Friday, December 3, 2010

Romans 11: Grafting in the redheaded step child...

Romans 11: 11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!

13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.

17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

This morning we read Romans 10 & 11. There is some deep and heavy stuff in Paul's letters. Especially in Romans where it's all laid out. I picked a pretty interesting part of 11 that really piqued my interest. To be honest sometimes when you read all this it comes face to face with things that you've heard other places. Sometimes real Biblical reading turns upside down the philosophies of things that you've created because you've put God down on your level and not up at God's level. We've made it more palatable but in turn turned the word around to make it not sound so harsh. So what in the world am I talking about? The sternness of God. It's something we tend to overlook in an effort to put God into human attitude. Instead of reading and learning verse 21, we'll focus on the easier parts of just being saved.

Bottom line is this. There are whole denominations built around once saved, always saved. Either way, believing or not believing it. It's all foolish trash designed by the Devil to keep us from trembling at God's sternness. People can go on and on about this and that and when exactly does someone lose their salvation, etc. We boldly point to Romans 10:
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” I think we're pretty covered on declaring with our mouth that Jesus is Lord. I think we've got the sinner's prayer pretty down. Where we can't be sure of is the heart. Only God has that privilege. People can fake heart. So lots can come down and we can proclaim them saved, but only God really knows the truth. That's why once saved always saved is such a stumbling block. It's an insurance policy.

God doesn't want insurance policy holders. If you have to worry about once saved always saved then you had better change your life and get it right with the Lord. In verse 21 Paul talks about being broken off the tree. Seems pretty clear to me anyway. Verse 24 he talks about regrafting back onto the tree. So if we profess that Jesus Christ is Lord but don't actually make him Lord then where does that leave us? I'm not really sure. The humanist side who wants it to be easy as just saying some words to get to Heaven wants it to not matter. The Biblical side can't ignore these warnings combined with Jesus actually spitting out lukewarm Christians in name only. So if God knows your heart and the Holy Spirit convicts you of your sin. Here's a thought....

If you have to ask someone if you are saved then you probably need to cancel your insurance policy and get to praying and work on making Jesus Lord over your life. I don't think that you can fall away from Jesus and have him not be Lord over your life without the Holy Spirit doing some pretty big convicting. Don't just write off every insecure feeling of eternity to the Devil. Do you think the Devil wants you to question your security and have you get it right with God? You know... it may be Jesus knocking at your door asking to come back in. Sure we can fool ourselves into thinking everything is ok but not really. We can ignore it, but deep down you know whether you are making Christ Lord over your life.

Matthew 7:
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Can we really believe that it will be easy to find the narrow gate? Do we think that it won't matter who is Lord over our life? If it was as easy as just saying a prayer and talking then wouldn't that be a pretty wide gate? We've got to make sure we have Jesus in our heart. That's not something that us selfish people do very easily. Yes maybe for a second for insurance, but everyday? I feel like I have lots of scars from being cut off and regrafted back to the tree. It's so much easier to play church than to be the church. It's so easy to think about Jesus' forgiveness of our sins instead of going and sinning no more. Much easy to do work for God the same as you do for man than to attempt a holy life. We all want it easy. I especially love easy. The wide gate is easy to find.

So really what am I trying to say? I'm a conflicted man. The Holy Spirit convicts me everytime I read about God's sternness. The wheat and the tares scares me to death. What do I want? I want to be walking with Jesus. My soul craves him. So I'm at war. My body craves easiness and sin and my soul craves holiness and Jesus. Everyday (hour or minute/second) I pray for me to turn my back on sin the way I've turned my back on Jesus so many times. God's word is hard and the teaching of the Lord aren't for the people who want to stay in the dark. It's a huge light and when you turn it on there are lots of things that were hidden by the dark that we've got to clean up. I pray we all turn to the light and swim upstream. If we have any question at all over your salvation then take time and make it right. Not to get out of Hell, but to make yourself holy and closer to the Savior.

**Disclaimer** I'm not attempting to preach down anything or anyone. It's just what God put on my heart and is working with me on. I know it's a really hot topic and controversial point and I'm not trying to bring up controversy. My views are just that. Not views from the church or even Sunday school. It's not a something I've hung my hat on but honestly something that I want God to decide on and lead me in the direction. It's not even really about once saved always saved but in actually being saved.


  1. You say what God wants you to say and don't worry about what people say. You will not have to stand in front of people on judgement day. It will be the Lord Jesus Christ and if you keep saying what He tells you to say then you will not stand before Him in shame. If only people in or Christian world today could understand that. The Christian world would be a better place. But no we would rather make man happy instead of God.

  2. Thanks Scott. Sometimes I just worry that I'm going to get Ryan in trouble or something. I called and warned him about his because it's the last thing I want to do is make him have to answer to something I posted.