Taught by Pastor Pam Bowers-Smith
15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?Romans 11:15-18, NKJV
16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree,
18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.
Although Paul is addressing Jews and Gentiles, in verse 15 he’s speaking to the Gentiles. Explaining to them how the possibility of their salvation came about and how it worked to their benefit. He wants them to understand it was the folly, the being rejected by the Jews that was instrumental in the reconciling of the world to God; from sin to life; God’s heart towards all mankind.
Paul uses the analogy of an olive tree. The tree, root, branches and the fatness of it. The root of the tree being Christ himself. The root is holy, anything produced from it is holy. Jews and Gentiles are the branches. It’s the root of the tree or the tree itself that makes the branches holy. The broken off branches are the non-believing Jews. Before the Gentiles are grafted in, the Jews were natural branches. At one time they were God’s holy people, but because of their unbelief they were broken off. The Gentiles were a wild olive tree; a tree all by themselves; living unto themselves, wild, contrary….were grafted in . This tree the Gentiles are from comes from the Greek term oleaster and is defined as invasive and aggressive by nature. and wherever it grows there is a problem with it spreading and taking over. That’s us. We want what we want the way we want. He’s driving home the point that it is the mercy of God that’s grafted us (the Gentiles) in. We were taken in as a branch, not living on its own but engrafted into the vine which is Jesus, to the root which is Jesus, to the tree which is Jesus and partaking of that root. He clarifies, the tree doesn’t need us but we need the tree. The tree supports us. In John 15 we are taught Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches and that the branches cannot bear fruit (grow) of itself but must abide in the Vine. It’s the same principle.
Paul admonishes them not to boast as is they were exclusive or better than. In the natural when man engrafts something to a tree it’s to change the tree. But God is different, God engrafts to change the branches, not the tree. We are being grafted in for our good so we can be changed, made better. It is a gift, a work of grace. Everything we need is coming from this tree. Paul wants them, the Gentiles, to recognize the privileges they now have, but don’t dismiss the Jews as no good. There is a remnant, but provision has been made for more than the remnant. Just like we were grafted in, the same Father who broke the branches off is well able to graft them in again. If He can do it for the unnatural branches (Gentiles), why can’t He do it for the natural branches (Jews)? That’s the heart of God! He wants all His children saved. What parent doesn’t want all their children safe?
We must set aside our wildness, our need to invade and take over, humble ourselves to hear what the Spirit is saying that we might apply it to our lives. Speak well of people who don’t go to church, back slidden or whatever. Bless them if we can; they need to see the light. Salvation is free and is for everybody. The heart of God is that none would perish. People can always use our prayers encouragement, help and lifting. Be grateful that we have been grafted in; grateful we are partaking of that tree. If you’ve got to boast, boast in the root/tree in the fact that it is the root/tree that is taking care of the branches.