Kindness and Severity

31 Aug

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! (Romans 11:12)

Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. (Romans 11:22)

There’s one part of these verses I would like to point out, “Otherwise you too will be cut off.” That’s something of a scary thought. How can someone, who is already saved, be “cut off” from salvation?

First, we need to understand how someone who’s already saved can be “cut off” from salvation… So that we can avoid it.

God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.

Perhaps the question would be better asked, “What is God’s kindness, and how do we ‘continue’ in it?” – Well by this point we all surely know what God’s kindness is. It’s his sending his son to die for us, but does anyone “continue” in that?

And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. (Romans 11:23)

We can see from this that it means not continuing in unbelief… Which automatically assumes that in order to “continue” in Jesus’ death and Resurrection, we need to believe. A little more specifically, it mean’s believing that through Jesus’ death and Resurrection, we are saved. But why even bring this up? What’s Paul’s point? To warn them to always trust in God’s strength and not their own? To put the fear of the Lord in them? Or maybe to reveal a mystery?

Second, what exactly was Paul’s point?

Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” (Romans 11:25-27)

To some extent, yes, Paul’s point was to reveal a mystery. He was revealing the “mystery” of how they were saved. As it happens, he also revealed the “mystery” of we’re saved as well. Not by our own “kindness” (works), in fact, that’s the thing that will pretty much ensure that we aren’t saved. Instead, it’s by what Jesus did for us, namely, dying for us.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland


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