Scripture Reading: Romans 11:22-24 (Philips New Testament)
22 You must try to appreciate both the kindness and the strict justice of God. Those who fell experienced his justice, while you are experiencing his kindness, and will continue to do so as long as you do not abuse that kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off from the tree. 23 And as for the fallen branches, unless they are obstinate in their unbelief, they will be grafted in again. Such a restoration is by no means beyond the power of God. 24 And, in any case, if you who were, so to speak, a cutting from a wild-olive, were grafted in against the natural order, is it not a far simpler matter for the natural branches to be grafted back into the parent stem?
Thought for the day:
Quite recently, there are have been a number of high profile Christians who have decided to publicly renounce their faith in Christ. One of these men is a song-writer and has published many songs that are sung all over the world including here at Oasis Community Church. It is incredibly sad to read to his comments about how he is questioning even the most fundamental of doctrines and teaching. As a reflection of society as a whole, his feelings have become the rudder from which he steers his life instead of allowing Christ to be his anchor in the fiercest of storms. He questioned whether miracles were real and then expressed his difficulty in understanding how a God of love could allow people to go to hell. Verse 22 from our verses today hits this particular topic head on. For many years when I was growing up within church circles, I heard countless messages about God’s love but I also heard many other preachers try to frighten me into a relationship with a God who was seemingly desperate to send me to hell if I didn’t confess my sin. These days, hell isn’t a word that can be uttered publicly, we cannot even suggest that anyone could be sinful and we must, at every opportunity, preach nothing else other than God’s love is amazing and that He loves you, oh He loves you. Of course, I not only accept that God is love, but I have, and continue to revel in that love. 1 Corinthians 13 becomes more important to me with every passing day. However, there is one part of that chapter that most people miss or choose to ignore. I have heard so many gay activists shout out that ‘Love is kind’, yes, but verse 6 clearly states that ‘Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth’. If we abandon the truth of God’s Word then we have nothing but a self-centred morality that will destroy society as we know it. The apostle Paul could have written page after page about the goodness of God. He could have only mentioned that we are blessed beyond measure as we consider God’s loving kindness. However, he is actually asking us to appreciate not only the kindness but the ‘strict justice’ of God.
Prayer and Application:
I pray that we hold in balance the privilege of knowing God’s love but also live in a healthy fear of a God who is the perfect Judge.