Home Bible Study

"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


Search HBS Bible Lessons

Friday, May 29, 2015

Romans by the Book (Lesson 95)



Home Bible Study ©
Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4


Romans by the Book                                                                    Lesson 95

Hello and welcome to Home Bible Study.  If this is your first visit to HBS I’m especially glad that you’re here.  I pray you’ll take the time to see what we’re about and then opt to return regularly to study your Bible with us.

At the end of last week’s lesson I chose to leave the main path, as it were, and I led you all off onto a side trail instead because of the word “mystery” (Musterion in the Greek), in verse 25.  Most of you know this is “standard operating procedure” for me.  When a Bible verse or topic comes to mind that matches the one were covering, I have a tendency to “chase it down.”  This is what I mean by “side trail.”

Now a side trail isn’t a “bunny trail;” there’s a difference.  Bunny trails (like opinions) are long, winding and endless; most of the time they’ll take you nowhere.  However, when you follow after a Scripture verse or topic, as we did last week, you’re comparing Scripture with Scripture:  “Order on order, order on order, Line on line, line on line, A little here, a little there.’”  (Isaiah 28:10)  When you elect to do this, you’re actually studying your Bible.   

For every precept (teaching) mentioned in a place in the Bible, there is at least one other verse of the same precept.  For example, if Daniel mentions a doctrine, it will appear in the book of Matthew, or the book of Revelation.

That's why I left the main trail last week.  Not only was it appropriate it was time for you to know the word mystery is better translated secret; meaning something unknown or kept hidden and not something dark and mysterious such as David Copperfield’s magic act.  As this pertains to the Sovereign God, He intentionally keeps information hidden from mankind until He decides it is time to reveal it.  (Deuteronomy 29:29)

When the fullness of time came He chose to reveal His Grace Age secrets to Saul of Tarsus, a.k.a Paul a zealous Jew.  Paul then became the administrator of the mystery in accordance with the will of God and this by revelation, meaning he did not receive the Gospel of God from any man nor was he taught it.  Paul received these previously hidden secrets, representing the Divine will of God, from the risen Lord Jesus Christ.  (Galatians 1:11-12)

Our Lord revealed many secrets to Paul.  Today we call these Church Doctrines.
The Church Doctrine we looked at last week concerned the mystery of redemption or God’s Plan of Salvation in this Dispensation of Grace (see 1 Corinthians 2:7-10;  3:10, 15:1-4, 2 Corinthians 3:12-18; Ephesians 1:9, 10; Ephesians 3:3-5, 9, 18, 19, Ephesians 6:19; Colossians 1:25-27, 2:2, 4:2-3; 2 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 Timothy 3:9, 16).

I returned to verse 25, or to the main trail as you might say, to pick up Paul’s teaching on verse 25.  The mystery Paul is specifically speaking of here, to his brethren, is that a partial hardening has happened to Israel.

Let’s read it together.

Romans 11

25: For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery – so that you will not be wise in your own estimation – that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;

Paul is saying Israel’s hardening was a secret.  This information wasn’t revealed in the Old Testament (see Ephesians 3:4-5), Jesus Christ did not speak of it during His earthly ministry, and you won’t find anything said about it in the first part of the Book of Acts.  When you get to Acts 13:6, you find Paul on his first missionary journey.  He arrives in Paphos, and encounters a Jewish false prophet named Barjesus.  Paul rebuked him because he was full of deceit and fraud and he struck Barjesus with blindness for a time.  Some say this is a symbolic miracle indicating that Israel is Spiritually “blinded” to God’s Gospel but it also promises a restoration of True Israel in the future.

It’s a fact that only Paul received this secret regarding Israel’s hardening and this came about after the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  By stating that it was a mystery (I prefer the word secret), something the Gentiles could not have possibly known, Paul then speaks about certain aspects of this secret i.e. that it is partial and temporary.

