Romans 11:21
For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
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(21) Take heed lest . . .—The better reading seems to be to omit these words, neither will He spare thee.

11:11-21 The gospel is the greatest riches of every place where it is. As therefore the righteous rejection of the unbelieving Jews, was the occasion of so large a multitude of the Gentiles being reconciled to God, and at peace with him; the future receiving of the Jews into the church would be such a change, as would resemble a general resurrection of the dead in sin to a life of righteousness. Abraham was as the root of the church. The Jews continued branches of this tree till, as a nation, they rejected the Messiah; after that, their relation to Abraham and to God was, as it were, cut off. The Gentiles were grafted into this tree in their room; being admitted into the church of God. Multitudes were made heirs of Abraham's faith, holiness and blessedness. It is the natural state of every one of us, to be wild by nature. Conversion is as the grafting in of wild branches into the good olive. The wild olive was often ingrafted into the fruitful one when it began to decay, and this not only brought forth fruit, but caused the decaying olive to revive and flourish. The Gentiles, of free grace, had been grafted in to share advantages. They ought therefore to beware of self-confidence, and every kind of pride or ambition; lest, having only a dead faith, and an empty profession, they should turn from God, and forfeit their privileges. If we stand at all, it is by faith; we are guilty and helpless in ourselves, and are to be humble, watchful, afraid of self-deception, or of being overcome by temptation. Not only are we at first justified by faith, but kept to the end in that justified state by faith only; yet, by a faith which is not alone, but which worketh by love to God and man.For if God ... - If God did not refrain from rejecting the Jews who became unbelievers, assuredly he will not refrain from rejecting you in the same circumstances. It may be supposed that he will be quite as ready to reject the ingrafted branches, as to cast off those which belonged to the parent stock. The situation of the Gentiles is not such as to give them any security over the condition of the rejected Jew. 21. For if God spared not the natural branches—sprung from the parent stem.

take heed lest he also spare not thee—a mere wild graft. The former might, beforehand, have been thought very improbable; but, after that, no one can wonder at the latter.

This verse is a reason of the forementioned admonition: q.d. If God proceeded with so much severity against his ancient people the Jews, you Gentiles may in reason expect as great severity, if you take not heed to yourselves, and to your standing.

For if God spared not the natural branches,.... That is, executed his righteous judgments, inflicted due punishment upon the Jews, unchurched them, and stripped them of those privileges they enjoyed in a church state; who were the natural descendants of Abraham; were naturally, and as born into the world, in a national church state and in that national covenant God made with that people; to whom belonged a national adoption, in which sense they were the sons of God, his firstborn; they were chosen by him as a special and peculiar people, to very great favours and privileges; they were Christ's own, he came of them according to the flesh, and was particularly sent unto them, and ministered among them; wherefore, if, at last, God did not spare this people, though he had for a long time done it, but stirred up all his wrath against them, they disbelieving his Son, rejecting and despising the Messiah, and salvation by him, this should awaken the fear, care, and caution of the Gentiles in a church state, lest if they behave not well, he should deal in like manner with them:

take heed lest he also spare not thee; for whatever was done to the Jews in former or latter times, are written for the instruction and admonition of Gentiles; and the use they are to make thereof is, to be careful and cautious, lest by imbibing principles derogatory from the grace of God and glory of Christ, or by an unbecoming walk and conversation they provoke the Lord to unchurch them as he has done the Jews before them; and which they may the rather fear, since the Jews were the natural branches, and they formerly strangers and aliens.

For if God spared not the {u} natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

(u) He calls them natural, not because they had any holiness by nature, but because they were born of those whom the Lord set apart for himself from other nations, by his league and covenant which he freely made with them.

Romans 11:21. As far as comparisons can be made at all in such things, the Jews had been more securely invested in the kingdom than the Gentiles. They were, in the language of the figure, not artificially grafted, but native branches, on the tree of God’s people; yet even that did not prevent Him from cutting off those who did not believe. And if He did not spare them, He will not spare Gentiles either, if in pride they fall from faith. On εἰοὐκ ἐφείσατο see Winer, 599 f. The true reading of the last word is φείσεται (not φείσηται), but Weiss would retain μήπως (see crit. note) even with this future, and supply the missing link of thought from φοβοῦ: one may fear that he will not, etc. The ironical reserve of this (though the future makes the thing to be feared as certain as possible) is quite Pauline, and the μήπως ([7] [8] [9] [10]) may be genuine.

[7] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[8] Codex Augiensis (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Trinity College, Cambridge, edited by Scrivener in 1859. Its Greek text is almost identical with that of , and it is therefore not cited save where it differs from that MS. Its Latin version, f, presents the Vulgate text with some modifications.

[9] Codex Boernerianus (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Dresden, edited by Matthæi in 1791. Written by an Irish scribe, it once formed part of the same volume as Codex Sangallensis (δ) of the Gospels. The Latin text, g, is based on the O.L. translation.

[10] Codex Angelicus (sæc. ix.), at Rome, collated by Tischendorf and others.

21. the natural branches] Persons who were, without any new interposition of mercy, born within the scope of the covenant and the light of revelation. Not that the state of human nature was less fallen in Jew than in Gentile, but that the course of nature led the Jew, as such, to light and privilege.

Romans 11:21. Μήπως) Repeat, φοβοῦ.—φείσεται) The Indicative, the particle μήπως being here in a manner disregarded, [by the Indie, instead of the subjunctive, the regular mood after μὴ] has a more categorical [positive, unconditional] force. Baumgarten would rather read φείσηται with μήπως. But Mart. Crusius shows, that ἵνα, ὡς, ὃπως, υὴ, are sometimes joined with the future indicative, Gram. Gr. Part I. page 867, and beside other examples, he specifies that passage of Demosthenes, ὅπως τὰ παρόντα ἐπανορθωθήσεται. Blackwall has collected other examples in the Sacred Classics, p. 432, ed. Woll., where he praises this very passage of Paul on account of its elegance. Certainly language, framed, as this is, rather categorically, tends to excite fear [more than conditional or potential language, as φείσηται would be.]

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