Consider the severity of God (Romans 11:22)


Whenever I tell people about God’s goodness, I can just about guarantee that someone will call for balance and say I should also preach on God’s severity. Then they quote this verse:

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. (Rom 11:22, NKJV)

“You see, God is kind, but he’s also severe, so watch yourself! God has given you a chance to repent, but now you have to prove you were worth it by getting your act together, otherwise it’s the chop for you!”

And we wonder why unbelievers don’t get excited about this so-called gospel!

In my ongoing series on eternal security, I have maintained that we are saved by grace and kept by grace. Your eternal security rests on God’s promises, not your behavior. But, the insecure don’t believe it. They read the above passage and worry that they will be cut off if they fail to continue in the Lord’s kindness.

How do you continue? The insecure are uncertain, but it probably has something to do with working hard, being good, and hoping for the best. But look at what Paul says:

You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. (Rom 11:19)

This is about belief not behavior, faith not works. “They were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith.” Continuing in God’s goodness is less about working and more about trusting. But I am getting ahead of myself. Before we go further we need to ask an an important question:

Who is Paul talking about?

Who are the “they” that were broken off and who are the “you” that were grafted it? Paul is not speaking about individuals and he is not speaking about the church. He is talking about Jews and Gentiles:

Concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” … I am talking to you Gentiles. (Rom 10:21, 11:13)

The nation of Israel, as a group, was broken off and the Gentiles, as a group, were grafted in. The Jews had been shown favor from the Lord but they did not receive it (although certain individual Jews had, such as Paul himself). God reached out to the Jews in love but they gave him the cold shoulder. Now God’s favor is also extended to the Gentiles.

For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him. (Rom 10:12)

God’s desire is to bless everyone, but not everyone receives his blessing. As a group the Jews tried to earn his favor and were cut off. That sounds like divine judgment as though God were rejecting them. But look at what Paul says:

Did God reject his people? By no means! … God did not reject his people… they stumbled … they were broken off because of unbelief. (Rom 11:1,2,11,20)

The condemnation of unbelief is self-inflicted. Refuse his blessings and you won’t be blessed. You’ll be cursed. This is why Paul warns the Gentiles to “continue in God’s kindness.”

What is God’s kindness?

God’s kindness refers to his unmerited favor or grace which comes to us through Jesus:

In order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Eph 2:7)

To continue in kindness is to continue in grace which is to continue in Christ.

As a nation, the Jews stumbled in unbelief. But the grace of God is for the whole world. Hence Paul says, “Don’t boast over the Jews – you Gentiles have a window of opportunity, like they did, and it won’t last forever. Receive God’s goodness! Receive Jesus! Confess him as Lord (Rom 10:9). Clothe yourself with Christ (Rom 13:14).”

What about God’s severity?

Here is the wrong way to interpret the severity passage: “I need to work hard for God and keep 100% of his commands to avoid getting cut off.” That’s what the Jews thought and it led to their downfall. By betting on their performance they rejected God’s grace.

And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. (Rom 11:6)

At the start of his letter to the Romans, Paul says everyone receives one of two gifts from the Lord. We either receive the free gift of his righteousness that comes by faith (Rom 1:17), or we receive, through hard-nosed and stubborn unbelief, the unwanted gift of his wrath (Rom 1:18). The Jews, as a group, had chosen the bad gift (Rom 10:21). We do well to choose the good one.

Who is in danger of being cut off?

Not those who are joined to the Lord.

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:28)

The insecure thinks, “If I can graft myself in through belief, then I can cut myself off through unbelief.” To this I respond, “You are saved by Jesus and kept by Jesus. You are one with the Lord and what God has joined together, no man can tear apart.”

“But what if I stop continuing in his kindness.” Paul answers that question when he talks about the importance of continuing in the faith. Although there are consequences to not continuing, Paul never says the Christian will be cut off. You are the body of Christ and Jesus doesn’t self-amputate.

