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. We cannot presume on God’s kindness and grace. We must continue in it, or we will see and know His severity. Psalm 37:3 says: Trust in the Lord and do good; Live in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Our faith is trusting God; believing in what God did for us and what He continues, in His kindness, to do for us. Our faithfulness is our continuing to do good. Faith is a decision. Faithfulness is an action that we need to continue in and cultivate. Faithfulness means that we continue to trust and do good, even when circumstances are not good. God’s severity is not that He punishes us for our lack of faith and faithfulness. His severity is that He allows us to suffer the consequences of our disobedience. We ourselves choose whether we will see His kindness or severity.
In Deuteronomy 30:15-20 God says: “See, I have placed before you today life and happiness, and death and adversity, in that I am commanding you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, so that you may live and become numerous, and that the Lord your God may bless you... But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but allow yourself to be led astray and you worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you will certainly perish... I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have placed before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding close to Him.” Life and happiness, and death and adversity, the blessing and the curse, kindness or severity. Romans 2:4 says: Do you disregard the riches of His kindness, tolerance, and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you to repentance? If His kindness does not lead us to repentance, to change the way we think and act, we will know His severity. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: If anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. We cannot continue in God’s kindness if we continue in our old ways. In John 14:23-24 Jesus says: “If anyone loves Me, he will follow My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling with him. The one who does not love Me does not follow My words.”
Oh, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him, that it would be paid back to him? For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.