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Romans 11:22


Darlene

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Heavenly Father,

 

Sometimes I don't know how to begin these prayers, not because I don't know how to pray, but sometimes I don't know how to start them off because I'm aware, at least when I first begin to write them, that I'm writing them in public...my own personal thoughts and feelings open to whoever cares to read them. Once I get going, I soon forget that they are public, but it's the starting of them that many times causes me to sit here and pray, "help me Holy Spirit, I don't know what to say..."

 

That's because in my mind, I often jump from thing to thing, talking to You about all the things going on, whether it be spiritual or on a human level. I don't know why I suddenly get concerned that I need to make them more organized and flow properly just because they're open prayers for public viewing, but I really need to stop that because these prayers have always been genuine...they've always been actual words that come from my heart that I raise up before You, my Heavenly Father.

 

So with that said...I think I'll just pray like I normally do...

 

I've made some progress Father, with my fire building lol. I don't know why I keep expecting to suddenly walk out there and see a warm and roaring fire going in my stove. Is that faith, knowing that You can do that? lol But Your ways are not my ways, and instead, you sent a friend who has a natural knack for getting fires going in wood stoves to teach me step by step, how to get a fire going with just a little newspaper, twigs, limbs, and finally logs. "give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day...teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime"?

 

She taught me quite a few things that day Father, so thank You for stirring her heart to come help me. I ask that You would bless her in eternal ways Father that she might know Your love and Your salvation...

 

Things have been busy around here too Father God. My dad is coming up for Easter and that, on one hand, makes me very emotional. None of my family has been able to come and visit yet...to see where You have led me. My mom has been ill, so I pray Father that Your healing hand would flow over her body and her mind and her heart. She will not be able to come for Easter, but she's sending my dad and that just makes me want to cry. I don't even know why that makes me cry, but it's good tears, happy tears. I get to see my family a couple of times a year when I go down and visit but this is different. This time, they're coming here...my dad and one of my brothers and that just wrecks me. Perhaps it's because instead of just telling everyone about the things I do, and about where I live, I'll actually be able to show them. Perhaps it's because I'm such a visual person that anticipating them seeing all of this makes me feel that they'll comprehend, on a deeper level, Your hand in all of that. These feelings kind of surprise me...I wasn't even aware they were there. I mean, I know I'm thrilled for family to visit, but the emotions that erupt say to me that this is more important than I realize. I want my dad to pray over my homes and my land...he's the head of our family and such an incredibly Godly man. I want his blessing, and I want him to comprehend the beauty of all You've blessed me with...perhaps that's because I want or need them to understand the reason I paid such a price to leave my family and move here. I don't know Father God but the tears that flow come from deep within so I just ask that You would bless this time that I get to spend with my dad and brother.

 

This has also spurred me to get some things done around here that I've been procastinating about. I've had a hard time motivating the last few months. I don't know why but it's just been hard. So, the fact that my dad is coming has breathed life into me and I've been busy, scurrying around, getting some much needed things done as I prepare for his arrival. The fact that he's coming came as such a surprise...I didn't know if I was just going to stay up here for Easter or make the trip down there, but the last thing I had thought was that they would be coming up here. So thank You Father God for this blessing. Words don't even begin to describe how much it means to me, but every time I turn towards You and try to express all that I'm feeling through the tears, Your peace just floods my soul. I just feel like You knew there were all these buried things in my heart even though I guess I had stuffed them so deep I didn't even know they were there...Your love, Your tenderness, Your concern, Your grace has blessed me with this visit and my heart is grateful and causes me to say "wow" as I experience this unexpected blessing.

 

Anyway Father, I want and need to spend this time with You as I share this next installment in Romans. May Your Spirit move over the words I write, bringing them to life in each of our hearts, planting them deep, that Your truths might grow in fulness.

 

And Father God? I just ask that You bless each person that reads this study...that they might remember that Your eye is upon them and that when You look at them, Your heart fills up with love and burning desire for a deeper relationship with them.

 

I love You.

 

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

 

 

22. Behold then the goodness and severity of God: toward them that fell, severity; but toward thee, God's goodness, if thou continue His goodness: otherwise thou also shall be cut off.

 

The rvbv writes, "This is a most solemn word, indeed! It calls the Gentile world to behold the goodness and [its opposite] severity of God! Toward them that fell, severity: in spite of what had been the privileges of having Jehovah's temple among them; and the former faithfulness of the nation, and afterwards of individuals, Israel fell into self-righteousness, pride, and rejection of their Messiah. Toward such, "severity." Christ beheld Jerusalem and wept over it, for judgment is God's "strange work." But, we beg you, get Josephus, or any history, and read what befell the Jews when Titus took Jerusalem; and see Matthew Twenty-three, and our Lord's anguished words: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate!"

 

Now it is the common talk thruogh Christendom that the Jews were God's "ancient" people; and that now the Gentiles are God's favored ones. People love to hear sermons on the "goodness" of God, but resent talk of Divine severity toward the Gentiles! But have the Gentiles proven themselves different from the Jews in their conduct toward god? Christendom is today sinning against greater light than ever Israel had!