Continue in his kindness, otherwise, you also will be cut off. (Rom 11:22)

Remember, Paul is addressing groups – Jews and Gentiles – not individuals. He clarifies this in the next two verses: “And if the Jews… You Gentiles…” (Rom 11:23-24, GNB).

The Jews, as a group, were written off even as individual Jews, such as he and all the apostles, were grafted in through faith. Similarly, the Gentiles as a group have benefited from the kindness of God, but individual Gentiles may yet miss out through unbelief.

None of this talk about being cut off from Christ applies to Christians. But don’t take my word for it. Here is the Believer’s Bible Commentary:

It must be constantly borne in mind that Paul is not speaking of the church or of individual believers. He is speaking about the Gentiles as such. Nothing can ever separate the Body of Christ from the Head, and nothing can separate a believer from the love of God…

Romans 11 is a warning to those who, like the Jews, stubbornly refuse the grace and goodness of God. Reject his blessings and you’ll curse yourself.

This should not frighten the believer. Although the Gentiles as a group may receive or miss out on God’s grace, the body of Christ will never, ever experience the sternness or severity of God. It’s one or the other, not both. Don’t let anyone curse what God has blessed.

Romans is good news for the believer!

Romans 11 has been used to sow fear and terror into the children of God. It has been twisted into a works-based message of conditional salvation that is a million miles from Paul’s heart. We would not fall for this nonsense if we had an assurance of our Father’s love and grace. If only Paul had given us such an assurance. He does!

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (Rom 8:15-16)

The Holy Spirit says you belong to your heavenly Father and you are his dearly beloved child. If a sermon on Romans 11 fills you with fear, you can be sure that the spirit behind it is not the Holy Spirit.

If Romans 11 scares you, read Romans 8.


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65 Comments on Consider the severity of God (Romans 11:22)

  1. Great write here. Im blessed.

  2. keep up the good work brother,its amazing how i have to hear the on going message of grace and eternal security, the enemy must really hate it, to fight so hard against it

  3. Hi Paul,
    Do you think the knowledge of why some people believe whereas others don’t is possible and is it even profitable to try to discover?

  4. Awesome teaching. Give us more!

  5. “You are saved by Jesus and kept by Jesus. You are one with the Lord and what God has joined together, no man can tear apart.” Are you not referring to Mark 10:9, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Its say’s ‘let not’ man do this! Not that man ‘will not’ do this. So, its a bit of a twist you give.
    We are saved by Jesus and kepted by him. “For by grace are we saved, through faith,… it is a gift. Ephesians 2:8. Even our faith (the measure, Romans 12:3) is given given to us. Sure! But it is still something we have to defend and fight for, to “lay hold of eternal life” 1 Timothy 6:12.
    As Colossians 1:22,23, say’s; “he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him, provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heard,…”
    Again, It say’s, ‘let not’ man do this! Not that man ‘will not’ do this!

  6. Thank you here for this Paul, got me to secure deeper this love, mercy and truth of father through Son. knowing this is done and confirmed by God in spirit of to me as you pointed out Rom 8:16. This is not to be taken for granted and to think me as someone special, rather keep me in humiliation
    Romans 2:1-4 came to mind in me as reading this

  7. Amen! Pastor Paul, thank you for these awesome words! God richly bless you & your family.

  8. ronald alvero // March 12, 2015 at 2:38 pm // Reply

    What about the Bible says in Hebrews 6:4-6; Hebrews 10:14-16; Ephesians 5:25-27; 1Peter 1:14-16 (Peter’s warning to the believers to be Holy); Matt.5:8 (Jesus said-Pure in heart to see GOD); Yes we receive our salvation by grace through faith..but that does not stop there. There are lots of passages in the Bible that requires us to live a Holy life here on earth to get rid & put to death our earthly nature and set an example to the world “Holy living” that we are really a Child of Paul & Peter & other apostles. Pls. preach the full gospel not only the grace gospel.

