I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. Romans 11:1
Even though God took His love and grace to people outside of Israel, does that mean that His grace was closed to Jews? Not at all. Paul used himself as an example. Though he had once been antagonistic to Christ, killing so many who declared themselves to be disciples of Jesus, even he came to faith.
There is always a remnant. God is always looking for those who have a heart that is bent toward him, even in the slightest way. Even though there may be a history of antagonism, of spiritual blindness and failure, God’s love prevails over all of it if I move toward him with my whole heart. Even though God may deal with men harshly, we are not utterly rejected.
Oh, how his love is unlike mine. He woos, keeps his arms extended, through years of slander. He keeps His invitation open though others vow never to respond to it. He sees what a person can be through the life-changing work of the cross even though they love to sin and offend Him. In this astounding age of grace, while His invitation remains open, He offers a long-suffering kind of love that is so un-human-like that it is hard to even write about it here. There are a few people I would describe as incredibly patient with others but patience is marked by months and years rather than decades, lifetimes, and generations.
In one stunning moment, Paul encountered Jesus and his spiritual blindness was cured. God had been waiting for Him. He embraced the One who extended the invitation into grace. While Paul could have had many human reasons for self-hatred throughout his Christian experience, reviewing how he had come against the church and those precious to God, he understood the work of the cross in his life. Though he was humbled by radical forgiveness, he chose to walk in joy rather than to churn in some kind of unproductive remorse about his past.
No unrepentant child, spouse, parent, or friend….is outside the reach of God’s call. Jew or Gentile, patiently waits for His remnant. He is actively waiting for a response, speaking to them with a voice of love.
Even Paul believed. Even I believed. Who will be next? Maybe it’s the one I’m about ready to give up on? Help me remember the miraculous stories of grace. Amen