Midweek Wake-Up, March 25, 2015
The observation that the Christ centred believers here in of North America, and even here in southern Manitoba, have become the minority can feel daunting and scary. We may fear that just as the “remnant” of Israel, those few believers in Christ who were chosen by grace, were persecuted and ostracized by the majority in the Jewish nation, so we too may be treated. When the “religious unbelievers” in the Church become the majority, the true believers have reason to be concerned about their well being.
But it is interesting that Paul does not lament over the hardships of being a part of the minority. Instead he laments over the fact that the majority have not believed the Good News. Romans 9:2-3 “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race,”
Clearly Paul’s desire for the unbelieving to find Faith exceeded his concern over any loss of comfort and persecution he would feel if they didn’t. If self-preservation was his priority, he wouldn’t have entertained the thought of being cursed in their place!
But there is more than just that. In the last half of Romans 11 Paul shows us a future full of hope. Just as God had been faithful in preserving a minority, so too God would be faithful in pursuing the unbelieving majority. Romans 11:31-32 “Just as you (the gentile believers of Rome) who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you.”
It is a great privilege to be a part of the “remnant”. These are the ones kept by God. Literally selected for his glory. And, while God does bless and protect His chosen ones, the purpose of their selection is not for their physical comfort. It is is so that the glory and love of Christ can be displayed. It is so they can shine in the night like a city on a hill. So they can hold the lampstand (like that held by the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2).
May those in the remnant rebuke the temptation to be filled with fear, but instead be filled with awe that they have been chosen by God in His mercy. And may they see their purpose – desiring to bring light to the lost around them. And may they not forget their first love – putting Jesus’s first commandment first: “Loving the Lord their God with all their heart and with all their soul and with all their mind and with all their strength.” (Mark 12:30)