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Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered, O offspring of Abraham, his servant, children of Jacob, his chosen ones!


He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth. He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac, which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, "To you I will give the land of Canaan as your portion for an inheritance."


When they were few in number, of little account, and sojourners in it, wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people, he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account, saying, "Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!(ESV)

Doesn't Everyone?

Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany 

29 July 2015

The Gentiles are latecomers to the banquet of salvation. For God had chosen the people of ancient Israel, giving to them the divine promises and the perfect seal of His Word given to Moses and the prophets. He promised that he would bless them through the Offspring given to Abraham. The messianic line was given to the patriarchs and fulfilled in these last days by the incarnation of God's Son. Those who ought to have depended on the promise begin to depend upon themselves instead. Their own works of righteousness became substitutes for the work of the Offspring, who would be their perfect substitute.


Sometimes, we think that we may not presume upon God's good grace in Christ: "Far be it from me to expect God to be gracious to me and forgive me!" But that is a presumption that God desires us to make. It is the presumption that is the basis for our whole life and existence. Our self-generated piety warns us away from presuming on the person and work of the Messiah, Jesus. We often think that "Jesus has done His work, now it is up to me to prove myself worthy of receiving His benefits." If that is our game, we shall always fail at it. If we act this way, of what true gift could we ever be worthy? No one merits a gift; for then it would not be a gift. This is equally true for both the Jew and the Gentile. The Jews have had far greater blessings than we Gentiles. Yet that we Gentiles were included under grace makes clear the way of salvation for all persons; whether they be Jew or Gentile. We must presume upon God's grace, because it is based on the promise He made to Abraham, the patriarchs, and all the prophets and fulfilled in His Son, Jesus Christ. To refuse to presume upon it, is to call God a liar and to expect him to go back on his great promise. This is out and out unbelief; and unbelief of the worst sort.


We Gentiles are doubly blessed, then, because we have been grafted into the root of Jesse through faith in Christ. The messianic family has become our family; and all very clearly by grace. We have no connection of a physical or genetic sort with the messianic line; yet we are truly brothers with Christ by adoption into the family of the Messiah. The outstretched arms of Christ on the cross draw together the people of the Old Testament and the people of the New Testament into one unified community under one Lord and God. There is no more Jew nor Gentile (Gal 3:28). Maybe we could say that the Gentiles have more to give thanks for, but doesn't everyone?


John Chrysostom


"'For I tell you that Christ became a servant of circumcision to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy' (Rm 15:8-9). Paul is speaking of Christ's concern for us, still maintaining the same topic, and showing what great things He has done for us, and how "He did not please Himself" (Rm 15:3). Furthermore, Paul makes the point that the Gentiles are debtors to a greater degree to God. And if to a greater degree, then they ought to bear with the weak among the Jews. Since he had spoken very strongly to them, lest this should make the Gentiles puffed up, he humbles their unreasonableness, by showing that it was by 'promises given to the patriarchs' that they had the good things given to them. The Gentiles received these good things solely out of pity and love. This is why he says, 'in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.'


"To understand clearly, we should listen once more to the words themselves, that you may see what it means that Christ is a ' servant to circumcision to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs .' What then is being stated? There was a promise made to Abraham, saying, 'In your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed' (Gn 22:18). But after this, those who were the offspring of Abraham all became subject to punishment. For the law worked wrath upon them by being transgressed, and from then on the law deprived them of that promise made unto the fathers. Therefore, the Son came and worked with the Father, in order that those promises might come true, and have their result. For having fulfilled the whole law in which He also fulfilled circumcision, and having by it, and by the Cross, freed them from the curse of the transgression, He did not permit this promise to fall to the ground. When then Paul calls Him "a servant to circumcision," he means, that by having come and fulfilled the Law, being circumcised, and born of the seed of Abraham, He undid the curse, and stilled the anger of God. He also made those who were toreceive the promises fit for them, being once for all freed from their alienation from God.

John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans, 28.1

Lord Jesus Christ, You are the Messiah for all persons. Help us to presume upon Your person and work for our salvation that we may repose quietly in Your care and be certain of our adoption into Your family by grace. Free us from the misplaced piety that is unbelief. Send Your Spirit to us, that we might cast ourselves into your gracious hands certain that all of God's promises are fulfilled in You. Amen.


For all those who travel, that they would be kept safe by the God who sent Abraham and Sarah on their sojourn


For Robert Frerking, who is suffering from dementia, that he might be kept under God's care and in the mind of Christ


For every husband and wife, that the Lord would be with them, strengthening them and blessing their family life together

Art: D ürer, Albrecht   The Adoration of the Trinity (1515)  

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