Friday, July 24, 2015

Grafted In


Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, though a wild olive branch, were grafted in among them and have come to share in the rich root of the cultivated olive tree, do not brag that you are better than those branches. But if you do brag—you do not sustain the root, but the root sustains you.  Romans 11:17-18

Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” True enough; they were broken off by unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either.

Therefore, consider God’s kindness and severity: severity toward those who have fallen but God’s kindness toward you—if you remain in His kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. And even they, if they do not remain in unbelief, will be grafted in, because God has the power to graft them in again. For if you were cut off from your native wild olive and against nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these—the natural branches—be grafted into their own olive tree?  Romans 11:19-24

If we graft a branch into a tree, the original tree does not become the kind of tree the new branch is.  It's still the same kind as it was before.  The new branch becomes part of the ORIGINAL tree.  In our case, members of the Church are the wild olive branch grafted into the cultivated olive tree of Israel.

Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, reminded us that all of the branches are nourished by the same root.  That root is Jesus.

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.  Isaiah 11:1

And again, Isaiah says, "The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope."  Romans 15:12

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.  Colossians 2:6-7

"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."  Revelation 22:16

Paul cautions us not to be arrogant, because if the natural branches were not spared due to unbelief, neither will the grafted in branches.  He said to remain in kindness.  (The Greek word used here is defined as goodness, uprightness, kindness, gentleness.)

Another way to view this is through the practice of adoption.  We are adopted into God's family when we receive the gift of faith.

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”  Romans 8:15

And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.  Romans 8:23

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Galatians 4:4-5

God shows us how to parent in the way that He parents us.  When we adopt a child, do we replace our current children (if we have any) with the new child?  No, we don't.  Neither does God.  His ways are higher than ours, not lower.

They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.  Romans 9:4

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.  Romans 11:29

Paul reveals to us a mystery in order to help us understand why we have no right to be conceited (if we need a reason to be humble and not boast against our family members).

So that you will not be conceited, brothers, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery: A partial hardening [or blinding] has come to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.  Romans 11:25

Israel's temporary hardening of heart or blindness of sight has been for our blessing.  God says that likewise, He will bless them in the future due to His blessing us now.

As you once disobeyed God, but now have received mercy through their disobedience, so they too have now disobeyed, resulting in mercy to you, so that they also may receive mercy.  Romans 11:30-31

We didn't do anything to deserve God's blessings and gifts, so we shouldn't be prideful about them but rather humble.  God will deal with each branch in His family as He pleases, according to His own perfect timing and will. 

kit: Italy by Kristmess Designs (color adjusted on flowers and ribbon)