Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2010
Scripture: Romans 10, 11
I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin” (Romans 11:1 NKJV).
Some people are passionately interested in election time. Others yawn with boredom. What peaks interest is recognizing the personal impact elections have in one’s life. Would you be more inclined to take part in elections if you knew certain freedoms would be removed? And would you be deterred from casting your ballot if you might be shot and killed?
Afghanistan is not a safe place to vote. The Taliban is threatening violence against voters if they go to the polls in an upcoming parliamentary election. These leaders are encouraging voters to boycott the elections saying it is a part of foreign occupation of their country that should not be tolerated. In fact, at least 900 polling stations will be closed because of these threats. 1
The election for a new parliament is to take place in a couple of weeks. The progress of a better outcome for Afghanistan doesn’t appear hopeful. Fraud and violence left many doubts over the last election. Yet, millions voted for the positions (2400 candidates, including 400 women in a male-dominated society).
Security is a major concern. Four candidates were killed. Five campaign workers were murdered. It’s difficult to go out and campaign when you fear for your life. Suicide attackers have been on the uprise. Fraud is right on its heels. Stuffing ballot boxes, vote buying, and intimidation are all too common. The country’s Electoral Commission and the United Nations-backed Electoral Complaints Commission are working to turn this around. 2
Our Sabbath school lesson this week focuses on “The Election of Grace” and Paul’s discussion of how Jews, Gentiles and the law fit into the framework of salvation. Has God elected the Gentiles and rejected the Jews? A cursory reading of Romans 10 and 11 give some readers this impression. But Paul makes it very clear in Romans 11:1 that God has not rejected the Jews.
The message here focuses more on debunking the concept that you can secure your salvation by keeping the law. Paul teaches that without Christ this is an impossibility. Salvation cannot come through a system of rules and regulations, but through the gospel. Jesus Christ is the “end” of the law. He is the fulfillment, the end-point, the purpose and final summary of what the law is all about. The Messiah culminates the essence of the law. When we reject Christ, we are rejecting the meaning of the law.
An interesting way to look at this notion of election is to ask, “Who is voting for whom?” We often are quick to think of our freedom to choose or reject God—which is certainly important. But in these chapters we might flip the coin and realize that it speaks more of God’s choice of us. The Lord is not about rejecting people. The Creator wants all to come to salvation. “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). “God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew…” (Romans 11:2). The message is not about God’s rejection of us, but of our rejection of God.
God took a great risk in opening up the election polls of the universe and giving mankind freedom to choose their candidate of choice. No matter what our race, heritage, gender, or social status—we all may freely choose or reject God.
And the Lord took a hit in running for office as Creator and Redeemer of this world. We shot the Candidate. We murdered the runner for the most important election in history. Jesus Christ campaigned for the Heavenly Father and lost His life.
Freedom of choice alone can engender salvation that comes by faith in the gospel. It is not a matter of keeping rules or having the right genes or gender. It is a matter of believing in and trusting a Contender who was willing to lose his life at the polls for you and me.
So, go cast your vote.