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A Call to Remain

A Call to Remain

In my last post we looked at Paul’s illustration of the root and branches. We’re told that as Gentiles, we’ve been grafted into the holy root.

You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.

Romans 11:19-20

Sometimes we get the wrong perspective, as believers. We concentrate on the fact that they were broken off so that we would have a place in God’s kingdom.

The problem is that when I take that view, it makes me the center. In actuality, they were broken off because of their unbelief. It had nothing to do with whether or not I would be grafted in.

On the other hand, we as Gentile believers, remain by faith. So Paul tells us not to have a lofty mind. We’re no better, just because we trusted God. Instead, there should be some holy fear mixed in.

This is how Jesus put it.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

John 15:1-4

The simple fact is that we remain in Christ – the holy Root – by faith. Otherwise we wither and die, spiritually. That’s where this fear comes in. We need to understand that fear is not always a bad thing. The right kind of fear is essential to our Christian walk.

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

Hebrews 11:7

Scripture is clear that by faith, Noah…feared. This fear came when he was warned about unseen things. Yet by his faith – fearing to miss out on God’s best for him and his family – he obtained righteousness.

In Romans we see the kingdom of God as a living olive tree. That testimony brings condemnation on the withering branches lying on the ground. It’s a sobering call to remain in Him. Please understand, we don’t fear Him, but we fear the possibility of losing out on this life-giving Root.

For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

Romans 11:21

The question is whether I trust Him or not. It’s not about doing or saying the right things. It’s understanding the character of the God we serve.

Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.

Romans 11:22

Throughout the pages of Scripture we see the twofold character of God. One part is His kindness. If you remember, this is one of the fruit of the Spirit. It speaks of the fact that God is good to the undeserving.

The other side of the coin is God’s sternness, or literally, sharp decisiveness. God has the ability to make the hard choices immediately.

Those without faith fell immediately. But, those who trusted in Christ were immediately shown kindness. That’s why there’s a warning for us to continue to remain in Him. This is especially true in these last days.

Question: What does it take to remain in Christ?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2021 in Faith, Israel, Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

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Listen to God’s Warning

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI’m posting a series about Noah’s faith as recorded in Hebrews 11. In my last post I talked about how faith causes you to build upon the foundation of Christ.

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
Hebrews 11:7

The verse says that Noah was warned. But here’s the challenge. The things that God warned him about had not yet been seen.

It’s easy to prepare for the things that we see coming. A snow storm, a tax bill, or a new car purchase. The problem is that there are things we have yet to experience that the Lord warns us about.

In those times we build simply because of God’s warning. God’s Word warns us of many things. Some of them are good, and some are bad. Many of them are things we have not seen yet.

We don’t know God’s whole plan for us. On the other side, the effects of sin, living for self or chasing after the world aren’t always seen immediately. The problems start only after we’ve been off track for a while.

There are also other issues. Many times we start building on God’s Word, and then we go back to our old ways. We get impatient looking for the return on our spiritual investment.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’”
Luke 14:28-30

Many believers are in this condition – unfinished, yet the project is abandoned. The work has stopped. They seem to be comfortable where they are and don’t want any more growth.

That’s a sad position to be in. I want to see growth in my life. I want to change and become more like Christ. That’s the only way that the world will be drawn to the Spirit of Christ in me.

How do you persevere? How do you keep allowing the Holy Spirit to work in your life even when there’s not a lot of obvious evidence of anything going on?

We need to go back to the example of Noah in the above verse. It says that he moved in holy fear because of the warning he received. Because he believed God’s warning, it instilled a fear of the Lord in him.

It’s this fear of the Lord gives us perseverance. That’s where the ability to keep going in the hard times – or even the daily grind – comes from.

One of the problems is that so many people don’t have a correct understanding of the fear of the Lord. We must have this understanding if we’re going to continue the building process in our lives.

For now, I’ll simply say that fearing God has nothing to do with being afraid of Him. That’s not a holy fear. In my next post I’ll deal with what the fear of the Lord actually means.

Question: In what ways does your life show the fear of the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2014 in Faith, Word of God

 

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