    • You will find articles on many of those scriptures (and hundreds more) in the Archives > Scripture index. Yes, there are many scriptures that exhort us to be holy, since that is what we are in Christ, but there is no such thing as a graceless gospel.

      • Truth! Preach it! You are dead on. People today don’t understand the true nature of God. Jesus changed things for us when He gave the ultimate sacrifice. When we truly seek Him, we don’t have to worry about being perfect. We just want to try harder to be more like Jesus because we love and have a relationship with Him. The closer I get to Him/the more I learn about Him, the less I want to be like the world. Great teachings, as always! I can tell you have listened to our favorite…Andrew Womnack…who knows The Word very well.

  9. Wow; that’s GOOD.
    Thanks Paul. 🙂

  10. Thanks for the great message. It’s hard in this day of us being told we’re “Masters of our own Destiny” to admit Gods irresistable grace is free and is unmeritted and cannot in any way be earned.
    Amazing Grace how sweet the sound.

  11. I recently learned a new insight about Adam and Eve eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil instead of the tree of life. Partaking of The first tree has caused being us to try to do good and run from evil in our own strength. Since then, humanity has been born fiercly independent from God, seeking to be like God in our own strength, yet we are helpless to overcome evil on our own. Adam and Eve being cast out of the garden no longer had access to the tree of life. But that tree of life is really Christ. So we got a second chance to partake of that increated divine life which is Christ. I believe that our brothers and sisters in Christ who are stuck in the performance mode, who critisize the grace teaching are really ignorant of the fact that they are still eating from the wrong tree! I was. Then Jesus mercifully set me free! But not until I came to an end of myself. Burnt and exhausted and ready to give up! Christ revealed grace to me and that I was seeking to please Him in my own strength! It was religeous pride in me that sought to remain in religion and also bad teaching (beware of the leaven of the Pharasees) Since then, I’ve learning to live by Grace which is really Christ and being aware of His indwelling Spirit and resting in Him!

  12. A couple points on what you have written, Paul…

    “Your eternal security rests on God’s promises, not your behavior. ”

    So why should anyone turn from their sinful behaviour? If behaviour doesn”t count we can go on being sinful.

    “This is about belief not behavior, faith not works. “They were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith.” Continuing in God’s goodness is less about working and more about trusting.’ ”

    Is faith not seen in, and manifested by, works, as James says (James 2:14-26)?

    • (1) Why would anyone turn from sin? Because sin is stupid, it’s destructive, it’ll destroy your marriage, your health, your family. “All things are allowed, you say. But not all things are good” (1 Cor 10:23). Sinning is inconsistent with who you are in Christ.

      (2) Yes. But living faith is not seen in dead works.

      • 1) As fallen, carnal creatures, people love to sin. Sin is enticing, exciting, exhilarating, and enjoyable. If it were not all these things why would people love to do it? Do you think people really care how destructive it is? They just want the pleasure. The majority of the world are sinners. Why haven’t they turned from it, if it’s so stupid and destructive? Why haven’t even so-called Christians turned from it, if it’s so stupid and destructive? But what I’d really like to ask you this: Do you sin, Paul Ellis? If so, you are, as you say, being ‘inconsistent with who you are in Christ.’

        2) How is the cessation of sinful behaviour a ‘dead work’ if done by faith?

      • Sinning comes naturally to a sinner but a saint has the mind of Christ. I am a new creation with a new heart and desires. If you find sinning exciting and enjoyable it is because you have not met Jesus. When you encounter the love of Christ, you no longer want to sin. I don’t want to sin. You don’t want to commit adultery or get drunk or do the things the world falsely advertises as pleasurable or risk-free. The fruit reveal the tree and those with Christ living in them don’t want to have anything to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness.

