Monday

“For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead!” (v. 15)

Romans 11:13-24 Monday 24 February 2014


Background

Romans chapters 9-11 tackles the important question of whetherand how God remains faithful to the promises made to Israel.Previously, Paul has explained that - even though a remnantrecognise the Messiah - many within Israel remain "hardened" (Romans11:7). Here, Paul warns the Gentile (non Jewish) believersagainst looking down on the Jewish people, and expresses his hopethat the success of the gospel (good news of Jesus) among Gentilesmight lead many Jews to recognise Jesus as their Lord. God has notgiven up on Israel.

While called to be a missionary to the Gentiles, Paul explainsto his readers that such a ministry also seeks to promote thegospel among his own people (verses 13-14). By spreading the goodnews of Jesus among gentiles, Jews might be provoked to 'jealousy',and so to explore Jesus for themselves.

With his use of horticultural imagery, Paul seeks to prevent anyarrogance or pride among Gentile believers. Gentile believers arelike foreign branches grafted in to the olive tree, a symbol ofGod's covenant community. They are "grafted in" by faith (vv. 17,19), however, and so can only stand in awe at God's generosity andmercy (verse 20). God also has the power to 'graft' back into thetree those within Israel, and Gentile believers should treat thoseJews who do not believe with humility and with the hope that theytoo will accept Jesus as Messiah. God is both 'severe' and 'kind',and his kindness persists for those who trust in God's own kindness(verse 22).

Paul's argument here may seem like a digression, but hisreflections on Israel seek to show that God is faithful andtrustworthy to the ancient promises made. They are also intended towarn Gentile Christians against treating arrogantly those Jews whohad not yet accepted Jesus, while also accepting the cultural andreligious practices of those Jews who had.


To Ponder

  • Why is it important that God keeps God's own promises?
  • Do you think it is possible to be 'cut off' from God'ssalvation? Why or why not?
  • Why is arrogance and pride so dangerous in the Christianlife? 
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