The word partial in the Greek is Meros and means:  in part, to some degree, and one of the essential parts of a whole; individually.  Thus this verse is saying the hardening which has happened to Israel is partial for some Jews did believe in Jesus Christ and were saved.   Paul was one of these but Scripture records thousands of Jews being saved by faith.  (Acts 2:41)

In addition, the hardening was temporary.  We know this because of the word until in v25.  The word until is a time indicator.  Paul doesn’t disclose when the veil of darkness over Israel will be lifted but he does reveal the future event:  the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

The fullness of the Gentiles was a phrase Paul used for the “completion of the Body of Christ, or the filling up of God’s Church.  When the last Believer has entered into the Body of Christ by faith, (God alone knows the number of His saints both Jew and Gentile who will “come in”) God intends to remove His Church from this planet.  This future experience is known as the Rapture:  Behold I tell you a (what) mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead (in Christ Jesus) will be raised imperishable, and we (who are alive) will be changed.  For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.  (1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-6)

Sometime after the Rapture, God will once again deal primarily with His covenant people Israel.  He will return to His prophetic timeline that was interrupted at the Cross of Christ (Psalms 2:1-6; Daniel 9:24-27).  The first 3.5 years of the last 7 years of human history are known as the Tribulation.  Jesus Christ named the last 3.5 years of this time period the great Tribulation! (Matthew 24:21, 9.) 

God’s wrath has been on “hold,” if you’ll permit the expression, since the rejection and subsequent death of His Son.  The human race has been the beneficiary of God’s Grace for 2,000 years.  But the majority has rejected God’s mercy, His Grace, and the notion that salvation only comes by faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection - they have decided to go their own way.   

Scripture reveals that God’s wrath is coming!  It could be one day after the Rapture or it could be a hundred years the Bible doesn’t say.   But God will inaugurate His prophetic time of Jacob’s trouble.  You can bank on it:  Alas! For that day is great, There is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s (trouble) distress, But he (true Israel) will be (what) saved from it.  (Jeremiah 30:7) 

While God is pouring out His righteous wrath on the unbelieving world’s population, He will also, at the same time, continue to offer His Grace and salvation, by faith, to billion of people.  We understand that a great multitude will come to believe on Jesus Christ for their salvation following the Rapture of His Church and this includes a Believing remnant of Jews.  (Revelation 7:14)

The end result Paul discusses in verse 26:

Romans 11

26a: and so all (true) Israel will be saved;
It’s always a good idea to let Scripture do the talking then you know for certain you’re on the right trail, as it were. 

Please turn to Zechariah 13:8-9.  This is the LORD God speaking:  “It will come about in all the land,” Declares the LORD, “That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third part will be left in it.  And I will bring the third part (the believing remnant of Israel) through the fire (of the Tribulation), Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’ 

One-third of the nation of Israel will come to the realization that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, He’s coming back, believe on Him, and be saved.  This is the surviving remnant of Israel or the seed of Psalms 22:30:  A seed shall serve him; It shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.  (The Darby Bible – Psalms 102:18; Daniel 12:1; Isaiah 4:3).  The remainder of the Israelites will be cut off as a result of their unbelief. 

Let’s finish up verse 26.

Romans 11

26: and so all (true) Israel will be saved; just as it is written (or just as God said) “THE DELIEVERER (note the capitalization; this denotes deity) WILL COME FROM ZION (one of the hills near Jerusalem), HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.”

27: “THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.”

The concept of a Jewish remnant is present throughout the gospels but the word is not.
I pray you see this lines up perfectly with Paul’s teaching on the mystery (secret) concerning Israel’s partial hardening, which was revealed only to him, and after Jesus Christ’s resurrection.  Our Lord and Savior could not talk about this secret because it wasn’t time for its revealing.

For example Jesus Christ uses the term “little flock” in Luke 12:32 in referencing all those who choose to believe and faithfully follow Him, reflecting the prophet Jeremiah’s words:   And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their pastures; and they shall be fruitful and shall multiply.  (The Darby Bible - Jeremiah 23:3)

When I “chased” this same topic down I found that Jesus speaks of a “minority” (also considered a remnant) who will respond to His call for repentance and believe:  For
narrow the gate and straitened the way that leads to life, and they are few who find it.  (The Darby Bible – Matthew 7:14)

Here’s one more verse referencing the minority (or the remnant) that will come to believe on Jesus Christ for their salvation:  “For many are called but, but few are chosen.”  (Matthew 22:14)

Paul Himself quotes the prophet Isaiah at Romans 9:27-29 when speaking about the Jewish remnant:  For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them shall return (1/3 to be exact): the consumption determined shall overflow in righteousness.  (Isaiah 10:22)

The remnant is mentioned in Revelation 11:13:  And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and the tenth of the city fell, and seven thousand names of men were slain in the earthquake.  And the remnant were filled with fear, and gave glory to the God of the heaven.

God could have taken every one of their lives at this hour.  But He delayed His judgment allowing those who choose to repent and believe to become members of the remnant.

