GRAFTED INTO GOD’S FAMILY
Thursday, 6 September 2018
Romans 11 : 1-24
‘… 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,’ (Romans 11:17)
A major theme of the Book of Romans is the unity of both Jews and Gentiles in God’s family. In Genesis, God promised Abraham and His generations that ‘all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’ (Genesis 12:3; 28:14). God chose Israel to be the nation that would witness Him to the world. However, Israel rejected God and His Messiah, choosing legalism over faith. Salvation in through grace, by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on our behalf and not on the basis of works (Rom 11:6). And hence, by faith, we the gentiles have been grafted into God’s family.
Grafting is a horticultural technique used to join two plants so that they grown into one. Paul uses the metaphor of the grafting of the olive tree to explain the union of Jews and Gentiles in God’s family. In the Old Testament, olive tree has often been used to symbolize Israel. This olive tree was cultivated and nurtured by God, but because of their disbelief and fruitlessness, God cut off the barren branches and grafted in the wild olive’s branches - the gentiles, that we may partake in the riches of God’s kingdom and draw the rest of the tree into fruitfulness (Rom 11:11).
Therefore as a wild olive that has been grafted and joined into God’s family by His divine grace, we have to take caution and fulfill our responsibility.
Do not be Conceited: Our being united into God’s family is the partial fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham that through his offspring, the whole world would be blessed. Do not be puffed up in pride at your election into God’s family, ‘for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.’ (Rom 11:21) The LORD detests the proud. (Proverbs 16:5) Understanding that we are saved by grace and not by anything we can boast in, let us stay humble in our service to the Lord.
Do not Fall into Disbelief: It is disbelief that did not allow the children of Israel to enter God’s rest (Hebrews 3:18-19); disbelief that prompted God to ‘break off’ branches from the cultivated olive tree! (Rom 11:17); Therefore be cautious, ‘that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God, … hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.’ (Hebrews 3:12-13)
Continue in God’s Kindness: We should have a reverential fear of this awesome God who saved us from eternal death and called us into fellowship with Christ. In Philippians 2:12-13, Paul reminds us, ‘…work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.’ Let us continue in the Lord’s goodness, living holy lives that please the Father.
Be Fruitful: Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for apart from Me, you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away like a branch and is dried up. Such branches are picked up and thrown into the fire and burned.” (John 15:5-6) God expects us to be fruitful in His kingdom. We are not called to be passive Christians, but to be powerful witnesses of Christ to the world drawing many to the Lord through our spirit-filled life.
Prayer: Father Lord, I thank you for grafting me into Your family. Enable me to live a holy and fruitful life, fulfilling your purpose in this world. In Jesus’ name. Amen
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