Romans

Day 26: God’s Kindness and Severity

Romans 11:1-24, Hosea 14:4-7, Ephesians 2:8-9


It’s an odd thing when fans of a team say, “We won.” Did we? Sure, our favorite team may have won the series, the game, or what have you—but the fans? Did they win too? In a real way, yes they did. They were a part of the experience. There was a bond between the team and its fans, which facilitated a shared moment of joy.

But imagine a fan bragging about his victory more than the team’s MVP does. Picture him filled with pride, talking himself up, discounting Tom Brady’s feats in the Super Bowl, or LeBron James’s guts in the NBA Finals. It seems a bit ridiculous, doesn’t it?

As crazy as it seems to think that we not only help our teams win, but deserve the trophy too—how insane is it for us overlook God’s grace when we think about our own standing in this life?

The Lord’s offer to save sinners through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is a total act of God. Our efforts bring nothing to His saving grace. We can’t muscle our way into the New Covenant. God’s kindness is at work in our salvation. He sustains us. This is what we celebrate. His victory is our victory.

As men, we are often tempted to compare ourselves to others, seeking a little ego boost to make ourselves feel better. We wrongly think we are more worthy of salvation than others. We may even believe God saved us because of all the great things we offer to His cause. But salvation is about a God who is rich in mercy, even when we were dead in our sins.

Paul reminds us that apples don’t keep the apple tree going. The fruit doesn’t sustain the root. It works the other way around. There is no place for pride in the Christian life. We boast, not in ourselves, but in the cross—in Christ’s death for our sins (Galatians 6:14).

Whenever we are tempted to crank up our self-importance, we must remember that God’s kindness is what justifies our entire lives. Knowing the gospel, reading and enjoying the Bible, serving in the Lord’s name—these are all launched and sustained by His kindness. God gets the credit. He saved you. He is saving you. He will save you.

Enjoy and exult in God’s kindness. Rely on His strength. It’s the only way to live.

Written by J. A. Medders