        Why don’t sinners turn from sin? Because they can’t – sin is a slaver, says Paul again and again, especially in Romans. Try and turn from sin in your own strength and resolve and you set yourself up for defeat (Romans 7). Only the supernatural grace of God revealed in Jesus can empower us to say no to ungodliness. Only those who have died with Christ can reckon themselves dead to sin. I encourage you to turn to the Lord and experience his grace for yourself.

      • ‘I don’t want to sin.’

        But you still sin, don’t you? Or are you telling me that you’re sin-free? The one who sins is a sinner, not a sanctified saint.

        In one of your writings, you say: ‘If you’re a butterfly, don’t act like a caterpillar. If you have been given a new nature, don’t act in accordance with your old one’.

        There are so-called Christians who sin. But how can one be a Christian, and still find it possible to sin? When have you ever seen a butterfly behave like a caterpillar, even just once? Have you ever seen a butterfly crawl? And have you ever seen a caterpillar fly? They’re natures are different, so they do not behave like each other. Likewise a saint does not – not even once – behave like a sinner. Saints cannot sin, just as butterflies cannot crawl. But you seem to be saying that a saint can sin, and still be a saint.

        By the way you didn’t answer the second question I put forth (not that you’re obligated to): ‘How is the cessation of sinful behaviour a ‘dead work’ if done by faith?’

      • To define someone by their behavior is old covenant; I am not a sinner who sins, I am a saint still learning to renew his mind and live out his Christ-born identity. I am not a saint because I am righteous but because Jesus is righteous and he has exchanged my sin for his righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). Saints do indeed miss the mark from time to time, as Peter did when he withdrew from the Gentile believers and had to be confronted by Paul. If Christians never sinned we would not need the frequent exhortations to be holy, to put off and put on, or to reckon ourselves dead to sin. We wouldn’t have First Corinthians.

    • You have a sin focused mind-set instead of a Christ focused mindset. Sin focus makes everything about sin. We are not the children of God based upon our level of sin behavior. We are the children of God based upon the behavior of Jesus if we accept God’s gift by faith. The wages of sin is death but the gift(not wages of sin-free, holy living) of God is eternal life. And it’s eternal, everlasting life not if-you-can-keep-it life that you rent from God via your good behavior with risks of losing if you miss your behavior payments.

  13. You’re all right, but religion had a way of frightening me. How do we avoid this without the other team losing their heads?

  14. Or a better question is: where do I turn now?

  15. Robert Slominski // December 22, 2016 at 4:06 am // Reply

    Mr. Ellis, I’m no writer but I had to write something . I can’t ask the Lord enuff to keep blessing you and what you write. My wife and I have bounced from church to church because something was missing. We would get a half gospel. “Come hear the gospel (good news)and then do this or that” 2 weeks ago I had a motorcycle crash I broke 3 ribs punctured lung. Please pray for us and my job. Thank you

  16. This quote is great: “Remember, Paul is addressing groups – Jews and Gentiles – not individuals.” SO many people don’t get that, and the book of Romans gets twisted and misquoted because they don’t understand that very basic truth. Without that truth, people also twist God’s nature. He becomes a slave driver instead of a loving Father.

  17. I believe in the eternal security of the believer… as long he’s obedient to God! No, it’s not about being good enough, it’s about the heart, so that one doesn’t have to keep wondering if he’s saved or not. I’m somewhere in the middle between those that believe in eternal security as is usually preached, and those that believe that once you sin that’s it! According to James, that sin has to be fully grown to produce death, but make no mistakes about it, it WILL produce spiritual death if allowed to! That’s what James says!

    • so we can re-Adam what Jesus the second Adam repaired?

      • In a nutshell….yes we can!

      • Scriptural reference: In 2 Pet false teachers were spoken of. Characteristics of them was that

        1) They knew the way of righteousness (verse 21). What is the way of righteousness? The law? Moral conduct? No! All have sinned, none is righteous except by Christ! Jesus makes a person righteous, and these folks had that knowledge!

