Rest Assured: What God Has Given, He Will Not Take Away!

Image via Flickr With Modifications

Image via Flickr With Modifications

Paul, in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, reveals a very important mystery to us here. The Roman Christians were in danger of getting too full of themselves, of beginning to see themselves as better than the Jews, for they had accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ as the Jews were rejecting it. They needed to be confronted with the challenge that, “God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” This is as true for the Jews as it is for Christians.

This message of Paul to the Romans remains vitally important for us today as well. As Christians, we who have received the irrevocable gift of the Holy Spirit through our baptisms, are also irrevocably called by God to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the whole world. We are called to do so by living Christ-like lives marked by a vibrant and vigorous faith in God, an unconditional love for all of God’s creation, as well as hospitality, generosity, patience, mercy and kindness toward all of God’s children. We are to be filled with courage and justice in all things. We are to do this, “until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved.” (verses 25-26) You see, God has not, and will not, forget his people. Paul, through the Holy Spirit, challenges we Christians to remember God’s love for his beloved Chosen People too, by answering his irrevocable call to love and serve God in all things.

We, therefore, cannot separate ourselves from our Jewish brothers and sisters. The God of creation chose to come into the world through them. He prepared them for his coming into the world through the prophets from the time of the Patriarchs. He has remained true to them from the time of Abraham, forgiving them their transgressions over and over, again and again, just as he still does for us today. He has not forgotten them. His love for them has not diminished, no more than his love for us has since the time of Christ, even though we too have sinned against him.

What God has given will not be taken away. It is also true that his call to us to love one another as he loves us, is irrevocable. His challenge to us remains the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. This, then, is the great mystery: God’s love for all of his children, his great gift of Christ and his salvation to the world, is irrevocable. He cannot, and will not, take it back. And here is our greatest challenge as Christians: His call for us to participate in the salvation of the world, to be Christ for one another, without distinction or discrimination, is also irrevocable. Paul tells us with perfect clarity: “As far as the gospel is concerned, they (the Jews) are enemies for our sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts are irrevocable.” In other words, we are all in this together.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.