Vol. 3, No. 40
You, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. –Romans 11:17
It will be a bad day when the Christian church forgets its debt to the root from which it sprang. He is a foolish man [or woman] who kicks away the ladder which raised [them] to the height which he has reached. –Barclay
Grafting; the act of placing a portion of one plant into or on the stem, root, or branch of another stock. Hence, a union forms and the root expects the partners continue to grow.
We have heard the messages about being grafted; yet, there is some impossible thinking about horticulture. An apple grafted on a cashew nut tree will certainly fail; probably immediately. Here in Romans is a description of a wild olive tree (an oleaster) grafted into a properly cultivated root. Wild by nature, it seems impossible that the graft will grow . . . by God’s choice, decree, it does not fail. It is us! We are the wild at heart.
Critics say that Paul uses an improper illustration here; for he did not know anything of the olive orchard activity of Palestine. He was just a city slicker. However, the critic is wrong. Paul knows full-well that God is able to reverse any order of the “orchardist,” any order of man. Man grafts the superior into the inferior to insure “better quality.” God, however, takes the inferior and grafts them into the superior root (the superior trunk), to produce that which will never be less than what God has planned. Branches made perfect because of the superior root, Jesus Christ.
The branch has every opportunity to grow and perform as expected. The branch is fertilized with the true and dependable nutrients available through the power of the Holy Spirit. You cannot get that from attempting to determine what you will bring to the root; thinking whatever you bring is quite sufficient. Then forget the debt you have to the root. We should never forget the source and channel of our blessing!
We need to move forward, advance, with our superior root with us, in order to possess a life that continuously blesses us.
God has not turned the olive tree upside down, as though we the church were the main support and starting point for His purposes of salvation. –James Dunn
Paul wrote to the Jews, reminding them of their father, Abraham, referring to their roots. Israel was expected to draw the nations to worship Almighty God, the One True God. Unfortunately, they rejected the Savior, the promises, and indeed the Holy Scriptures. So, Paul writes to them that the “wild” Gentiles, are engrafted into the richness and fertility of the garden olive tree (which was Israel).
Engrafted, not because of superior merit, but as a free-gift of God’s boundless grace and mercy.
Horrifically, many in the church have become boastful, proud, and arrogant of who they are; forgetting their superior and perfect root. In addition, forgetting or denying Christ’s expectation of ministry to others in serving in the church, community, and world.
Because of His grace and mercy, He has engrafted us into a union of grace, promise, and faith. Give thought to what manner of faith you practice.
My mind is a puzzle, each piece placed by a pastor, professor, or mentor greater than I, all working under the gracious guiding hand of God. Through them, I have come to know the Word, learned to interpret life, been humbled by a sense of my own need, and grown to love my rescuing Savior. To all those willing instruments in my past and present, and by God’s grace in my future, I say, “Thank you.” –Paul Tripp
[The snippet above is from Paul Tripp’s Introduction in Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional. Now, through the days we celebrate Christmas 2018 and the days following, I will include some golden words from this fine Christian author. I would highly recommend his book; it would be a great addition to your reading personally or for your family.]