        2) WITH THAT KNOWLEDGE of Jesus as righteousness, they escaped the pollutions of the world (verse 20)! I.e., whilst there was pollution in the world, it was not on them, BECAUSE OF THE KNOWLEDGE THEY HAD ABOUT JESUS AS RIGHTEOUSNESS which removed it, nevermind the PROVERB speaking of dogs and sows…they were just that- proverbs! (figure of speech)

        3) they were entangled again in the pollution of sin!

        Question for you… can someone have the knowledge of Jesus as they way of righteousness, with that knowledge actually escape the pollutions of sin present on the rest of the world and not be saved?

      • The false teachers of 2 Peter 2 are sometimes identified as Christians who had lost their salvation. For reasons I explain in this article, they were not.

      • I’m really sorry to reask this question, but it’s because I didn’t receive a direct reply to it… I really want to know this… Can someone have the knowledge of Jesus as they way of righteousness, with that knowledge actually escape the pollutions of sin present on the rest of the world and not be saved? I’d also love to point out that all the references about them being unrighteous come from AFTER they were again trapped back with the pollutions of they world they were initially cleaned from, so those references are understandable.

  18. Paul speaking of groups in no way changes that the believer can’t be cut off. In Rom 11:17 Paul says the Gentiles were “grafted in among them” – here referring to the remnant of the Jews who believed the gospel (see Rom 11:1-5), and “with them became partakers”! So while he was speaking of groups, he meant that A SUBSET OF EACH GROUP would either be planted in or cut off, depending on how they believed! So it changes nothing…. the subset of the Gentile group either stand in their faith or get cut off, just as it happened to the subset of the Jews that didn’t believe!

    • If Paul were saying believers can be cut off from the Vine that sustains them, he would be contradicting what he says many places in Romans about our eternal security, eg: Rom 8:1, 31, 33-39. 9:16, 11:6, and so forth. In Romans 11 Paul gives some profound assurances: “Consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you… for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable” (Rom 11:18, 29).

  19. Then there’s James 1:12-16 that begins speaking of Christians who get tempted; we can identify his universal set here as speaking of Christians because they alone receive the crown of life after enduring it: this obviously rules of the unbeliever since he cannot have life no matter how much he endures!

    Then James further says that when the person gets tempted and yields to it it gives birth to sin as a child which grows up to produce death, and all this while speaking of Christians!

    Verse 16 confirms he was speaking of Christians alone- yes, a Christian can die spiritually!!!

    • That’s a stretch. James is saying the same thing Paul says in Romans 6:23 – the fruit of sin is death. Beware sin as it has destructive consequences. Nowhere does James say, “Sin and God will unchild you.” Nowhere does he contradict the many promises of the Lord regarding our security.

      James 1:16 says “Be not led astray, my brethren beloved” when read in a literal translation. The danger is not that Christians can cause God to break his promise, but that we can go astray.

      • Ok pls help me…

        (James 1:12 says) “blessed is the man who is tempted” since he “inherits the crown of life” (THE MAN, not THE CHRISTIAN! Yet he had only Christians in mind since “life” CANNOT apply to the unbeliever!)

        (verse 13 says) “WHEN this man is tempted” meaning “WHEN the Christian is tempted”, (verse 14 says) he is drawn by HIS (that Christian’s) desires. (verse 15 says) When those (Christian’s) desires bring forth child, it becomes sin. I’m sure you agree thus far. If this is so, then the death also has to be of that Christian! BECAUSE (verse 15 says) the death that is produced is THE ADULT FORM OF THE SIN CHILD (read: “when the sin is FULLGROWN”!) BORN BY THE DESIRES THE CHRISTIAN HAD when he sinned.

        What did I miss?

      • You missed the bit about your sin being greater than God’s grace, because it’s not there. Nowhere does James, or any NT writer, remotely hint that you can undo what God has wrought. Many read such an interpretation into these words, but that’s putting their own carnal spin on it and reversing what the Bible plainly says on the subject. Can a Christian sin? Sure. Can a Christian go astray. Definitely. Can a Christian cause God to break his word? Cannot happen.

