See then the kindness and severity of God
Romans 11:13-36 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Therefore insofar as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 if somehow I may move my own people to jealousy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection proves to be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are as well.
17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; 21 for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. 22 See then the kindness and severity of God: to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; for otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?
25 For I do not want you, brothers and sisters, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.”
27 “This is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”
28 In relation to the gospel they are enemies on your account, but in relation to God’s choice they are beloved on account of the fathers; 29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. 32 For God has shut up all in disobedience, so that He may show mercy to all.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? 35 Or who has first given to Him, that it would be paid back to him? 36 For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
In today’s text it says: See then the kindness and severity of God: to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; for otherwise you too will be cut off. Ephesians 2:4-10 says: God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our wrongdoings, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the boundless riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Grace is defined as: unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification. (Merriam-Webster) Grace is unmerited or undeserved. It is God’s kindness toward us when in truth we deserved His severity. Because grace is undeserved, we cannot presume on God’s grace. We need to continue in His kindness or be cutoff.
The text says: “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. It is faith that keeps us in God’s kindness and grace; believing that Jesus died for our sins. On the cross, in Luke 23:34 Jesus said: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Jesus sacrifice on the cross was for every sin, past, present and future. We should not presume though that His grace and forgiveness extends to the sins that we choose to continue in. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; leave Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” In order to continue in God’s kindness and grace, we need to walk the good works, which God prepared beforehand. He planned and prepared them for us before we were born and He prepared us for them by the redemption and restoration of the cross.
Here’s the thing, Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. The demonstration of God’s love and the activation of His grace toward us, was through the cross. 1 John 4:19 says: We love, because He first loved us. In John 14:15 Jesus says: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” God’s grace is a free gift to us, but if we choose disobedience, we disqualify ourselves from God’s grace and kindness. We cut ourselves off from His kindness. The alternative then is to know His severity. In John 3:16-21 Jesus Himself says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. The one who believes in Him is not judged; the one who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, so that his deeds will not be exposed. But the one who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds will be revealed as having been performed in God.”
Thank You heavenly Father for showing me Your kindness and grace, Thank You for Your love demonstrated in the cross. I believe in Your Son, that He died for my sins, not only that I might be saved, but also that I might walk in Your grace, in obedience to Your word and Your will, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.