Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | March 5, 2020

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”

Today’s devotion comes from Romans 11:17-24.

“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, 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.  You will say then, “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.  Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness;  otherwise you also will be cut off.  And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.  For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?”  Romans 11:17-24.

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Paul is discussing what the attitude of the Gentiles should be toward the Jews.

Previously, Paul explained that except for the remnant of Jews who were elected for salvation, the rest of the Jews in Israel were hardened and rejected, and many of the Gentiles were saved in order to make Israel jealous.

Paul was aware that there could be a tendency in the Gentiles to be conceited, so Paul warns those Gentiles:  “Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith.  Do not be conceited, but fear;”  Verse 20.

Let us consider other relevant Scriptures which lead the Gentiles to not be conceited but rather to appreciate the Jews.

Jesus said to the Samaritan woman who was a Gentile:  “You worship what you do not know;  we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.”  John 4:22.  Thus, the Gentiles should appreciate the Jews for that fact that “salvation is from the Jews.”

“Then what advantage has the Jew?  Or what is the benefit of circumcision?  Great in every respect.  First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.”  Romans 3:1-2.

“Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands—  remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  Ephesians 2:11-13.

More generally, let us also consider the following from the Canons of Dordt in the section FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination which exhort us to handle the doctrine of God’s election with “daily humiliation”.

Article 13.  The sense and certainty of this election afford to the children of God additional matter for daily humiliation before him, for adoring the depth of his mercies, for cleansing themselves, and rendering grateful returns of ardent love to him, who first manifested so great love towards them.  The consideration of this doctrine of election is so far from encouraging remissness in the observance of the divine commands, or from sinking men in carnal security, that these, in the just judgment of God, are the usual effects of rash presumption, or of idle and wanton trifling with the grace of election, in those who refuse to walk in the ways of the elect.

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;”  Colossians 3:12.


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