I just finished reading Romans today and just finished talking to my LIfe Group about an epiphany I had in Romans 9-11. I could say so much about what I learned about election, predestination, and foreknowledge...but more than anything I learned that God was trying to talk to Israel about how hurt he was that they were chosen and yet they were letting that lead to "I'm special" that led to entitlement. As a result, he chose to harden their hearts and open "full inclusiveness" (favorite two words in the reading today) to enrich the whole world expressed in his extension to the Gentiles. He did this to cause the Jews to be envious arousing their recognition of "His mercy".
They were so chilled in their "choseness", that he chose to "do the opposite of normal" by "loving Jacob" and "hating Esau"...nothing to do with hate and love, everything to do with Jews and Gentiles and how he would reverse the natural election and selection opening the door for "the unchosen" to be "chosen" and for the "chosen" to be "unchosen". If you think I'm speaking heresy, read through chapters 9-11 and check out how many times he talks of things like "you are descendants of Abraham, but not the real ones...and...you are Israel, but not the real Israel...and...I will make the nation, not a nation...and...the loved ones not the loved ones...and...the grafted ones from the cultivated olive tree cut off....and...the wild branches grafted in....and on and on and on he goes trying to challenge choseness and exclusivity, and to do crazy stuff like making them "bound to disobedience" as Israelites in ordero to get them to accept "mercy" by faith...a big deal to God. No more accepting him "by law" and "by rights"...he wants them to accept him "by love" and "by mercy"...I don't know where to stop, but I think I'll write on this subject in depth and detail after I complete the New Testament.
All this so say...I love that God wants the chosen people to choose him like the Gentiles, to move toward his "kindness" so that they, too, aren't "cut off". He wants them to want him, even if that desire is provoked by mere jealousy in the Gentiles.
I need a Savior. I haven't said that much since I asked Jesus to come into my heart when I was five. I suppose it's because I believed that once you're saved, you don't ask to be saved again, because you can't lose your salvation. Logically, this makes sense if logic is your compass.
But somewhere I've grown to believe something else....something quite important. I believe that I need to be saved every day of my life, every minute of the day, every second of the minute, every moment of the second. Something inside me still cries out for a Savior to come to my aid and rescue me from myself and my broken surroundings. I may even be more desperate for salvation post-conversion than pre- The misconception is that salvation is solely "eternal security" related. Not so. Salvation is the desperate need of any person living eternity in the present. You can't survive the kingdom life without a daily salvation experience shielding you from the perils that seek to take you out. "Father, save me" must become a regular and routine piece of my conversation with God in order to wage war as I ought. (Everything I just said doesn't apply to the converted soul killing time until the rapture.) If you're trying to do something redemptive in the here and now with an "overcome evil with good" mindset, you can't help but cry out for salvation each and every day. It seems to me that it would become as common a response as the gag reflex.
That's why I find my heart as burdened for the lost believer as I do the lost unbeliever. The one needs to be born again, the other needs to be reborn again. The one needs a vision of God, the other needs a revision of God. Both need to be saved...and the salvation will produce similar results. If you're around church folk much, what you will find is that under the veneer of a thoughtless assent to trusting God, there is a soul that doesn't trust God as far as they could throw him. A good many Christians have just as much trouble believing God as secular humanists...they simply attend church on the weekends just in case. You know why I know this...because inside my own churchy skin I wrestle with this very angst. I resonate with the man who said to Jesus, "I believe, only help my unbelief." That makes as much sense to me as anything in between Genesis and Revelation. I respresent that remark. And so I know what it feels like to be an unbeliever even as I rest in the security of my salvation. I need saved just as much as Joe Skeptical...because there dwells in all of us a Skeptic in disguise.
I need saved from my pride and my false humility.
I need saved from my talents and my put on performance.
I need saved from my knowledge and my know it all facade.
I need saved from my selfishness and my false compassion.
I need saved from my lust and my false vulnerability.
I need saved from my greed and my fake oaths to poverty.
I need saved from my self sufficiency and my mask of interdependence.
I need saved from my intolerace and my false flexibility.
I need saved from my judgementalism and my front of impartiality.
I need saved from my lies and my half truths.
I need saved from my anger and my sugar coated passion.
I need saved from my jealousy and my false compliments.
I need saved from my flesh and my dressed up flesh.
We all do.
So I'm making a declaration of my need for salvation today...and everyday from now until the Lord sees fit to terminate my occupation of this planet. I need his salvation more now than the day I first believed. Because for some reason, I slip into unbelief faster than I would like to admit it, even though I just did. Save me, today, dear Jesus...Save me from myself.
I am moved by your mercy. Thank you for Romans 9-11. I've always avoided it cause I didn't understand it...now I'm drawn to it because I finally do.