In Romans 9 through 11 St. Paul is addressing the issue of the Jews and Gentiles–Jesus spoke of two different sheep (Jews and Gentiles); He stated that He would make of them One Fold… that He would Be their Shepherd and they would be His sheep.
When we read through the Old Testament we find the development of Romans 9 through 11: Yahweh God chooses Israel (Jacob) as His Firstborn and forms a pact (Covenant) with them where He would be their God and they would be His people… the Gentiles (pagans) could always join Israel–they would have to become as Israel in Fellowship with Him… few of the pagans sought the Light. This was the period of the Gentiles’ disobedience and Israel adherence to God.
However, Israel allowed the nations around them to separate them from Yahweh God–to the extent of practicing their customs, inclusive of idolatry (accepting the religious practices and idols).
God Promised that, in spite of their rebelliousness, He would retain a Remnant–through this small group of Israelites He would bring about the Promise (God’s Salvific Plan through Jesus). Through Moses Yahweh God prophesied that He would Send a Prophet liken to Moses (High Priest, King, Prophet) and it would be in Him that the Gentile would seek their Hope (find God’s Mercy, Grace, and Salvation).
God allowed Israel to become fully disobedient, to the point of rejecting the Messiah (St. John 1:1-14) so that in their disobedience He could turn to the Gentiles. This is the reason why Jesus Came to Israel and did not venture into the surrounding nations… yet, as the Corner Stone was rejected, when He Instituted His Church, Jesus Commanded His Apostles to go into the world, to bring them the Good News, and to Baptize them in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
St. Paul formulates these events in those three chapters of Romans. Yet, he insist that God’s Love has not been removed from Israel–that at the appointed time, just as the Gentiles were able to see the Light, Israel will Come to Know God’s Salvific Plan and in deed there will Be One Fold!
Another thing I see being a problem with me is how you put it: “Rather then focusing on the vessels, we must focus on the Creator…” My focus drifts from Him often…
how I can find balance?
…this is not new and it is not experienced only by you:
[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.
(Ephesians 6:12–read the whole chapter, slowly, drink it in!)
Jcrichton could you also assist me with the following verse:
20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.
I am ashamed of my deeds in the past and do not feel like I can step into the light. This of course will only keep me in the darkness, but I don’t know how to step out of the shadows. And truth me told, I don’t know if I am truly ashamed. At times I believe it is more self pity than shame.
…all of this ties in with your previous paragraph…
When man sin he is separating himself from God; even people who claim not to believe in God have a deep seated sense of moral justice; that is, they know when they or others are not being treated fairly… this is specially so when one commits to the act… have you ever noticed how toddlers become invisible when they are up to no good? …and how manipulation and lies begin to take hold on them? They advance from total oblivion to innocent manipulation to skilled poppet masters… during the initial stages their eyes gives them away… then it’s only their physiology (body language, voice, anxiety, perspiration); in the final stages they are pros–the hardest proof does not sway their efforts to deny culpability… during each stage their Conscience bothered them… yet, they learned to put it aside and allow only their objectives to dictate what and how they do things…
…as the saying goes: “practice makes perfect.” The more we practice to reject God the more we can manipulate our will–silencing the Holy Spirit (our Conscience) in us.
Darkness rejects the Light because God is the Light.
When man gives into the darkness, Satan begins to whisper sweet nothings into his ears–to the tune of “you are useless,” “God cannot forgive you even if He wanted to,” “you know you prefer ‘xyz’ to God and His Rules,” “the Church condemns you, so God will not want you–no matter what!”
Do you recall Jesus’ definition of Satan? Jesus said that Satan was a murderer from the Beginning and that he is the father of all lies!
How can you turn back to God? Isaiah 1:18 and this way:
7 Be subject therefore to God, but resist the devil, and he will fly from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners: and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into sorrow. 10 Be humbled in the sight of the Lord, and he will exalt you.
(St. James 4:7-10)
I think you have began that trek!