Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.’ 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you either. 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!”
The offer of salvation by faith to the Gentiles instilled jealousy in the Jews, which led some of them to salvation by faith, too.
Paul knew that he was given as an apostle to the Gentiles. The prospect of indirectly leading some of his kinsmen to a saving faith lent even greater significance to his ministry.
Paul knew that some Gentile readers might become prideful because of their acceptance of the gospel. Paul warned them against this kind of attitude by way of a metaphor using a root and branches.
Fee and Hubbard summarize Paul’s thoughts this way:
Paul warns Gentiles against arrogance toward the Jews, whose role in the history of redemption functions as the root system supporting the salvation of those “grafted” on. If God cut off the natural branches from the tree (the unbelieving Jews from the promises of the covenant), He will not hesitate to cut off wild ingrafts.
When I read this, I can’t help but think of Paul’s warning about being arrogant in verses 17-20. Arrogance is just another form of pride. Pride is our greatest problem. It really is. Think about it… It does nothing but focus our attention on us, on what we’ve done, or on how good a person we are. Josh Squires put it best, “Pride is a prison that perpetuates anger, hurt, and foolishness while keeping at bay the restorative effects of conviction, humility, and reconciliation.”
Yes, we have no room for pride when it comes to the gospel. There is nothing we’ve done to earn God’s favor; it is a free gift. It’s only because of His grace and mercy that we now stand freed from sin’s destructive power. We must be quick to recognize spiritual pride when it raises it’s ugly head.
How can we do this? Remember that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone…and nothing else.
Take some time to think about the quote “Pride is a prison that perpetuates anger, hurt, and foolishness while keeping at bay the restorative effects of conviction, humility, and reconciliation.” In what ways might God be asking you to lay aside your pride toward others around you? Romans 11:18 “If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.” Spend some time considering all the ways that “the root supports you.”
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest. Romans 8-16 For You: For reading, for feeding (God’s Word For You – Romans Series Book 2, Keller, Timothy.