      • Alright I guess I just have to leave this scripture alone then… thanks Paul!

      • Colleen G // April 29, 2017 at 12:18 am //

        Don’t leave it alone. Filter it through the solid promises where our eternal-everlasting life is connected to what Jesus did and God’s mercy-grace. Put on Jesus glasses. Our good deeds could not earn us a crown of life before we came to Jesus. Neither could our enduring trials, temptations and afflictions earn us life out of death. 1 Cor 3:11-15 says that even if we build our lives lousy after coming to Jesus we will still be saved because our foundation is Jesus.

      • Yes, Colleen in the belief we are saved by God Father in risen Son not a man at all, thank you.
        Eph 1:13, 6-7 tells me this

      • @Colleen, you know why I love Christianity? We’re brothers, we can love each other and disagree and still love each other! Haven’t met you or Paul, but I love you guys! Unfortunately this is that place where we disagree!

        This is because I really don’t see which other way to look at this scripture… It says in no unclear terms that there can be death for the Christian who lets his sin born of sinful desires he had to reach adulthood!

        Can you help me out and show me that, according to this passage alone, nevermind others, that that isn’t true? If you could, then I’d have another way to look at it… until then all I see is that it speaks of death in the context of the believer! Rom 6:23 was also about death but not like this, not in this context! The only alternative for me is to let this scripture go!

  20. I cannot use just this scripture and deal with it alone. It does not exist alone. Other information in scripture must be take into account. Forgive the briefness as I try to stay within the comment word limit. Romans 6 says that we died to sin with Christ and he that is dead to sin is freed from sin slavery. This dying with Christ and raising up grants us holiness and eternal life. No other way to read Romans 6.
    James says we are blessed when we resist temptation and get a crown for it. God does not tempt us but our own lusts pull us. But then he says that this lust brings death. Yet Romans 6(as well as other passages) tell us we already died to sin and have eternal life. So are we to throw out everything else over one verse that says sinning kills us spiritually? When I find one verse that appears to contradict the multitude and I cannot figure it out I stick to the truth of the many verses. Then I do let it go until God sees fit to connect the dots for me. Do not let the doubts of one verse lead to err. James cautions about erring.

  21. The issue Colleen is that a lot of times people of an opposing view can interpret away many scriptures presented to oppose them…for the most part we can “make” the scriptures say what we want and think we’re right, until we get to that one scripture that we just cannot do anything whatever with no matter what we try! The existence of such scriptures can point us to our error, and I believe this is that scripture in that case.

    Another that could be interpreted away, until you get a Greek interlinear (there are good ones online so verify what I say) is Romans 8:12-13. Paul was obviously speaking to believers, telling them they would die if they kept sinning. Here’s how the original Greek renders it (do pls confirm): “…if you live according to the flesh YOU ARE ABOUT TO DIE”! (The Greek of “will” has morphological parsing “V-PIA-2P” hence translated as something about to happen right now, “about to die”!) Now are unbelievers about to die? No! they’re dead already! Death reigns over them all! Which people currently have the life that can lose it in the present? BELIEVERS!

    There’s many scriptures, but they keep getting interpreted away! Then there’s the unanswered question I asked about 2 Peter…. There you go!

    • Your referencing Romans 8:12-13 shines a light on an equally valid problem with Christians and scripture interpretation. Singling out a verse(s) without the full context. Romans 8 if read in a chopped up format does appear to say live like a Christian and live, live like a sinner and die. But verses 9-11 show that it is not lifestyle that determines our life/death but who we belong to.
      The life and death there is allegiance not our personal holiness or lack of sin. Context is everything without the fullness of the text all you have left is potential for a con.
      What does the entirety of 2 Peter 2 says who it is speaking of? Knowledge is not saving faith. One can know about Jesus and try to live the lifestyle but not be saved.

