Chosen by Grace

This particular series of devotions will end December 7th as I return to the pulpit and post sermons again now that my new grandson is happily situated at home with his parents.  We’re praising God for His grace and mercy… and also thank you for understanding this important life event for me personally.  But it’s been important to continue our study of Acts of the Holy Spirit and the Apostles. In the flow of Acts, Peter is in midst of giving a sermon about the Messianic expectations.

Acts 3:22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’ 24 “Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. 25 And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ 26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

Genealogy will only take people so far.  Good behavior will only take people so far.  We can find all kinds of things to rely upon to save us.  None of them are sufficient to be our Messiah.

But the Jews are the Chosen People, right?  Heirs of the promise, right?

Well, the Chosen People weren’t chosen because they were better, but only because God chose to choose them.

Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

The Messiah, Jesus Christ, was to come from the Chosen People.  Mary, a devout Jew, bore the Messiah.  But entrance into heaven is a function of grace, forgiveness, and faith.  Being heirs makes no difference unless we claim that inheritance.

That’s why in verse 26, Peter says,

Acts 3:26 When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”

Jesus was sent first to the Jews in accordance with their Chosen status.  What was Jesus’ message?

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” 

Repentance is our first step along the path to receiving the inheritance.  Everything else was done for us already.  Jesus paid for our sins and now all we can do is repent and believe.

Matthew 4:13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali– 14 to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: 15 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles– 16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” 17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

It is through God’s grace that we are chosen.  It is by His Son Jesus that we can be forgiven. It is by the gift of faith and the response of repentance that we turn from our wicked ways, whether Chosen as Jews or Chosen as Gentiles.  Any of us who wish to claim the inheritance will turn from our wicked ways recognizing that we are all Chosen by Grace.

Questions for pondering:

  1. In our Acts passage, why do you think God sent Jesus to the Jews first?
  2. When Scripture (above) says that these Jews ARE heirs of the prophets and of the Covenant, what does that say about Jews today?  Are they still heirs of the prophets and the Covenant?  What must they do to claim this inheritance?
  3. Is there a difference between how the Jews are saved and how the rest of us are saved?  (I’ll give you the answer on this one: NO).
  4. Why can there not be many roads to salvation?  Why must all of us come through the Savior, Jesus Christ?

Carol Me, Christmas (2014 Advent Devotional Series) will begin November 30th.  If you haven’t signed up yet, you can receive these devotional studies in your email throughout Advent 2014 by entering your email address on the home page in the space provided in the sidebar.  Or “Like” the SeminaryGal Facebook page to access them there.

repent for the kingdom of heaven is near

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on November 26, 2014

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