2017-01-21 / Religion

Excellent jealousy

So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree. (Romans 11:11-24 ESV)

Is your Christianity beautiful? Is your walk with Jesus winsome? Do you enjoy the Lord?

Sometimes I find myself wanting to tell people if they’re not having a blast with God then they’re just not doing it right. God is powerful and exciting. He is the consuming fire, passion igniting, purpose producing source of hope, love and life.

Do you ever see a choir singing a happily-worded song, yet they don’t seem so happy? You just can’t love Jesus and sing “Amazing Grace” and also look like you have an unripened persimmon in your mouth. The song has exclamation points in it.

To many, I want to say, “Hey, if you are enjoying Jesus, someone ought to tell your face.”

Today’s passage is full of powerful theology, enough, in fact, to fill many pages.

Basically speaking, Paul says these four things: (1) God is not done with the Jews; (2) the Jews’ rejection of Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah became a blessing to the Gentiles; (3) the grace God showed the Gentiles was not to be turned to arrogance toward the Jews; (4) Paul desperately hoped the Jews seeing the Gentiles full of life, hope, joy, peace, and power from God would cause them to trust in Jesus.

It is upon that last point that I make my sole point this week.

Paul said, “I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them.”

Paul wants Gentiles to find salvation through Jesus, yes, but the apostle is hopeful their turning to Jesus will lead Jews to salvation through Jesus too.

Of this very situation, Charles Ellicott said, “[The Jews] privileges had made them negligent and apathetic. The sight of others stepping into those privileges was to rouse them from their apathy.”

In like fashion, dear brothers and sisters, may we live with such joyful abandon to God that we provoke an excellent jealously that rouses others unto the Lord.

Tim Bowes is executive director of My Life Matters. Questions and comments may be sent directly to Bowes at twbowes.lightsteps@gmail.com

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