“THE DELIVERER (note the capitalization; this is the Messiah) WILL COME FROM ZION… The Bible makes it abundantly clear that Jesus Christ will return to earth and He will return in the same manner in which He left:  And after He (Jesus Christ) said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, two men in white clothing stood beside them.  They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky?  This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into the heaven, will come in just the same way as you watched Him go into heaven.  (Acts 1:9-11)

Jesus Christ left this earth from the Mount of Olives and rose up into the sky where a cloud received Him to ascend into heaven.  Jesus will return to the Mount of Olives in the same manner as He left, returning in a cloud from heaven:  In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.  (Zechariah 14:4)

 Jesus Christ will return to the earth to fulfill God’s Abrahamic Covenant with Israel:  “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of
the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.   (Matthew 24:30)


(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved


Friday, May 22, 2015

Romans by the Book (Lesson 94)



Home Bible Study ©
Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4


Romans by the Book                                                                    Lesson 94


I thank the Lord Jesus Christ for this day and for the opportunity to teach His Truths to those who demonstrate an interest in understanding the things God has revealed to those who love Him.   I also thank the Lord for each one of you.

Since there are no questions from this group, I can assume we’re all on the “same page,” as it were and prepared to press on toward the goal.  Our brother Paul explains:  Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do:  forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus – (knowing that) God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (and what’s God purpose for those who love Him – that they be conformed to the image of His Son).  (Philippians 3:13-14; Romans 8:28-29)

Let’s start today’s lesson with a brief review.

Through chapters 9 and on into chapter 10 our Apostle Paul discusses the important issues of God’s choosing and His mercy, (the potter and the clay), how the nation of Israel stumbled over the chief cornerstone laid in Zion, and then he goes on to discuss the righteousness that is by faith (alone) and why Israel did not understand God’s prophetic program. 

Moving into chapter 11, Paul speaks on the subject of God’s Good News going out to the nations and its effect this has had on his brethren - the Jews.  This leads into his clarification that God did not reject His people, although a Divine partial hardening has come upon some of them and as a result of their transgression (crucifying God’s Son) salvation has come to the Gentiles.  Once again this hardening is only partial, and temporal; partial in that it is not a permanent condition and it’s not on every individual Israelite.  The Book of Acts account clearly demonstrates that most of the converts to Christianity at this time in history were individual Jews – Paul was one of these. 

Paul magnified his ministry to the Gentiles, as he is the Apostle to the Gentiles, so that he might move some of his fellow countrymen to jealousy in order to save some of them.  Paul then warns the Gentiles repeatedly about reaching the wrong conclusion concerning their salvation vs Israel’s rejection and becoming conceited or high-minded.  In the same breath, Paul warned them not to lose their fear of God, and not to forget the kindness of God, otherwise (this is the flip-side) you also will be cut off.  For unbelief leads to destruction and damnation or as Paul put it, severity.  In short, Paul says the same fate that befell the Israelites, which you think so little of, is not to be scoffed at… (Romans 11:17-22) 

Please open your Bible at Romans 11:23.
 
Romans 11

23:  And they (the individual Israelites) also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.

In verse 23 there is change from Paul’s usage of the word “you” (10 uses addressing Gentile Believers) to the word “they/them” (meaning Israelites).  Now it isn’t just the possibility of Israelites being saved, as Paul continues his analogy, “grafted in;” Paul broaches the subject of Israel’s actual salvation by faith being a future reality.

Verse 23 asserts there’s a day coming when the blindness (or veil) will be lifted for some (like Paul for example who came to believe in Jesus Christ) and these Israelites will be grafted into God’s Kingdom Tree by faith for God is able to graft them in again.  God has left the Door open for the unbelieving Jewish people and as this book puts it Jesus Christ is that Door.

The problem in Jeremiah’s day was the same as in Paul’s day.  The Israelites believed that their covenant with Jehovah God was based on their heritage and their religious traditions rather than upon one’s faith.  However, Paul preached that faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ for your sins is the only way to be saved.  Therefore, this makes Jesus Christ the one and only Door into the Kingdom:  “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.  I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”  (John 10:7-9; 14-6, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

Despite the numerous prophecies that reveal true Israel will not continue in unbelief these individuals will need to “see” to believe and Scripture accounts for this fact:  “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will (what) look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.  (Zechariah 12:10; 8-14).

