Last night we finished looking at Romans 9, a chapter that talks about God’s sovereignty and man’s submission. These are not easy concepts for us to grasp – or, if we are honest, to like. As the end verses remind us, “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall,and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.” (Rom 9:33, quoting Isaiah 28:16).

God’s ways are higher than our ways and we have to learn to submit to our Creator. As Paul says, “who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?” (Rom 9:20-21) So often, we think we know best, wanting to be like someone else, wanting to be somewhere else, not content with who God has made us to be or where He has placed us in life. But ultimately, ‘godliness with contentment is great gain’ (1 Tim 6:6) and there is great peace in accepting ourselves and in submitting to God’s sovereignty.

Man is fiercely independent and likes to think he can make it on his own. Jesus came to remind us forcibly that that is not true: we are helpless to save ourselves and need His help. As Michael Card piercingly writes in his song ‘Scandalon’,

“The seers and the prophets had foretold it long ago
That the long awaited one would make men stumble
But they were looking for a king to conquer and to kill
Who’d have ever thought He’d be so meek and humble?

To some He is a barrier, to others He’s the way
For all should know the scandal of believing.”

May we all know the ‘scandal of believing’ and all realise He is the only way to God.