October 19, 2018
Romans 11:19-22… 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.
Paul is writing here to Gentile Christians. Gentiles, of whom I am one, were not born as the children of God, but He lovingly adopted us when we believed Him, by faith. In the metaphor of the olive tree, he explains that the same root that provides for the natural branches, also provides for the grafted-in branches. You and I, non-Jews by birth, are grafted into the same tree as the Jews and are sustained by the same root, Jesus. Jews must believe also that Jesus provides their substance. If they fail to do that, they will be broken off and cast away. Paul reminds us that we, too, will be cast away if we attempt to live in the olive tree without believing in Jesus.
For me, this answers the age old question, “How can a loving God allow calamity and even establish hell for rebellious people?” He has given the same opportunity for all people; it is in our court to respond. Hell is ‘life without the presence of God’… life without love. Hell came into being when love came to us.
So, if life without love is hell, life with love must be heaven. Is love, perhaps, the light of the world? Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus is God and God is love.
In the beginning, God said, “Let there be light.” He was not talking about the light of the sun which was not established until the 4th day, so, maybe what He said was, “Let there be love.”
This is almost too radical for me; I have never heard it. But it adds clarity to some verses.
1 Corinthians 13:13… Now, faith, hope, and love abide, but the greatest of these is love.
Without faith, it is impossible to please God. How can love be greater than that? Right here I find it necessary to point out that God is not defined by our explanation of love. Love is defined by God… who He is. Love is the oil that makes the mechanisms of life run smoothly. “Let there be love.”