I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.
A question to ponder before continuing with the passage is this: Do we feel sorrow and continual grief for our brothers and sisters, fellow countrymen, according to the flesh? Paul is not speaking spiritually here, he is addressing those born into his race, his nation, his country. Do we feel this same anguish for our fellow man? If so, what do we do with it, pray, visit, share? If not, should we?
But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.”
And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.”
What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.
God showed mercy and we reap the benefits. A relationship with the Lord begins with the Lord. What do we know about those who received God’s mercy? Abraham – believed God, spoke to God, Moses – reluctantly obeyed God, talked to God, David – a man after God’s own heart, prayed, sang, focused on God, talked to God. All had in common their conversation with God. At the start of mankind on earth, Adam and Eve in the garden talked with God. In each case, God called them, they were listening and heard — are we listening? They obeyed, believed, worshipped and talked with God. When God comes be listening, respond and thank him for his mercy.
“It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.”
God’s mercy makes our relationship with him possible. It never depended upon anything we’ve done. God’s mercy sent Jesus to the cross and raised him from the dead to provide for our salvation. God’s mercy gave pardon for sin, redemption for the penalty of sin. God’s mercy gives us eternal life with Him. Thank God for his mercy.