Summary: How to See Christ as a Refuge Instead of an Offense - Rom. 9:33
How to See Christ as a Refuge Instead of an Offense - Rom. 9:33
People who are easily offended are prone to give in to anger, fear or feelings of doubt. When individuals choose to be offended they are often driven more by subjective emotions than objective facts. An obstacle on a road that hinders the progress of a person causes an offense. In the days of Paul the apostle, a person could be thrown from their chariot if a wheel might strike a rock in a road – that is an example of one who experienced an offense Here, Paul combines two passages from Isaiah to show that the rejection of Christ by the Jews was foretold because of men’s’ stubborn unbelief. Jesus even sent word to an imprisoned John the Baptist, “Blessed is he who shall not be offended in me.” Let us choose to see Christ as the Rock of our refuge and strength rather than as an offense. The following are several guidelines for falling into the same distorted perception trap of the Jews who saw Christ as an offense.
1. Thank God that the work of Christ is divine in its manner, nature and results. Paul wrote, “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” (Rom. 11:33) It is inevitable that some will see Christ as a stumbling stone to their pursuits. They will see Christ as one who stands in the way of the fulfillment of their goals. Much of the work of Christ is a mystery that goes beyond human understanding. This is one reason why many people refuse to trust and obey God because they do not want to give up the control of their own lives. They would rather strive for their own justification rather than rely on Christ’s for justification by faith. There is something in the nature of every human heart that wants to prove itself right. However, Christ’s work is a heaven sent gift that causes us to reach our hands and receive the gift of God in Christ. Some people vainly rely on their religion to earn God’s favor are striving in their own righteous ways to merit His favor. Grace alone He supplies to afford us access to His supernatural benefits in Christ.
2. Those who learn to trust in Christ will not be disappointed in the end. So many people are afraid of being hurt so they prefer to trust in themselves instead of Christ and end up being disappointed in the end. The Jews of Paul’s day preferred to cling to their traditions and law instead of trusting Christ as the sufficient offering for the forgiveness of the sins of their past, present and future. They set their expectations according to the compass of their own preferences. There is nothing more miserable than a crotchety old person who lives in regret, bitterness and disappointments with their life. Irving Berlin was a great American songwriter who wrote, “God bless America and I’m Dreaming of a White Christians. But he lived the last 30 years of his life in bitter disappointment as a recluse because he trusted in his Jewish abilities of hard work to make him satisfied. He depended so much on his own efforts that he would not trust in Christ for his justification, redemption or deliverance. He died a miserable and man filled with disappointments desperately holding on to the rights to his music, which he thought, would bring him happiness. Abraham learned to trust God’s righteousness rather than his own. He did not stagger with unbelief, but grew strong in faith being fully persuaded that what God had promised he also had the power to perform and deliver. (Rom. 4:20,21) Ask the Lord to help you to learn more about ways that Christ will not disappoint you as you surrender more of your rights to Him. The Jews were disappointed because they placed their faith in a view of a Messiah who would give them physical, economic and political victory instead of a spiritual one. Whoever, depends on anything but a spiritual deliverance from Jesus Christ will be disappointed.
3. Christ is a sure foundation, a refuge and a well of lasting satisfaction for all believers. The amplified version states, “Who adheres to, trusts in and relies on Him shall not be put to shame nor be disappointed in his expectations.” (Is 28:16) Christ is our durable hope who will never let us down. It is impossible for Christ to let us sink in the depths of our troubles. When the storms sweep away all the lies, pain and problems of life we can be assured that we will find that our faith is not in vain. Our Ark, (Jesus Christ) will help us survive any flood. Our tower (Jesus Christ) will withstand an assault from our enemies. Our shield (Jesus Christ) will protect us from all the slings and arrows of the wicked one. David wrote, “The Lord is my strength and shield. My heart trusts in Him and I am glad. Therefore, I will leap for joy and be glad in Him with song.” (Psa 28:7) David wrote, “The Lord is our refuge and strength. A very present help in the time of trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the mountains give way and they fall into the heart of the sea.” (Psa 46:1,2) Martin Luther wrote his inspiring hymn, A mighty fortress is our God a bulwark never failing. Our helper he is amidst the floods of mortal ills prevailing. Though still our ancient foe does seek to work us woe. One little word (from Christ) shall fell him.” Let Christ be your foundation every morning as you begin your day with praise, prayer and the assurance that you will never be disappointed when you put your entire trust in His care. The alternative is to face disappointment in anything or anyone else.