In December of last year I mentioned that Romans 8, the great Bible chapter of encouragement, also contains words of warning. If we live according to the sinful nature we will die. This month I would like to point out that Romans 9, the great Bible chapter of fear, also contains words of incredible encouragement.
We read here that God transforms those who are not his people into his people. This is hope beyond hope that God saves his enemies. Read for yourself,
22) What if God, willing to show his wrath and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23) and that he might make known the riches of his glory on vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory, 24) us, whom he also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles? 25) As he says also in Hosea,
"I will call them 'my people,' which were not my people; and her 'beloved,' who was not beloved."
26) "It will be that in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,'
there they will be called 'children of the living God.' "
27) Isaiah cries concerning Israel, "If the number of the children of Israel are as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant who will be saved; 28) for He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, because the LORD will make a short work upon the earth."Romans 9:22-28 (WEB)
Thus, God is able to change the hardened hearts even of those who are fully determined to have nothing to do with him. So, in a way, if someone is determined to remain bitter at God this is bad news for them because if God chooses he will have them singing his praises in a moment. In fact he does this all the time, not by coercion, but by his irresistible goodness. (Please note however, this is not truly bad news, but good news because God is truly good.)
I once heard a big barrel bodied man preach a fiery sermon through Romans 9, but he completely skipped over the verses above. Yet these verses bring both the power and goodness of God to the gospel! We can say with complete confidence, anticipation, and even joyous laughter to the worst enemy of Christ, "Friend, you may have nothing but bitter and angry feelings towards Jesus, but I can guarantee that if God sets his sights on you, you will have only loudest praises for his goodness!" Thankfully the verses above also teach that God is acting quickly!
Is God quickly bringing you to the point of praising Christ?