Taught by Pastor Pam Bowers-Smith
19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.Romans 11:19-22
20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear:
21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his Goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
Paul continues to drive home the point that it all comes down to Jesus who is the root, the tree, the one who bears the branches whether Jew or Gentile. Paul is addressing the Gentiles so they don’t start thinking they’re better off than the Jews, that they’re special now and the Jews are kind of cast to the side and there’s no chance for them; they get what they deserved. We must remember in Christ there is no longer a Jew or Gentile but in Christ the heart of God is for all of us to be one. We humans bring in the competitive nature. We’re not supposed to be competing against each other. The need to compare ourselves or our situation so we can feel better about ourselves is a work of the flesh.
The church does not have a monopoly on the works of Jesus, on the power of God, the plan of God, the move of God or the wisdom of God. Jesus’ heart was still for the Jews. Even though the Jews were cut off, He didn’t abandon them.
Paul makes it clear the reason they were cut off was because of their unbelief. And the only reason why you were grafted in, Gentiles, is you were standing in faith. Paul wanted them to get an understanding both had roles to play in what was going on in their lives but the heart of God was the same for all. They each lived out the consequences of the choices they made. The penalty or result of unbelief is the same for Gentile and Jew. It’s not just something that only happened to the Jews. So, don’t be arrogant or think you’re better. Rather take note, because it could happen to you. Don’t be high-minded, but fear. At any point in our lives, in any situation, we could find ourselves in a state of unbelief. The disciples were moving in unbelief and Peter wasn’t having it. when Jesus told Peter before the cock crows, 3 times you will deny me, Jesus’ issue was where their faith lied. It was within themselves. Our unbelief is an issue that is deeply rooted in our humanity. That’s why our humanity has got to get out the way. It is our spirit man that responds to Jesus. We’ve got to insure we’re permitting our spirit man to be in control, not our humanity. Understand it can flip depending on circumstance. Their confidence was in what they believed was true of themselves. In their minds they were incapable of doing what we Jesus said. We need to grasp that we too could land there in that space of unbelief and thank God for the intercession of Jesus.
Paul speaks about the severity of God and His goodness. His goodness speaks to His kindness, tolerance, charity, compassion, warm heartedness, generosity, graciousness. The severity of God speaks to His roughness, vigor, sharpness, sternness, intensity, strictness, hardening, harshness. He cut the whole nation off. Refer to the stories in the Old Testament. Korah rose up against Moses and his whole family died. The children of Israel in the wilderness, a whole generation save two had to die. Moses, one mistake…after all he went through with them could not enter into the promised land. That’s harsh. In the New Testament we have Jesus but still there are things that happened that are harsh. As long as we’re in this flesh, we are not exempt from the possibility of rolling into unbelief, of sinning, from the possibility of disobedience. He cuts off the branches that aren’t producing. Apart from being connected to the vine we can’t accomplish anything. So don’t boast. Don’t look down on anyone. Don’t point or shake the finger of shame at anyone. Even when folk are in the wrong, our desire for them has to be good, to get back with God. Pray for folk, wish them well. Don’t take your salvation for granted or let it make you high-minded. Same thing with your position, title or worldly status. Stay humble and grateful and prayerful.