The olive tree and its branches…

Romans 11:22-24

Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.  For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

The sovereignty of God is displayed.  He shows goodness and he shows severity. (other translations state sternness)  The Gentile is grafted into his family because they believe, the Jew has been cut-off from their place because they do not believe.  It has nothing to do with who we are and everything to do with faith.  When we believe, we are grafted in and become a member of God’s family.  That holds for both the Gentile and the Jew.  We are not there by birth, by race, because our parents’ had faith.  The only requirement for being grafted into the olive tree of God’s family is to believe Him.  He took care of the rest.  So the family of humanity all equally have opportunity to enter the family of God.  What is required is faith.  He shows goodness and severity dependant upon our belief.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

“For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness.” 

 

We are all branches…

Romans 11:11-21

I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!

For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry,  if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them.  For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree,  do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.

You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.

olive branch

There is hope. That hope is part of faith.  That hope says when we believe and receive the  gift of grace; God’s forgiveness, mercy and redemption, we are grafted into his family.  The illustration of the olive tree gives fair warning.  The branches broken off and removed were broken because of lack of faith and belief.  They were not broken to graft in the new branches.  Paul warns us

do not be arrogant, but be afraid…”  (NIV version)

There is a fear that is proper for it reminds us of who and what God is.

  “Do not be haughty, but fear.”

Remember that if

 “God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either…”  (NIV version)

Again a reminder, the natural branches, those of the Israelites, were not spared due to their lack of faith and belief.  Consider this:

 ” remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.”

Rather we thank him for the privilege of being grafted into his family through faith.  Thank him for the nourishment received from him the root of the tree. There is a proper attitude when standing before Almighty God.

“…you do not support the root, but the root supports you.”

 

The olive tree

Branches look like their source…

John 15:1-8

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will  ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

 What does being ‘in the vine’ entail?  What is the extent of that ‘being’?  The life blood flow runs from the vine into its branches, feeds them and they grow and multiply.  As the season progresses, they bud, flower and bear fruit.  All that is in the vine is also in the branch.  Christ gives the image that what is in Him, then, is also in us.  It flows from him to us and we grow and bear fruit.  Cut the branch off and it ceases to bear fruit; it shrivels and dries out.  If the flow from the vine is interrupted and no longer received, the branch dies and is removed.  Christ’s words are that life source and flow.  We receive them in us and they give us life.  We have direct access to him.  We are connected.  We are also connected to the other branches.  What community exists!  The unity that is here stems from our inter-connectedness and the fruit we bear.  Individual branches, yes, but the same life-source and the same end result.  Bear fruit to bring glory to God.  It is not of our own doing; it comes from the connection to Christ. We become more and more like Him for we are of Him.  Stay connected…