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Session 9

People Don’t Save People

Read: Romans 9

If you watch enough horror movies, you’ll see a pattern in the minutes before the bad guy takes his next victim.

An unsuspecting person comes home to an empty house and instead of switching on the lights, he or she drops the keys, hangs up a coat, then heads to the kitchen or bedroom. A few minutes later, a noise outside or upstairs draws the character toward their eventual demise.

Just like God was at work in Israel’s story, He is at work in our loved one’s stories.

Sadly, seeing someone walk willingly into destruction doesn’t just happen in movies. Maybe you’ve got a roommate who dates all the wrong guys or a friend who refuses to get help with an addiction. When someone we love ignores the truth we can so clearly see, it leaves us frustrated and heartbroken.

In Romans 9, the apostle Paul expresses a similar sadness over his fellow Israelites. The nation of Israel was God’s chosen people, but they were so absorbed with what they were doing for God, they didn’t see God in Jesus. Equally divine and human, Jesus was the rescuer they had been waiting for, but they missed it because He didn’t fit their ideas of who the Messiah would be.

Paul’s hope came from his understanding that God is sovereign and God is good. We can go to great lengths to help those around us then lose heart when we don’t see results. But Paul reminds us in Romans 9:16 that salvation does not “depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.”

People don’t save people; Jesus does. Just like God was at work in Israel’s story, He is at work in our loved one’s stories. And just like Paul never gave up on telling others about Jesus, we never give up on pointing our loved ones to the truth. Because at just the right time and in just the right moment, God makes Himself known.


  • Is there anyone you’ve been asking God to rescue for a long time? How has waiting to see that prayer fulfilled affected your faith?
  • As you think about the unbelieving and hurting people in your life, is there anyone you’ve taken unnecessary responsibility for? What, if anything, in that relationship needs to change so you’re not carrying a weight only God was meant to bear?

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