Letter to Christians in Rome: Chapter 11 (pt 6 of 11)

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It’s certainly possible to say, “Other branches were pruned so that I could be grafted in!” Well and good. But they were pruned because they were deadwood, no longer connected by belief and commitment to the root. The only reason you’re on the tree is because your graft “took” when you believed, and because you’re connected to that belief-nurturing root. So don’t get cocky and strut your branch. Be humbly mindful of the root that keeps you lithe and green (Romans 11:19-20)

That is indeed what some are saying. The very proudly proclaim that God had abandoned Israel so we—non-Jews—could inherit His Kingdom. Well, maybe. But if that is true, the only reason you are allowed in is because of them.

If God didn’t think twice about taking pruning shears to the natural branches, why would he hesitate over you? He wouldn’t give it a second thought. Make sure you stay alert to these qualities of gentle kindness and ruthless severity that exist side by side in God—ruthless with the deadwood, gentle with the grafted shoot. But don’t presume on this gentleness. The moment you become deadwood, you’re out of there (Romans 11:21-22)

In other words, don’t get so high and mighty, because you could be “clipped off” just like you are claiming God did to Israel. So you had better maintain the proper faith and devotion, you are saying they lost.

Don’t get to feeling superior to those pruned branches down on the ground. If they don’t persist in remaining deadwood, they could very well get grafted back in. God can do that. He can perform miracle grafts. Why, if he could graft you—branches cut from a tree out in the wild—into an orchard tree, he certainly isn’t going to have any trouble grafting branches back into the tree they grew from in the first place. Just be glad you’re in the tree, and hope for the best for the others (Romans 11:23-24)

God judged Israel. Israel had rejected God, but God did not reject Israel. Oh sure, He did judge them, but even his judgment had a purpose. It was not an ultimate rejection of Israel, but simply a temporary judgment so He could achieve a greater purpose. Even in judgment, God is doing something redemptive. One of the positive effects that came from God judging Israel was a reaching out to the Gentiles. All of us sit here, today, because God set Israel aside for a time. He brought salvation to the Gentiles to make Israel jealous. They had sought for salvation and had been unable to find it because they were seeking for the wrong reason—and in the incorrect way. The Gentiles received salvation even though they did not seek for it because of the Grace of God. God wanted Israel to take notice of this and turn to Him in order to receive His grace as well. They should see that if God is able to do great things with the Gentiles, He is certainly able to do greater things with them.

We should take note as well. Just as God can bring salvation to the Gentiles, so he can bring it to the Jews. There is no one that God cannot touch. God’s grace can break through the hardest exterior.

If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome


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