Verse 23 is not saying there will be a corporate redemption of Israel in the future.  There isn’t even a hint of this in Paul’s remarks.  The nation of Israel cannot be “grafted” in only individual Israelites (like Paul) can.  He continues this argument in verse 24. 

Romans 11

24: For if you (Gentiles) were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these (individual Israelites) who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?

I’m not a horticulturalist but as I understand the process, normally, you graft good olive branches upon a wild olive stock in order to produce good fruit.  However, here God does it contrary to nature.  He takes the wild olive branches (Gentiles) and grafts them into the good olive stock (Jesus Christ) on the condition of one’s faith.  It’s their faith that changes these branches from wild to cultivated.  This is contrary to nature.

This teaching is not exclusive to Romans.  Please turn to Ephesians 2:11.  For the sake of time we’ll drop in at verse 13:  But now in Christ Jesus you (Gentiles) who were (what) formerly were far off have been brought near by (faith in) the blood of Christ. 

When taken in context with verses 11-13, the phrase “But now, you who were far off,” refers to being “far off” from God’s people (the nation of Israel), the covenants, the Law, their religion, and therefore from God - and not just far from God, as many people read it.  The “heathen” Gentiles were most definitely “wild” olive branches, grafted in, by faith to the cultivated olive tree (Jesus Christ) making them able to produce good fruit.

Let’s move on to verse 25.

Romans 11

25:  For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this (what’s the next word) mystery – so that you will not be wise in your own estimation – that a partial hardening has happened to Israel (now read carefully) until (the word “until” is a time indicator; in this case it’s referring to a future event which the Holy Spirit names) the fullness of the Gentiles (or the filling up of God’s Church) has come in;

In verse 25 Paul is providing some significant new information to this assembly.  Information that wasn’t revealed in the Old Testament, Jesus Christ didn’t speak of it during His earthly ministry, and Peter and the other eleven apostles knew nothing of it.
 
Please turn to Ephesians 3:1-9:  For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles – if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; that by revelation there was made know to me the (what) mystery, as I wrote before in brief.  By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.  To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been (what) hidden in God who created all things;  (1 Corinthians 2:7).

Once again we have another example in Scripture of a poorly translated word and in this case it’s truly unfortunate because all it’s done is confuse people.  I’m speaking of the word “mystery.”  When most people come across the word “mystery” they automatically assume it means:  an enigma, something weird, or something deep, dark, and puzzling.  It does not mean any of these things.

The Greek word for mystery is Musterion, meaning:  a hidden or secret thing, not obvious to understanding; a hidden purpose or counsel. 

Now let’s return to the place of “first mention” in Scripture to see what it says about the secret things. 

Please go to Deuteronomy 29:29:  “The (what) secret (Mysterion) things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law. 

It’s certainly God’s prerogative to keep a secret until He’s ready to reveal it, but what man needs to understand is that once He reveals the secret or Truth He expects obedience.

We also have this from Scripture regarding the secret things of God:  It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.  (Proverbs25:2)

And this:  It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; (Daniel 2:22a)

1 Corinthians 2:10 provides us with a N.T. confirmation of Deuteronomy 29:29:  For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.  Because of this Truth we can understand a great deal about God and ourselves.

Our Apostle Paul received the stewardship of God’s grace by revelation of the “mystery” which had been kept hidden in the mind of God, since before the foundations of the earth. All these Grace Age doctrines we’ve been studying, the previously hidden things, Paul addresses as secrets for that’s what they were.  Peter, James, John and the others knew nothing of them.  Here’s what Peter had to say about Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles:  Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things (What things - the revelation of the mystery of God’s Grace) in which are (read carefully) some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.  (2 Peter 3:15b-16)   

(To be continued)


© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved































Friday, May 15, 2015

Romans by the Book (Lesson 93)



Home Bible Study ©
Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4


Romans by the Book                                                                    Lesson 93


I always like to begin by acknowledging you and your participation in this Bible study. Thank you for being here today with an open Bible and an open mind.

Besides teaching the Bible I want to assist those who want to learn how to study their Bible, and this is why I introduce basic Bible Study tools at the start of these lessons from time to time.  Most recently I talked about selecting a good study Bible because it is the most important study tool.  Today I want to talk briefly about a law concerning Bible understanding that you need to be aware of.  It’s called the “law of first mention.”

This principle states when interpreting Scripture the place of first mention or occurrence of a subject in Scripture establishes an unchangeable pattern with that subject and once established it remains unchanged in the mind of God throughout Scripture.

