Bible Reading Day 225
Day 225, August 13, Romans 11:22-36
Paul continues his metaphor of the olive tree to teach the Christians in Rome more of God’s heart.
Yesterday we saw a clear statement that prevents us adopting “replacement theology” (that the church replaces Israel and therefore supersedes it). Today we have both the conclusion of that argument and a clear statement that prevents us adopting ‘favoritism theology’ (that says that God treats the Jews differently).
That statement comes first, as Paul shows that the “kindness” and the “severity” of God both relate to our trusting Jesus. The Jews and Gentiles alike will experience God’s kindness by trusting Jesus, or God’s judgment if they do not. This is similar to a narrow bridge across a chasm. You can experience a relatively easy walk to safety if you stay on the bridge, or a terrible plunge to your death if you do not.
There is no favoritism, but don’t be misled – God is not a harsh judge, deepening the chasm and waiting for people to slip off his bridge! On the contrary, it is God’s mercy which unites Jews and Gentiles alike into the restoration of God’s original plan for humanity.
God called Israel, and they followed, but then rebelled. The Gentiles then were welcomed and grafted in (as we saw in the Book of Acts) after they had been rebels for centuries. Finally God will welcome back the Jews when they too turn away from rebellion and accept God’s mercy. The picture that comes to me is that of the ‘prodigal son’ – a Jewish boy who wandered far away from home in rebellion but was still loved when he returned home.
This is such a wonderful thought that Paul ends the chapter with a song of praise to God. Let’s join him in praising God for His mercy!
Have a great day!