 

God says to the Gentile: Toward thee, God's goodness, if thou continue in His goodness - Now what is "the goodness" referred to here?

 

We remember our Lord's saying to the twelve apostles, when He first sent them out to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel," "Go not into any way of the Gentiles, and enter not into any city of the Samaritans" (Matt. 10:5). He had come as "a minister of the circumcision to His own. But when they had rejected and crucified Him, the Risen Lord said: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation" (Mark 16:15); "Ye shall be My witnesses, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

 

So, the Holy Spirit having been given at Pentecost, Peter is shortly sent to the house of the Gentile, Cornelius: who believes the simple gospel of Christ, and, on "all them that heard the Word the Holy Spirit fell." Then Barnabas and Saul, Silas and Timothy, and the rest, go on to the Gentiles, turning the world "upside down" with the gospel of grace. No need for a "religion" now; they had Christ. No need for a temple, - they, the assembly, were "the temple of God"; for, as Stephen witnessed - and was stoned for it - "The Most High is not [now] dwelling in temples made by hands." No need for a ritual: they had the Holy Spirit, and worshipped by Him instead of forms! No need of a special priesthood, - all believers were alike priests, and drew near unto God by the shed blood, Christ Himself, over the house of God, leading their worship, as the Great High Priest in heaven. No need of seeking "merit," - they were in Christ, already accepted in Him, - yea, made the very righteousness of God in Him!

 

Now this was God's goodness toward Gentile believers.

 

And, as for the Gentiles all: they were no longer called "dogs" as contrasted with the favored race of Israel (Matt. 15:26). There was a complete change in the relationship of Gentiles as such toward God. They were put into the place of privilege and opportunity of Divine blessing: an "acceptable time," a "day of salvation," in God's "goodness" was extended to them. If one had sought to instruct a Gentile in the Old Testament days, he must have said, "God is the God of Israel: become a proselyte; go up to Jerusalem; keep the feasts according to the Law." If one should go to a Gentile in the coming Millennium, the like instruction would be necessary, for all the naitons must then go up to Jerusalem by their representatives "to worship the King, Jehovah of Hosts" (Zech. 14:16-18).

 

But now? No! An ambassador for God says anywhere, to the worst heathen, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."

 

This is 'the Divine goodness.'

 

Now, have the Gentiles continued in that goodness?

 

For if the Gentiles have not so continued, God's severity must be shown to them, as before to Israel: thou SHALT BE CUT OFF.

 

What then is the record? It is ghastly!

 

First, as to sending out the gospel: After nearly 2000 years, much of the human race knows nothing of Christ.

 

Then, as to salvation by grace preached to lost men, apart from law and from ordinances, we see, instead, "good character" preached up as the way of acceptance; the simple supper of the Lord call "these holy mysteries," and baptism, instead of a glad confession of a known Savior, relied on as a "means of regeneration."

 

Instead of simple gatherings (as at the first), of believers unto the Name of Christ their Lord, relying on the presence of the Holy Spirit solely, (as at the first), we see great Judao-pagan temples, and an elaborate "service." And would this were in Rome only!

 

Instead of the free, general common priesthood of believers, in the fellowship of prayer and faith (as in apostolic days) we see thousands upon thousands of professing Christians that have never prayed nor praised openly in the assembly of His saints; myriads who do not have even the assurance of salvation (though Christ, who bore sin for them, has been received up on high). Contrast with this Acts 2:42: "They continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers."

 

We see open, general, horrible idolatry, in both the Greek and Roman cathedrals; and a growing tendency to put up "crosses" instead of preaching "the word of the cross," in so-called "Protestant" places!

 

We see great State Churches, a thing unknown and impossible in Scripture; and we see professing Christians divided into "denominations," each with its own "program," - ignoring wholly Paul's words in I Corinthians 1:12,13 and 3:2-4; and not at all walking in the consciousness of 'the One Body'. Indeed, instead of the unity of the Spirit, they are ready to establish horrible outward earthly union, of all "professing Christians," "modernists," and Jews - in short, all "religionists." (That God is withdrawing from denominational" Christianity is very evident. "Modernists" control some denominations completely and the hideous unbelief of "modernism" is infiltrating slowly every denomination. Honest souls familiar with the facts all know this and are perplexed what to do. But God will take care of His testimony, - indeed is doing so, by means of Bible conferences, Bible classes, and gatherings for prayer in private homes - more and more after the early Church pattern. As for Laodicean "property," the great churches, schools, libraries, and what not, the devil is falling heir to them fast, - which need not alarm the saints, for the early Church had none of these things, but Christ and the Holy Ghost and God's Word only!)

 

So that the Gentiles will be "cut off" from that place of Divine privilege which they now have (and which Israel nationally has lost), and Israel will be restored to the privileged place, as before. Of course this "cutting off" does not mean that individual Gentiles cannot be saved! But, as in the Old Testament, and in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Israel will be honored as the center and spring of Divine blessing on earth; the Gentiles becoming again subordinate to Israel, as to the spiritual things; and having again to "go up to Jerusalem" to worship Jehovah. The Church, the Body of Christ, will of course have been translated to heaven before this order of things comes in. The Church is "the fulness of the Gentiles," of Romans 11:25.