Here’s an example:  in Romans 11:17 our apostle Paul speaks metaphorically about a “green olive tree” which represents both Israel and Judah.  The LORD God “planted” them in Canaan, but when the time came for them to bear fruit its branches were worthless so the LORD God pruned them from the Tree of His Kingdom.

Following the law of first mention usually means you’ll need to go to Genesis (the book of beginnings) to locate the subject at hand and sure enough this is where we find the word “olive-leaf:” And the dove came to him at eventide; and behold, in her beak was an olive-leaf plucked off; and Noah knew that the waters had become low on the earth.  (Genesis 8:11 – The Darby Bible)  This was a sign from the LORD GOD that His punishment of man had been accomplished and the floodwater's were receding.

The Olive Tree is mentioned in the 1st Old Testament parable, that of Jotham, and is named among the blessings of the “good land:” And the olive-tree said to them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to wave over the tree?  (Judges 9:9 – The Darby Bible)

The two witnesses mentioned in Revelation (the book of endings) are spoken of as “two olive trees:” These are the two olive trees and the two lamps which stand before the Lord of the earth; (Revelation 11:4 - The Darby Bible)

In this example the Olive Tree is referred to as an emblem (or symbol) of prosperity, beauty, and religious privilege:  Jehovah had called thy name, A green olive-tree, fair, of goodly fruit with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and its branches are broken.   (Jeremiah 11:16 – The Darby Bible)  (See Psalms 52:8; Hosea 14:6)

I pray this tool helps you with you Bible study but I also pray it helps you to understand the symbolism behind Paul’s usage of the olive tree at Romans 11:17.  The olive tree, wild by nature, is the shoot or cutting of the good olive-tree which, left ungrafted, grows up to be a “wild olive.”  (Romans 11:24)

In verse 17, Paul refers to the practice of grafting shoots of the wild olive into a “good” olive which has become unfruitful.  By doing so, the sap of the good olive, by pervading the branch which is grafted in, makes it a “goodly” branch - bearing good olives.  The Gentiles, once a wild olive, but now grafted in, yield fruit, but only through the sap of the tree into which they have been grafted.  This process is contrary to nature (v24).

Please go to Romans 11:19 where we’ll begin today’s lesson.

Romans 11

19: You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.”
(Romans 9:19)

20: Quite right, they were broken off for their (the Jews) unbelief, but you (Gentiles) stand by your faith (alone).  Do not be conceited, but fear (God);

21: for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either.

The Israelites (the natural branches) were cut off because of their unbelief.  But, as Paul says in v20, you Gentiles stand by your faith.  Paul then warns the Gentiles not to become conceited toward the Jew, instead fear God.  You see, arrogance is the opposite of fear and contrary to the will of God because arrogant people have no need of God:  Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders.  Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5).

In verse 21 Paul explains why they should fear God:  for if God did not spare the natural branches (the Jews), He will not spare you (the Gentiles) either.

Scripture reveals the nation of Israel lost their unique position with God due to unbelief.  Paul is warning the Gentiles, in the Dispensation of Grace, this can happen to you.  If you follow Israel’s path, if you choose to forget God’s grace and your sinfulness; if you walk in “self-importance, pride, and arrogance, then God will not spare you.

Romans 11

22a: Behold then the kindness and severity of (the holy and Righteous) God; to those who fell (Israel), severity,

Sometimes a small word such as “if” can carry an important message.  It certainly does here.  If” the natural branches (Israel) had truly feared the LORD GOD, had they continued in His kindness, had they not become conceited, then they would not have experienced being cut off from the Tree of God’s Kingdom.   In other words, the Israelites could have had their King and the Kingdom here on earth, per the Abrahamic Covenant.  This is why Jesus was sent:  For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers. 

Now we know this didn’t happen but the fact that it didn’t happen doesn’t contradict the promises of God.  The Messiah came to His own as promised, therefore, the King and the Kingdom was a viable option.  (Romans 15:8; Genesis 12, 15).

Romans 11

22b: …but to you (Gentiles), God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

Here Paul is saying don’t be conceited if it happened to the nation of Israel it can happen to you Gentiles in the Dispensation of Grace.   If you do not continue in His (God’s) kindness, if you become “arrogant” and do not fear God you can be cut off (from God’s grace) too.

