Gomer, after she betrayed his love, walked out to a life of prostitution and ignored his pleas to come home. He even looked after her from afar and made sure her needs were met financially. Patiently, he waited with a broken, longing heart. The analogies to every repentant sinner are humbling.
When I was unfaithful and spurned the love of God, He called out to me. I was His enemy and yet He pleaded, “Come, I’m offering to make you mine and give you a place in my family.”
When I carried on like an unrepentant prodigal, He continued to call me “Beloved” and loved me anyway. Instead of shaming me in public and washing His hands of me, He sacrificed the life of His Son so that I would understand my sin and His love. The hands that could have brought judgment were nailed to the cross instead, offering every sinner the promise of restoration. The story of Gomer (and Israel) is the stunning reminder that no one can mess things up so badly that God ceases to want them. Grace knocks incessantly at the door.
Gomer’s three children bore the names of judgment but You changed their names. You condemn and You restore. You strike and You heal. Bring someone home to You today who has been far away for a long time. Amen