Monday, February 19, 2024

2024.02.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 11:22–24

Read Romans 11:22–24

Questions from the Scripture text: With what command does Romans 11:22 begin? What two things are we to consider? Of Whom? What are we to consider from Him on those who fell? What are we to consider from Him on us who have believed? In what will we continue, if we have truly believed? But what will happen if we do not continue in that goodness? In what might those who fell not continue (Romans 11:23)? What will happen to them if they don’t continue in unbelief? By Whose ability would this happen? Out of what sort of tree were Gentile “branches” cut out (Romans 11:24)? Contrary to what were they grafted into what? But what sort of branches are those who fell? Into what would they be grafted if they believe?

In what way are we to think about unbelieving Jews? Romans 11:22–24 prepares us for the sermon in the midweek prayer meeting. In these three verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that we are to think of unbelieving Jews with an eye toward the goodness of God. 

Behold your God, Romans 11:22a. “Consider” is more literally “look” or “behold.” We often focus in upon what will happen with men, but this verse directs our attention back to God Himself. This is a good habit to maintain for good interpretation of Scripture and life. It is best to keep our eyes upon Him. In this case, there are two things to see: goodness and severity. Goodness is provision over-against what the recipient needs. Severity is cutting precisely according to the way things are. The Lord is both generous and just, and He highlights both of these, as we direct our attention to Him.

Continue in the goodness, Romans 11:22b. There is a warning at the end of this verse. Those who are in the visible church are not out of danger of being cut off. There is a way of proceeding that exposes a “branch” as not having been grafted in. That way is if they proceed according to themselves instead of according to God. If they proceed to please themselves, instead of to please God, they have not begun in His goodness. If they proceed in their own power, instead of in God’s power, they have not begun in His goodness. Only those who continue in God’s goodness have begun in His goodness. And only these will not be cut off. The Christian life is one of God-given dependence and devotion. Continue in His goodness!

Expect more goodness, Romans 11:23-24. Many of us have dear ones, acquaintances, or enemies who are in bondage to unbelief. When we look at them, what we see is spiritual impossibility. But, if we consider them with our attention upon God, we see not only the current justice of His severity, but we see His ability. “God is able” says Romans 11:23! The apostle doesn’t see Israel as permanently stuck in unbelief; they may be unable to believe, but God is able to graft them in again.

We are encouraged to hope for others to come to faith even and especially by the Lord having brought ourselves to faith. This is especially the case with those who began within Bible-believing families and churches. Yes, they have been cut off due to unbelief, but their life in this world began under the cultivation of God. They heard His Word, participated in His worship, and were part of His people. If God has grafted in people who did not begin this way, how much more we should expect Him to recover and graft in those whom He brought into this world as “natural” branches!

Many abuse Proverbs 22:6, as if it applies to the covenant child that has gone wayward, rather than the one that has been trained in the way and stays in the way. But here, in Romans 11:23–24, we are on more solid scriptural ground for that wayward covenant child. He was a natural branch. He has been cut off. But God is grafting in even those branches that began outside of the advantages of the cultivation that God gives in His church. Surely, we may hope in the God, Who is able and willing to show such goodness, that He will graft wayward covenant children back in. Behold, hope in, and expect the goodness of God!

How did you come to faith? What did you deserve instead? What does this remind you about God? How, then must you continue in the faith? Whom do you know that is currently stuck in unbelief? Upon Whom must you remember to focus, when you think about their spiritual situation? What reason do you have to hope that they will be saved?

Sample prayer:  Our gracious God, we thank You that You are good to sinners and save them by grace, through faith, in Jesus Christ. Keep us walking in Your goodness! And grant that even those who have been cut off may be grafted in by Your power and goodness, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH517 “I Know Whom I Have Believed”

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