Rom 11:22-25 “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”
It is often true that in the same event we witness both the goodness (excellency) of God and the severity (decisiveness) of God. God is always very straightforward with His children. Our lives were (and are) always in His hands. He demonstrated this in Deuteronomy 30:19 when He told Israel “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live…”
This was not about whether they would continue to be His people, but whether they would enjoy the blessing of living and walking with Him in the kingdom here. It is obvious by Paul’s language that once again, they had chosen death in that they were, as God had promised, broken out. In the same stroke, the kingdom was opened unto the Gentiles as manifested by the events surrounding Peter’s preaching to the house of Cornelius (read Acts, chapters 10 and 11). Israel (as a whole) rejected the Root and the Gentiles rejoiced in Him.
The severity of God toward the Jews and the goodness of God toward the Gentiles is seen clearly. So, also, is God’s warning to us to abide in the Root where we have been grafted. If the natural branches could be cut off, so then can we be if do not abide in His goodness. By the same token, when the natural branches no longer abide in unbelief (denying that Jesus is the Christ) God is able to graft them back in.
Another lesson clearly seen here is that it is not in our nature to choose the good olive tree (abiding in the kingdom of heaven here). A force greater than ourselves has to act upon us and graft us (who are contrary) into the good tree. We should never be highminded toward the branches that are broken out. If we were grafted in contrary to our nature, it would certainly be a small thing for God to graft back in the natural branches that had been removed.
There are many mysteries in the Bible that we may never understand while we live in a body of flesh. There are other mysteries that we should not be ignorant of. To hold to our ignorance in these things is to become wise in our own conceits. This is not true wisdom, but more akin to the phrase that we become legends in our own mind.
A partial blindness (hard-heartedness) happened to Israel because they trusted more in their own strength than in the power of God. To begin with, even the brethren at Jerusalem contended with Peter because he had gone to Cornelius’ house. Then Peter testified that the Holy Ghost had fallen upon Cornelius and his house (representative of the Gentiles) the same as He had the Jews on the day of Pentecost. The brethren there then saw and rejoiced that “…God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life (Acts 11:18).”
May we always rejoice when the Lord opens our understanding that He is able to reveal His truth, even today, to those of the wild olive tree!