“Wrestling With Romans”
Count Your Blessings (Chapter 11 Verses 11-24)
The way to consider this (vv22-24)? If you focus upon the kindness of God toward you, you who were far away from God, with no hope in the world (Ephesians 2.12), this ought to fill your heart with gratitude towards God and thus keep you from pride, self-glorying and false security. Then on the other hand, consider if you will, the sternness of God, in his dealings with Israel, the nation he chose to be his own? We need a healthy view of God’s sternness as well as a healthy view of God’s love, we are kept by both. It is only by grace through faith we stand (1Corinthians 10.12). Of a truth we see Jews being converted today don’t we, for God is able to graft them in (v23), if they believe they will be added, and of course how much more naturally do they fit in to the scheme of things (v24), because it’s where they always belonged, it’s where they should have been. It’s not that a Jew is more easily saved than say an utter Pagan, it takes the same powerful grace to save both, but with the Pagan you have to start from scratch, not so with the Jew (v24).
The consideration of God’s kindness to us is of the utmost importance however (v22). For this reason, we need to stay healthy spiritually. It’s impossible to get a shot of physical health once and for all, you’ve got to keep at it all the time, you leave off, and down goes your health. So too in the spiritual realm. Now we can enjoy a heart experience, a spiritual shot, but unless we develop good spiritual habits our spiritual health will not be maintained. Our inner life will evaporate, no matter what blessing you’ve enjoyed in the past. There are an awful lot Christians I fear going around today, who are simply going through the motions, but dead inside. The consideration of God’s kindness leading to a spirit of thankfulness is good medicine. Two five mil spoons a day will keep cynicism at bay. You know the fault-finding attitude that kills the enjoyment of anything. Or two tablets of gratitude a day for God’s kindness to us will dispel the attacks of religious resentment and gloom. The hymn-writer recommends a counting of blessings, a good idea. Or perhaps just talking to the Lord about all the good things he’s given you and done for you and will do for you. It’s worth taking time over. We were once wild by nature (v24), sinful and rebellious, God in his grace and kindness tamed us, and made us his own. That’s a starting place, say thank you to Jesus.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)