Dear Student of the Word,
Wow, it has almost been two months since I have posted a Bible study from Romans! That is my longest break in 12 years! My only excuse is my teaching schedule, which included four classes this term, three of which I had never taught before. So I finished the classes last week, and 'suddenly,' I have time to revisit this study. Forgive my absence and let's pick up where we left off, with Paul talking about his people the Jews and their relationship to God at this point in time. Paul is clear that the terms for their reconciliation to God are faith in Christ. While that is the main topic of this week's study, here is what I had to say in part four of this seven-part study that you can download below:
Study Eleven, Part Four
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!
11:22 – It is a fact that you determine how God treats you. Now you may be confused as to whether or not that is consistent with what was written yesterday. Yesterday I wrote that what you have is by grace; that is still true. You can reject God’s grace, however, or have a bad attitude that affects how God relates to you. Jesus taught: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy (Matthew 5:6-7).
If you want God, you must hunger for Him. If you want mercy, you must first show and sow mercy to then reap it. The Psalmist wrote:
The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd (Psalm 18:24-26).
Paul wrote that God has been kind to the Gentiles, but if they wanted to remain in the covering of that kindness, they would have to continue to meet the requirements. Does this confuse you? While you cannot earn God’s grace, you can create an atmosphere and lifestyle that cultivates God’s blessings on an ongoing basis. Forget that God is the source and have a bad heart attitude and you will reap what you sow!
If you aren’t happy with some aspect of your walk with the Lord at this point in your life, (or what you are receiving from Him), then maybe you need to examine how you are approaching God and whether your attitude isn’t affecting how God is relating to you.
11:23 – The door is open for the Jews to come to God, but it can only be by faith. There can be no other way.
11:24 – But if and when the Jews return to God, they will be grafted back into their own covenant heritage and great will be the rejoicing and the fruit!
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. For additional Bible studies, check out my website archive, which contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse New Testament studies, along with the unpublished volume of The Faith Files.