Romans 11:11-24

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, September 21, 2015 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!
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!” (Romans 11:11-24)

Previously in Romans 11:7, we saw that Israel divided itself into two groups, the elect and those whose hearts are hardened. In the passage we’re looking at this week, Paul shares that this is not the permanent situation. More of the Jews will become believers in Jesus Christ as the Messiah, even though many are rejecting Him now.

The fact that the Jews have rejected Jesus as the Messiah has opened up the door for the Gentiles to hear the salvation message and to believe in it (verses 11-12). When the apostles’ preaching in the Jewish synagogues got rejected, they went elsewhere and began teaching more to the Gentiles. But, this has caused a problem, making the Gentiles to be prideful. They’re rubbing it in the Jews’ faces that they’re the chosen people now. Here, Paul is warning against that pridefulness, reminding the Gentiles in verses 13-14 that they are only saved at all because of God’s grace, not by anything that they have accomplished.

This relationship between the Jews, the Gentiles, and being followers of Christ is a tricky one, so Paul gives a metaphor of a tree to help make it clearer. Go read it in verses 17-24.

In this metaphor, the Jews who believe in Jesus are the natural branches of the tree. They were God’s original chosen people, and the promised Messiah came through their nationality. The Gentiles who believe in Christ are the branches that are grafted onto the tree. God will treat all branches of the tree equally, since they are all branches, whether natural or grafted in. The Jews’ branches aren’t necessarily safe on the tree simply because of their nationality; they are cut off if they don’t accept Christ as Messiah. Similarly, the Gentiles risk being cut off if they remain arrogant and live sinfully. Both the Jews and the Gentiles can be grafted onto the tree when they put their faith in Jesus Christ as their Messiah and Savior.

Where is your branch of the tree? Were you on it at one point, but then got cut off because you rejected God’s salvation for your life? Have you never been grafted onto the tree yet, because you’re unwilling to recognize your need for a Savior? Or are you firmly grafted in place, trusting in Jesus with your entire life? I encourage you to take some time today to figure out where your branch is, and where you’d like it to be. The choice is yours.

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