16If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too.
17But 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,
18do 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.
19You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.”
20Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith Do not be conceited, but fear;
21for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.
22Behold 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.
23And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
24For 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?
Today’s message is an explanation by Paul describing that the salvation of the Gentile is a result of Israel’s rejection. He’s explaining the fact that as Christians, we need to remember that Israel was and still is God’s chosen people.
It makes me think of the pride we sometimes get as Christians. We look down at non believers and scoff the Jews for being “dumb” and not realizing their Messiah has already arrived. Remember yesterday’s message? God has it all under control and it happened for a reason. Paul’s use of “fear” here does not mean to be afraid, rather to be wary of your pride as a Christian. Don’t let the pride of your own salvation reflect an attitude of irreverence and “holier than thou” demeanor. For we ALL have fallen short of the Glory of God. Not just Jews, not unbelieving Gentiles, but you and I as well.
It makes me think of all the times I’ve shook my head at those I feel are foolish. I’m pretty sure that’s not how Christ would want me to react. Instead of turning away, I should turn towards that person and try to meet them where they’re at. They are “foolish” because they are ignorant and don’t know any better. At least they have an excuse. I don’t. I know better and know what God would like me to do for Him in that situation.
What’s your excuse?