Romans 10:13 “For whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Observation: These middle chapters of Romans find Paul using a rich variety of metaphors to describe those who are God’s versus those who are not; those who cleave to Him, and those who do not; those who are children of the promise, and those who, by their own decision, are not. A stark dividing line always exists between flesh and spirit. Romans 9:6 makes clear that being born a Jew does not automatically give one an inheritance in God. In 9:25 he quoted Hosea, saying, “I will call these people who were not My people, ‘My people,’ and her who was not My beloved, ‘beloved.’” In this, the extension of the Gospel to Gentiles was prophesied. 

Romans 10:9 gives us the dividing line of history—the separation of those who will spend eternity with Him in His glorious presence from those who will suffer the eternal hell of the damned. It is worth noting that this dividing line has nothing to do with our birth or our earthly citizenship. In 11:2–4, God made clear that He had not abandoned Israel; their temporary rejection of Him was for our benefit, but that will only serve to make their future restoration to Him all the more glorious.

Application: In 9:33 Paul quotes Isaiah as saying, “Behold I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling, a rock of offense.” This is an astonishingly clear summation of the purpose in Christ’s coming—to be a stone I might stumble over. Think of it this way: if my beloved child were chasing a ball unaware into a street, I would rejoice over the protruding tree root that caused her to trip and fall before reaching the traffic. Her bloodied face and wails of pain would be a welcome confirmation that she had been saved. Would I not give thanks over how much worse it might have been? 

Like the tree root, Christ’s ministry is to stop my headlong rush toward eternal disaster, even if He must cause me to stumble to do so. My eternal destiny always comes down to the question of how I respond to the claims of Christ. I am either a son or daughter of the king, or I have no inheritance at all. No justification for my continuing anger over the unfairness of my circumstances will be excused. No amount of energy applied to railing against God will prevent His having the final word. His ministry is this: if I am offendable, He is committed to exposing it; how else could that be done except to bring offense, so as to test my response?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, as offenses come, I know I have much work to do to have a response grounded in Your pure love. Thank You for testing that lets me and those around me measure both improvement and setback. Thank You for not giving up on me.