Jesus Christ’s Divine blood was poured out onto Calvary for all, (both the Jew and the Gentile) appeasing God’s wrath.  His sacrificial death for our sins reconciled every sinner to God the Father:  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a (what) gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith.  This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins (of mankind) previously committed; (Romans 3:23-25, 5:10)

God is pouring out His Divine Grace onto the human race through the gospel message of the cross.  In Christ Jesus:  we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished upon us.   (Romans 5:5; Ephesians 1:7-8; 1 Timothy 1:14).

Scripture refers to God’s grace as a gift because it’s given to Believers although they don’t deserve it.  If it could be earned or worked for then it wouldn’t be grace anymore:  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; (Ephesians 2:8).

Keeping in mind Paul’s warning, let’s seriously consider what the Gentiles have done with God’s grace to date.  The majority has rejected God, His grace, and His Truths outright and because of this there has been an ensuing steady, if not rapid, moral decline world-wide.  When I taught Romans chapter 2, I made this comment:  the further man sinks into depravity the further man is distanced from the Creator God. 

I went on to outline 3 things our Apostle Paul said occurred when men and women have completely turned their backs on God:  they are aware the things they are doing are wrong, they elect to do them anyway, and they give hearty approval to those who willfully join them. (Romans 1:32)

Over my lifetime I’ve witnessed America’s moral decline and I’ve experienced America’s turning away from God as well; it is more than just noticeable it’s alarming.  For instance I remember my mother telling me about the problem the Motion Picture Association had with the movie “Gone with the Wind” and all because of one “bad” word.  The word causing all the ruckus was “damn.”  However, the director paid the $5,000 fine, the movie was released, and the rest is history.   Some people chose not to view the movie.  They said this “bad” word made it immoral.  That was 1930.

In 2013 director Martin Scorsese released a film called, “The Wolf of Wall Street.”  This movie has set a new Guinness World Records title for most swearing in a single film.  The same f-word expletive is used 506 times – averaging 2.81 times per minute.  But that’s not all.  The heavy use of profanity, drug usage, and sexually explicit scenes has caused distribution problems in many foreign countries – but not in America.  Here it grossed millions and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. 

In 2 Chronicles 33:1-25 we find a king named Hezekiah, a God-fearing king, who brought about reformation among the Israelites.  His son, Manasseh, however, was an evil ruler.  He had watched his father walk with God and live according to Scripture.  Yet he chose to ignore the LORD God.  (Psalms 119:105).

Manasseh worshipped false gods, even to the point of sacrificing his sons by fire in order to praise Molech.  He practiced much evil including witchcraft and sorcery.  He led Israel astray, thereby provoking the LORD God to anger.  This king and his people paid a high price for his rebellion.

This Bible account serves to illustrate God’s intolerance of a nation’s disregard toward Him.  Now, please consider the United States of America.  Have we, too, as a nation not pushed God aside?  Hasn’t America turned away from the one true God and embraced multiple idols.  These idols may or may not be of wood or stone, but we have certainly created idols of money, sports, ability, beauty, fame, fortune, science, philosophy, and reputation to name but a few. 

America was founded on Biblical principles with the intent to guarantee the freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  The freedom to worship is a constitutionally protected right provided in the religion clauses of the First Amendment.  But over time we have seen the Supreme Court of the Unites States “whittle” away at these rights by ruling the Ten Commandments could not be displayed in court buildings or on government property unless it is in an historical context…, we have witnessed the name of Jesus Christ being removed from public speaking, prayer, and other aspects of public life.  Most recently a United States Navy Chaplain was ordered not to “Pray in the name of Jesus Christ” by his superior officer – April 22, 2015.  On June 19, 2000 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled School Sponsored Prayer is unconstitutional. 

This country, once a “Nation under God,” has turned into a country that tolerates an alarming number of mounting sins i.e. abortion, teen-age sex, underage drinking, and drug abuse, etc. and belittles or ignores absolute truth. 

For the past 2,000 years the human race has been experiencing God’ tender heart i.e. His grace, love, and His mercy.  But one should not misinterpret God’s kindness as weakness.  There’s a flip-side to God’s love and Scripture proves this Truth out again and again - God is holy, righteousness, and good; but He’s capable of wrath.  The word “wrath” appears 189 times in Scripture and is used more often than the word “grace.” 

This Biblical fact is speaking to the Gentiles who have no fear of God, who are arrogant and self-centered, and have spurned God’s kindness.   To the Gentiles who say, if there is a God, He would never send anyone to hell.  I respond, if God wasn’t capable of “wrath,” ask yourself this question, would there be a need for His grace?

(To be continued)


© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved