The Unwavering Mercy of God in Christ.

God created human beings to know Him. Though we fell into sin, which separates us from Him, God has prepared a way for every person to return to a relationship with Him. The image of God can still be seen in people's moral, rational, spiritual, and personal components. Fallen nature tries to work its way back to friendship and reconciliation with God. This is the essence of religion. However, the Bible teaches that the only way back to God is through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Religious people still need to be born again. Paul, the writer of Romans, grew up in religion and became a teacher of the Jewish law. His religious ways seemed right to him, even to the point of persecuting Christians. But God opened his eyes to Jesus as narrated in Acts 9:1-31. In a world where everyone does what is right in their own eyes, God's way is the simplest way and the only one that will lead back to Him.

Romans 9-11 describes Paul's burden for his religious friends and family who were still stuck in trying to earn God's favor. Their sincerity often gives way to stubbornness.

God's plan is forever personal (Romans 11:1-4).

Paul distinguishes between national and spiritual Israel in verses 1-2. God foreknew those of Israel who would trust in Christ for salvation instead of their good works. (Review our studies of Romans 8-9 for details on God's foreknowledge.) His plan is unchanging, and it will come to pass. His plan is detailed to the personal level for us as it was for Paul. God works one soul at a time to save whole groups of people. Never give up on anyone.

In Romans 11:2-4, Paul references the story of Elijah to encourage those who are burdened for religious unsaved people. You are not alone in trying to share Christ. God's intent for Elijah is the same for you: to save and strengthen you to be an ambassador of the Gospel.

In future weeks, we will study God's progressing and permanent plan in Romans 11:5-10.

Application Points

  • Do you have religious family or friends who are still trying to earn their way back to God? Never stop praying that God opens their eyes to His simple way.
  • In your interactions with religious people, proclaim Jesus Christ as the only way to be reconciled with God.
  • If you have been born again, praise God that His eternal plan included you!
  • Be encouraged: you're not alone in seeking to share Christ. Take joy from the gathering of fellow believers each week, and pray with one another about your burden for religious people who are unsaved.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Colossians 2:9 – Christ is the only perfect representation of God.
  • Romans 2:17-29 – The law is not sufficient to save.
  • 1 Kings 19:1-18 – Elijah's discouragement and the Lord's response.
A Hymn to Encourage: "My Hope Is in the Lord"

My hope is in the Lord Who gave Himself for me
And paid the price of all my sin at Calvary.

For me He died, For me He lives,
And everlasting life and light He freely gives.

No merit of my own His anger to suppress,
My only hope is found in Jesus’ righteousness.

And now for me He stands before the Father’s throne.
He shows His wounded hands and names me as His own.

His grace has planned it all, ‘Tis mine but to believe,
And recognize His work of love and Christ receive.