What God Has Not Done (and Cannot Do)
March 1, 2020
Rejection is hard. No one wants to be rejected and most people don’t like telling people, “No.” Sometimes saying, “no” is unavoidable, though. For instance, editors regularly have to tell authors “no” to book or article ideas. Here is how Brian Doyle, editor of the University of Portland’s Portland Magazine learned to say no —
Thank you for your lovely and thoughtful submission to the magazine, which we are afraid we are going to have to decline, for all sorts of reasons. The weather is dreary, our backs hurt, we have seen too many cats today and as you know cats are why God invented handguns, there is a sweet incoherence and self-absorption in your piece that we find alluring but we have published far too many of same in recent years mostly authored by the undersigned, did we mention the moist melancholy of the weather, our marriages are unkempt and disgruntled, our children surly and crammed to the gills with a sense of entitlement that you wonder how they will ever make their way in the world, we spent far too much money recently on silly graphic design and now must slash the storytelling budget, our insurance bills have gone up precipitously, the women’s basketball team has no rebounders, an aunt of ours needs a seventh new hip, the shimmer of hope that was the national zeitgeist looks to be nursing a whopper of a black eye, and someone left the toilet roll thing empty again, without the slightest consideration for who pays for things like that. And there were wet towels on the floor. And the parakeet has a goiter. And the dog barfed up crayons. Please feel free to send us anything you think would fit these pages, and thank you for considering our magazine for your work. It’s an honor. –Editors [Letters of Note]
Now that’s a creative way to let someone down easily. But even when done with gentleness, rejection hurts. But there is a kind of rejection that is much worse than a “hurt” — it is the rejection that comes from God that leads to eternal condemnation and wrath from Him. There is no way to gauge or measure that kind of infinite terror. And that’s the fear that the apostle Paul anticipates in Romans 11. Israel has rejected God (10:19, 21); does that mean that God will then reject Israel? Paul answers unhesitatingly, “No!” God’s people may have rejected Him, but that does not mean that God has rejected them. He made a promise to be their eternal God, and He will not and He cannot renege on that promise.
God is faithful to keep His covenant with His chosen nation, Israel.
God is faithful to keep His promises with all His chosen people.
In these verses Paul offers five demonstrations of God’s faithfulness to Israel (and to all His people).
- God’s Faithfulness is Demonstrated in Paul’s Salvation (v. 1)
- God’s Faithfulness is Demonstrated in God’s Choice of Israel (v. 2a)
- God’s Faithfulness is Demonstrated in Elijah’s Vain Request (vv. 2b-4)
- God’s Faithfulness is Demonstrated in God’s Current Remnant (v. 5)
- God’s Faithfulness is Demonstrated in the Nature of Grace (v. 6)
Download the rest of this sermon on Romans 11:1-6.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.