  22. Thinking again &feeling communication problem between us, let’s say I preach to Jack, a sinner saying “Listen Jack, Jesus is the way of righteousness!” When does he lose all of the pollution caused by sin which is present on all the people of the world upon him? Is it

    A) Immediately I tell him this (does this automatically remove the pollutions of sin?)

    B) Immediately he understands this truth (does this either?)

    C) After a while of knowing this truth (would simply knowing this remove the pollutions?)

    D) When he changes his lifestyle after hearing this (does a lifestyle change remove the pollutions of sin?)

    E) when he realizes he cannot be righteous on his own and ,USING THAT KNOWLEDGE HE RECEIVED ABOUT JESUS BEING THE WAY A PERSON GETS RIGHTEOUS, calls on God to receive that righteousness only available in Christ? (Isn’t this the ONLY WAY a person can remove the pollutions caused by sin from himself?)

    I’d pick the last option, and as this the precise picture of 2Peter, I’d like you to tell me why this isn’t so in their case!

    Since you speak of context, James began his letter telling them to endure temptation and get the crown or else experience death, then goes on to emphasize that faith without works CANNOT save ( 2:14), and ends saying that anyone who brings his brother back from error saves him from death(5:19)!  How’s that for context! ☺

    • Colleen G // May 4, 2017 at 8:13 am // Reply

      Until you learn to see through the traditions of man has placed upon your eyes and see through Jesus glasses no amount of explaining or arguing will change your mind. You will keep gnawing at the bone of “sin is stronger than Jesus blood”.
      The answer to one simple question easily exposes which glasses you are reading scripture through- Who holds the keys to your eternal life? You(or more precisely your behavior) or Jesus? Until you know that Jesus alone holds your key nothing I say will change your mind.

  23. Fulton Reed // June 15, 2017 at 2:13 pm // Reply

    Hi Paul, I really enjoy your posts and I visit regularly for guidance with Bible questions. I am writing not to start conflict but just looking for clarification. Correct me if I am wrong but from what I read in your post, those who are cut off are those Gentiles who are grafted in but cut off due to unbelief in Christ. My question comes from Romans 19 and 20 which says, “19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear.” My confusion is in the part where Paul says the Gentiles already “stand by faith” and later they can be cut off. Are these Gentiles who “stand by faith” part of the Church, or am I missing basic understanding? Thanks in advance.

    • Hi fulton. I’m not sure how to explain this better than I’ve done in the article above. Yes, we who stand by faith are part of the church. No, Christians cannot be cut off. Paul is not saying that at all. He’s talking about groups – the Jews had a shot and missed out, now the Gentiles have an opportunity. Take care that you don’t miss out. Is Paul saying that no Jew ever got saved? No – he is a Jew. Is he saying that saved Gentiles can get unsaved? Not at all. If this doesn’t help, perhaps you could rephrase your question.

      • Fulton Reed // June 16, 2017 at 2:52 pm //

        Thank you Paul for replying so quickly, I apologize that my question may be difficult to follow and I am going to try and rephrase it. I fully understand (again please correct if I am wrong) and accept that the Gentiles were grafted in and if some follow after the same example of unbelief as the Israelites then they will be cut out. But what confuses me is that before all the talk about ‘not sparing’ in Romans 11:21 and ‘cutting off’ in Romans 11:22, there is talk of the Gentiles all ready ‘standing by faith’ in Romans 11:20. So in short I am just wondering why is there warning of being ‘not spared’ or ‘cut off’ if Paul says in Romans 11:20 that they are all ready ‘standing by faith’? I hope this makes a little more sense and again thank you for taking the time to look at my question.

