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About-Him.Com Devotional 01-26-2013
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Behold the Goodness and Severity of God
Thoughts on Romans 11:22; 12:1-2

Romans 12:1 ¶  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 

In the book of Romans, Paul uses the word therefore 27 times as he builds an orderly thesis to the church at Rome, outlining all the doctrines of the church. Each subject and thought that he presents  being an expansion of that which preceded it. As it has often been said, “When we come to the word therefore we must back up and see what therefore is therefore. 

In this case Paul is referring backward to his discourse in chapters 9-11 concerning the present blindness of Israel caused by their unbelief and the promise of God for their ultimate restoration. 

Romans 11:22 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. 

The gentile nations had once known God, but refused to retain Him in their knowledge. As a result God gave them up to work all manner of evil among themselves (Ro. 1-21-32). Just as God rejected the ancient gentile nations who did want to retain Him in their knowledge, I believe that the so-called Christian nations of the world stand in jeopardy of the same judgment.  The United States of America has copied the ways of the ancient gentile nations in trying to not retain the knowledge of God. His name and His word no longer have any place in our government. We have magnified the works of darkness and cannot comprehend that it is the Prince of Darkness himself who is besieging us with an evil epidemic of murder to the point that our children are being gunned down in their schoolrooms. 

The Jewish nation was called of God and designated as His chosen people. They were to be the ones who would bring the message of the kingdom of God to a sinful world.  However, they failed miserably. They rejected God’s righteousness and went about establishing a righteousness of their own. Ultimately they rejected God Himself when He appeared among them as a servant rather than a conquering king (Jn. 1:10). 

God then turned to the gentiles and made them the bearers of the gospel message to the whole world.  Here Paul is warning the  gentile believers against spiritual pride.  God is good but He is also severe.  Just as He had cut off the Jewish nation, He could cut off the gentiles also.  The condition is set forth that we must continue in the goodness of the Lord or we will be cut off also. While this warning is given to the gentile church as a whole, I believe it applies to individuals (Mt. 8:28, Re 3:5) to countries (Ps. 33:12) and even church denominations (Re. 2:5). 

Paul is warning the gentile believers against spiritual pride and any feelings of superiority against the fallen Jewish nation. I believe this applies to our Christian denominations today. In the early 1900s many groups were seeking an outpouring of God’s Spirit. When it came, the mainline churches rejected it because it came with tongues  and other manifestations of the Spirit that they did not understand. Generally, it was the poor uneducated masses who received it. The Pentecostal message was unwelcome in the mainline churches so these believers met in storefronts and brush arbors. In the 1960s the charismatic revival turned things around a great bit. Factions of most  mainline denominations began to receive the baptism of the Spirit. By this time the early Pentecostal groups now had nice churches and colleges. By and large they sat on their hands and in effect said, “If it isn’t raining here, it’s not raining!” 

Many  denominations who once were on fire with the word of God have now lost all semblance to the  church that Jesus founded (Mt. 16:18). As an example, you may have read that the Nation Cathedral of Washington D.C. is now performing marriages between members of the same sex? 

Romans 11:33 ¶  O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
34  For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
35  Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
36  For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. 

Romans 12:1 ¶  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
 

Realizing both the goodness and severity of God, we know that He is not a God to be trifled with. We come to Him believing that He is and always has been (Is. 40:28) and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him (He 11:6). 

Proverbs 11:18 ¶ The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness [shall be] a sure reward. 

Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and [to] the evil. 

2 Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
 

We also know that He takes no pleasure in those who draw back from serving Him (Heb. 10:38). The apostle Peter paints a sad picture  of those who have once tasted the goodness of the Lord and then turned back to the bondage of sin. We would do well to take it to heart. 

2 Peter 2:20  For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
21  For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
22  But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
 

Having been called out of the darkness of sin by the mercies of God, it is our reasonable service to present our total selves  to our Master and to seek His approval for our every word and deed (Co. 3:17). We must live for Him, who died for us. 

Ephesian 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 

Romans 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
 

The word conformed simply means to take the shape of something, just like water being poured into a bottle. Our minds are constantly being bombarded with things of this world that are contrary to God’s word. 1 John 2:16 gives us a good definition of the world as being: The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life which are not of God, but rather of the world. If we are not diligent, we will find ourselves gradually conforming to these things we once rejected.  I doubt that I’m alone but I find that my mind needs a constant renewal. 

2 Timothy 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
  

Somebody Has Said
By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet. - Thomas Merton 

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