Beyond the Gospels: Romans 9:1-29

To read the scripture for today’s devotional, click here: Romans 9:1-29
The movie “The Blind Side” tells the true story of Michael Oher, a high school student gifted as a football player whose home life was simply terrible. His father had been in and out of prison, and his mother was addicted to both alcohol and crack cocaine. He attended 11 different schools during his first nine years of school, being placed in foster care at age 7, and alternating between foster care and homelessness.
When a local couple, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, discovered that Michael was homeless, they invited him to live with them. The 6’4” 315 lb. Michael, who is African American, was adopted by the Tuohys, who are Caucasian. The Tuohys made Michael a part of their family, and they also provided him with a private tutor to help him to grow academically.
After graduating from high school, Michael attended the University of Mississippi where he excelled as a football player. After college graduation, he was drafted into the NFL by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2009 draft. He played for Baltimore and also the Tennessee Titans and now plays for the Carolina Panthers.
The film points out that family is about more than blood. Michael’s adoption by the Tuohys and his being welcomed as a family member is a great illustration that love knows no bounds.
God, the source of love, knows no bounds.
One of the most pressing questions facing the followers of Jesus in the first century was that of who could become a follower of Jesus?
Paul addresses this topic in his letter to the Romans. Like the Tuhoys, he believed that blood did not make family, but that love did.  “…it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as descendants.” (Romans 9:8)
God’s love is freely offered to all humans. Sometimes individuals want to restrict the church to only those people meeting certain human-produced criteria. But Christians should boldly make known that the love of God expressed in Jesus Christ is available to everyone. Because blood doesn’t make a family, love does.
Prayer: Blessed and Holy God, help us to tear down the walls that divide us as humans. Help us to extend your love to those who are different from us, knowing that they are your children too. Cleanse our hearts of the things that separate us from our brothers and sisters. Amen. 
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