      • Re: “not sparing:” Paul is not saying God kicks people out of the kingdom, for that would contradict the many, many things he says elsewhere about the eternal security of the believer. He’s referring to the special privilege the Jewish people once enjoyed as God’s chosen people. They had the inside track. They had the law and the prophets, yet refused to come to Jesus. They – the Jews as a whole – missed the timing of God’s coming to them and now it is the time of the Gentiles. Speaking to the Gentiles, Paul is saying this: “Learn from their mistakes. Don’t do what they did and waste the opportunity (to come to Jesus). Repent and believe the gospel.”

      • You never actually adressed his main question. He’s asking, how are the one who are standing in faith able to be cut off? It appears Paul is talking about the same people here. They have faith=salvation, but they are in danger of being cut off.

      • Paul never says God will cut off those who stand by faith (ie: believers). He says we who stand by faith should not be conceited or arrogant over what happened to the Jews who were cut off. Understand that Paul is speaking generally. Was every Jew cut off? No, many were not (eg: the disciples, the 3000 saved on the Day of Pentecost). Paul is saying, “What happened to the Jewish nation could happen to the Gentiles,” hence the need to turn to Christ.

    • Hey Paul. I’m replying to your comments bellow 🙂

      What does it mean that this is now the time of the Gentiles? From what I understand, every nation is seen inpartially as equal before God now that Jesus came which was what God always intended. Or does the Gentile branch being grafted in imply that all f mankind besides the Jews now has a favored position before God even if tey don’t have faith?

  24. If you reject the light, you live in the darkness of your own making. God offers you eternal life through His Son Jesus. Free of charge. All you have to do is take it. The severity of God is that He will honor your choice. It is a limited time offer. There is a cutoff date. You can be cut off by your own unbelief. Your choice. God wants you to live but if you reject Him, you reject life. He has done all He can. Now it’s up to you. What’s it going to be?

  25. Hi. When you speak of the Gentiles being grafted into the tree as a whole group, what do you mean by that? Because it seems to be that one can only be grafted in by faith (v.20, 23). If Gentiles as a whole are currently in the tree (as you said), does this not mean that there are unbelieving people who are at this point in time “grafted” into the tree? Also does not verses 17 to 21 speak of individual salvation? (Being grafted in, sharing in the promises)

    • As I say in the article, it means God’s favor is extended to the Gentiles. No one is excluded from his gracious invitation. All may come to his table.

      • Hi Paul, thank you for your reply. I agree with that, absolutely. However, wouldn’t this contradict the idea that Israel (as a group) was cut off? Surely, God also extends this gracious invitation to the Jews as well. However, Romans 11 seems to speak of the Israelites being “out” and the Gentiles being “in” in some sense. Or am I misunderstanding this passage?

      • From God’s side, favor is always on the table, but you have to receive it. This is why Paul said the Jews cut themselves off through unbelief.

      • From God’s side, favor is always on the table, but you have to receive it. This is why Paul said the Jews cut themselves off through unbelief.

      • Amen to that. Yes all will or not, free chocie to choose to beleive God or not. Amen!

    • Amen to that answer, Paul. For it be God that does the grafting in and the work as done first to be able to be grafted in by belief to his done work as done for new life to be given us from Father. all that is left is to believe or not believe, having no ulterior motive as told to us by James
      In you ask you do not get, WHY? Having the wrong motive(s)

  26. A reader asked about Romans 11:32: “For God has shut up all in disobedience so that he may show mercy to all.” Who are the “all”? The answer is found in the preceding two verses:

    For just as you (Gentiles) once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their (Jews) disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient (Jews), that because of the mercy shown to you (Gentiles) they (Jews) also may now be shown mercy. (Romans 11:30-31)

    “All” means both Gentiles and Jews. Under the old covenant, the Jews were given special treatment, but under the new covenant, God’s grace has been revealed to all. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to ALL men” (Titus 2:11).

  27. Thank GOD for HIS grace. Yet our behavior has consequences upon this earth. Saved or not the principle effects of our actions has results. Galatians 6:7 Whatever a person sows ,they will reap. Good or not it has an impact on our lives upon the earth.

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