A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

Read Romans 9:1-18.

At the beginning of Romans 9, Paul begins to reflect on the fact that his kinsmen, the Jews, are rejecting their Messiah. As he considers the judgment they will face, he cries out in anguish, “I would do anything for them to come to know Jesus. I would even give up my own salvation!”

In Romans 9:6-13, Paul makes it clear that though many of the Israelites had rejected Jesus, God’s sovereign will never fails. “It is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring,” Paul explains (v. 8), meaning those who have faith in God and His Messiah are the true people of God—the true Israel. Likewise, today God’s salvation is promised not to those who simply attend church, but those who trust in Jesus Christ.

Grappling with why, in God’s sovereignty, some of physical Israel should reject their Savior, Paul recognizes God is not obligated to save anyone. Though humanity questions God’s actions, asking, “Is it fair?” Paul brings us back to reality: “The question is not whether God is fair; the question is: Why does He have mercy on sinners at all?”

God owes humanity nothing except judgment—for all have sinned. But in His merciful, sovereign will, He has chosen to save the undeserving. Therefore, let us rejoice in His mercy and humbly plead with Him for the lost, for our God is “[t]he Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, . . .” (Exodus 34:6).

Prayer: God, You are a gracious, merciful God. Help me to see and experience the depth of Your love for me—the wonder of Christ’s sacrifice for the undeserving. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden” (Romans 9:18).

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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