Chapter nine shares Paul’s sorrow that many Israelites will not make it to heaven. He goes on to explain that the heritage of Abraham was not meant through bloodline or DNA, but by God calling us as chosen children of God. Being a child of God is not something we made happen. God offered this freely, and we have a choice to accept this gift or not.
It seems that God’s choice is strange. Some seem to be saved and others do not. Yet many times it may seem that God is being unjust in who he calls (v13-24). We have to remind ourselves that God sees all things. He knows not just our actions, but everything we think and feel as well as every possibility of our actions, thoughts and feelings. No other being has this capability. He never violates our free will that He gave us. It is a shame that many people will judge God because of what He does, and they themselves end up leaving the faith because they do not understand His ways. Some don’t even want to understand.
Many people just want to live the way they want to, and anything that says no is understood as oppressive. But in fact, doing whatever you want is the very pathway to bondage and regrets. Imagine if everybody just did what they wanted. They stole when they wanted, lied when it was convenient, killed because they followed their passions, and took advantage of people when they felt like and however they felt like it. This world would be awful! There would be no one that you could trust. You would always have to worry all the more if your neighbor was going to steal from you, kill you, lie to you or take advantage of you. Yesterday they may have been fine, but today it might profit them more.
Now imagine a government that did that. Society could never stand. Thank God He has decided to teach us His ways so that society can benefit from it. God is so good to us!
Many people would be upset that many who did works will not be saved, and accuse God of injustice. But what exactly is God asking for? He is asking for our hearts. He gave His heart on the cross when it was pierced. Imagine a spouse who just goes through the motions, but is so emotionally dead to love they could kill a snake with it. Is that what marriage is all about – doing the right things? No, marriage is about the relationship spouses have with each other. So it is with God. Then when spouses do things for each other, it has more meaning.
When we do works for God, does it have meaning? Is what you do, your “obedience,” motivated by your love for Jesus? Have not just your actions, but also your heart, touched His heart? Our relationship with Him most be whole and complete; integrated. This makes our faith whole and integrated. We cannot have just one part of our being involved in our relationship with Jesus. It does not take much for a spouse to figure out their relationship. They can judge it pretty handily. Their whole life is immersed in their relationship with their spouse. The God who sees all things knows even better.
Why would Jesus care? Jesus is not dependent on any one of us. He cares because He loves us. He sees how truly miserable we are. He wanted to come down to us in our misery and heal us, give us peace and ultimately get us to heaven. So He does not benefit from us, we benefit from Him. A pure gift of His love.