 

Thus, instead of continuing in God's goodness, Gentile "Christendom" has set up the "Christian religion"; and has settled down upon earth as if the Church belonged here; and as if Christ might not come at any moment! If you dream Christendom has continued in the humble gospel of grace, and the goodness of God in giving His Son to shed His blood for lost sinners, just examine the "religious" pronouncements in the press!"

 

Heavenly Father,

 

As I was typing out todays study, a few questions arised so I went and looked into a couple of commentaries to get clarification. One thing that I came across that struck me was the analogy of the Jews being cut down, or their branches cut off, and the Gentiles being grafted in. Matthew Henry wrote:

 

The apostle, having adopted this metaphor as the best he could find to express that act of God's justice and mercy by which the Jews were rejected, and the Gentiles elected in their stead, and, in order to show that though the Jewish tree was cut down, or its branches lopped off, yet it was not rooted up, he informs the Gentile believers that, as it is customary to insert a good scion in a bad or useless stock, they who were bad, contrary to the custom in such cases, were grafted in a good stock, and their growth and fruitfulness proclaimed the excellence and vegetative life of the stock in which they were inserted. This was the goodness of the heavenly gardener to them; but it was severity, apotomia, an act of excision to the Jews.

 

The reader will observe that this term belongs to engrafting: often, in this operation, a part of a branch is cut off; in that part which remains in connection with the tree a little slit is made, and then a small twig or branch taken from another tree is, at its lower end, shaved thin, wedge-like, and then inserted in the cleft, after which the whole is tied together, clayed round, and the bark unites to bark; and the stock and the scion become thus one tree, the juices of the whole stock circulating through the tubes of the newly- inserted twig; and thus both live, though the branch inserted bears a very different fruit from that which the parent stock bore.

 

I have often performed this operation, and in this very way, with success: and I cannot conceive that the apostle could have chosen a more apt or more elegant metaphor. The Jewish tree does not bring forth proper fruit; but it will answer well to ingraft a proper fruit-bearing tree on. The Gentiles are a wild olive, which is a tree that bears no fruit; but it may be made to bear if grafted on the Jewish stock. Some of the branches were cut off, that the branches of this wild olive might be inserted: the act by which this insertion is made is termed apotomia, goodness, benignity: the act by which the branches of the original stock are broken off is termed apotomia, excision; from apo, from, and temnw, I cut, still keeping the metaphor taken from engrafting in view. Now, let the apostle's mode of reasoning be observed: the tree is cut down, or its branches lopped off; but the tree is not rooted up. The Jews have stumbled, but not so as to fall irrecoverably; for if they abide not still in unbelief, they shall be grafted in, ver. 23. The Gentiles which are grafted in on these cut-off branches, like the scion inserted into another stock, partake of the root, which absorbs from the earth the nutritious juices, and the fatness of the Jewish tree, the blessings and privileges which that people have long enjoyed, in consequence of the Abrahamic covenant, ver. 17; the root, the Jewish covenant, bears them: not they the root, ver. 18.

 

As, therefore, the continuance of the Gentiles as the Church and people of God depends upon their interest in the Abrahamic covenant, the blessings of which they derive through the medium of the Jews, they should be grateful to God, and tolerant to those through whom they have received such blessings. And as, in the case of grafting, the prosperity of the engrafted scion depends on the existence of the parent stock, so the continuance of the Gentiles in this state of favour, (following the metaphor,) in a certain way depends on the continuance of the Jewish people: and they are preserved, as so many scions which are in process of time to be engrafted on the Gentiles; and thus the Gentiles shall become the means of salvation to the Jews, as the Jews have been the means of salvation to the Gentiles. Following, therefore, the metaphor a little farther, which seems to have been so well chosen in all its parts, the continued existence of the Jews as a distinct people, together with the acknowledgment of the Gentiles, that they have derived their salvation and state of blessedness through them-of which Jesus Christ, born of the stock of David, is the author; and the Jewish Scriptures, which the Gentiles receive as inspired by God, are the evidence-then, the restoration of the Jews to the favour of God is a necessary consequence, and indeed seems to be the principal end in reference to which the apostle reasons. The Gentiles, however, are to take care that the restoration of the Jews be not at their expense; as their calling and election were at the expense of the Jews: the latter being cut off, that the former might be grafted in, ver. 19. Of this there is no kind of necessity, for the original stock, the Abrahamic covenant, is sufficient to receive them all; and so Jews and Gentiles become one eternal flock, under one Bishop and Shepherd of all their souls."

 

The thing that struck me Father, and was a perspective I've just never thought about before, was that while there was the branches lopped off, signifying Israel, the 'root' was never dug up.

 

This grace period for the Gentiles is a very serious time...I guess I've never considered it like that before. Our calling/election was at the expense of the Jews, and one day that role will be reversed.

 

I love living in the freedom of my relationship with You...but details like this, check me and cause me to remember the incredible value of the price that was paid for that relationship.

 

You truly are Holy, Father.

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

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