February 9 - Romans 11:13-24

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Romans 11:13-24 – Gentiles Grafted In

I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. 

If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. 

Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

There may have been Christians in the Roman church who were wondering why in the world Paul spent so much time talking about Israel. Now, he speaks to them. Paul wants nothing more than to see a great number of Jews come into reconciliation with God while he is still alive. He wants his ministry to grow so that they might see what the potential for life with Christ could be and be drawn into it as well. It was never for Paul's sake, but for the sake of every person alive that he wished this.  And … if they were to come to reconciliation, it would bring a blessing to them and to the Gentiles as well.

His references to the dough and the root as being holy, so then shall the whole lump and the branches goes back to Abraham. Abraham and the patriarchs were holy. This sends holiness down through their line to their descendants. God will not discard the entirety of Israel, because of the firstfruits … the root of their people.

He then directs Christians to avoid arrogance. We have been grafted onto that root and share in the nourishment that it offers. It matters not to us that some were broken off. We don't support the root … it supports us.  It wasn't for us that these branches were broken off, it was because of their unbelief.  Then Paul sends a stern warning. If he did not spare the nation of Israel in their arrogance regarding their relationship with him, he will certainly not spare the grafted branches.  In his kindness, God will return Israel to the root in time. They have always been part of it and when they return to it, that will happen with ease. God will redeem his people.