I will Call Them My People Who Are Not My People—Romans 9:24-26
"Even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? As he says in Hosea: "I will call them 'my people' who are not my people; and I will call her 'my loved one' who is not my loved one," and, "It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God'" (Romans 9:24-26)
What marvelous grace is this that we should be called sons and daughters of the living God? What a wonderful thing to be called not only from among the Jews but from the Gentiles as well. God's amazing redemption plan has provided a way for us to come to him and receive grace and mercy when we alone were hopeless. Paul started this chapter with a desire that his own people of Israel would recognize Jesus as their Messiah and come to him ( Romans 9:1-3 ). However as a whole they have rejected this and so Paul lays out evidence that only those who belong to Jesus belong to the promise spoken to Abraham ( Romans 9:8 ). Paul shows the severity of rejecting salvation through Jesus and demonstrates Gods patience towards them in turning away from such a gift ( Romans 9:22-23 ).
In today's passage he shows from Old Testament scripture that the Gentiles redemption through faith in Jesus has always been a part of the plan. God has called and chosen a people both from the Jews and from the Gentile nations. Hosea prophesied this very thing, "I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called 'Not my loved one. ' I will say to those called 'Not my people, ' 'You are my people'; and they will say, 'You are my God.' " ( Hosea 2:23 ). What an amazing truth this is. God calls the nobodies and makes them some bodies. Previously everyone outside of the Jewish nation was disregarded as completely separate and incapable of being part of the promise. But God looked upon us and called us His beloved and then went one step further and called us sons of the living God.
This is a hard thing for the Jews to understand and reconcile in their hearts. They do belong to a wonderful heritage of covenants, promises and patriarchs but this alone does not save ( Romans 9:4-5 ). John the Baptist told the teacher of the Law who questioned him, "And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire" ( Matthew 3:9-10 ). It is not the natural children that are Abrahams seed and heirs of the promise, inclusion in the promise only comes by faith in Jesus ( Romans 9:8 ). And God has opened this offer to all of humanity and has raise a people set apart for himself.
There is a parallel for us today, many people think that just because they go to church and recite liturgies, the Apostles Creed and the Lord's prayer that this is all that God desires from them. Many rest securely in belonging to a church and attending regularly. However Jesus said in Revelation, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth" ( Revelation 3:15-16 ). What an awakening this will be. God does not desire your rituals and obligation, he desires your heart. He looks over the multitudes of people which cannot be counted and says to those who put their trust in him, you are my children ( Hosea 1:10 ). He has redeemed us from and empty way of life such as this, Peter said, "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God ( I Peter 1:18-21 ). Our hope is in Jesus not in attending church and responsive readings, belonging to God only comes through faith in Jesus and in a changed heart.
Today, I am blessed to be counted among God's children and among his chosen people in the world. It is my prayer that you understand your position of grace in His kingdom and that everything you do flows out of a heart for the Lord. May you continue to grow in His grace, amen!
Original article published January 17, 2010.