Romans 9:24-26 (VOICE) 24 These vessels of mercy include all of us. God has invited Jews and non-Jews, insiders and outsiders; it makes no difference. 25 The prophet Hosea says: I will give a new name to those who are not My people; I’ll call them “My people,” and to the one who has not been loved, I’ll rename her “beloved.” 26 And it shall turn out that in the very place where it was said to them, “You are not My people,”they will be called “children of the living God.”
It is hard for us to comprehend it, but as Paul is writing this letter to the church in Rome, one of the raging theological debates of the day was whether or not God’s love, grace, forgiveness, and salvation extended to everyone or if it was limited to the Jewish people.
What I love about Paul’s argument here is that it isn’t just persuasive, but it also demonstrates that this plan to include everyone in the family of God is not a new idea, but the plan of God from the very beginning.
To do that, Paul quotes from the prophet Hosea. Hosea lived and wrote sometime around 720 B.C., which means that there was likely around 800 years between when Hosea writes these words and Paul quotes them. In doing this, Paul draws a connection between the life and ministry of Jesus, the Word of God from what we now call the ‘Old Testament’ and God’s revelation to him through the Holy Spirit.
The picture that emerges is one of God working all along on a long-term plan to bring all of his beloved children into the loving arms of their Father and their God. But even the idea that anyone other than the Jewish people might be God’s children, was hard for many first century Jews – and many early Christians – to comprehend.
Paul lifts up the prophet Hosea’s words to make it clear that while the nation of Israel were God’s chosen people, God’s plan was always to expand his family through adoption to include all of us that call on the name of Jesus. Make no mistake, God has renamed you as his ‘beloved’ and claimed you as one of the children of the living God.
Sharing God’s Love,
Prayer: Lord, help us to recognize and claim our identity in you as your beloved children. Guide us to live into that high calling. Amen.