The Parable of the Olive
Romans 11:17-24
And if some of the branches be broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them…

I. WE WERE BEFORE OUR ENGRAFTING WILD OLIVES. Without God, strangers from the commonwealth of Israel. This Paul bids us remember, that we may praise God for His mercy.

II. HAVING RECEIVED GRACE LET US CARRY OURSELVES WITHOUT BOASTING AGAINST THEM THAT WANT GRACE. When thou seest a profane man disdain him not, but pray for him, remembering thy former estate.

III. THOSE WHICH PARTAKE OF THE FATNESS OF THE OLIVE ARE ENGRAFTED. This fatness is the grace given to the root.

1. The grace of justification. Oil is good for medicine-healing wounds and assuaging pain. Also it makes the countenance cheerful; so the grace of Christ, which is called the oil of gladness, maketh the righteous joyful.

2. The grace of sanctification. This may be known by its effects, which are —

(1) In the heart. If thou art engrafted thou hast the heart of Abraham: thou lovest goodness and hatest evil. The wood of the olive will not rot. This denotes soundness. The nature also of the oil is not to be mixed with other things. You may as soon mix light and darkness as grace and sin. The nature of oil, too, is to keep metal from rusting. So the virtue of this grace preserves the soul from sinning, which would eat in and perish the soul.

(2) In the tongue. The blossom of the olive is wonderful sweet; so if thou art of this tree thy speech will be gracious to the hearers. It is a vain thing for a man to seem religious if he refrain not his tongue.

(3) In the life if thou art engrafted thou wilt bring forth much fruit, for the olive is exceeding fruitful.

(a)  For God. Oil was consecrated to the Lord, was used in sacrifice, and for the holy lamps.

(b)  For man. It is both for medicine and meat. Our lives must be fruitful and profitable to the Church.

3. Sanctification may also be known by its properties.

(1) The olive is a quick bearer; so we must bring forth fruit quickly.

(2) An olive branch was a token of peace. If you pour out water it maketh a noise, but oil falls down softly and with great silence. So the servants of God must be peaceable.

(3) The olive is always green, and never casts the leaves, noting the constant tenor we should keep in our obedience (Psalm 92:14).

(4) Our obedience must be cheerful and free. Anointing with oil makes us nimble, for if we have received hereof we shall not be stiff in the joints, but will run in the ways of the commandments. The olive requires no great cost to make it fruitful, nor a man truly sanctified great entreaty to persuade him to do good.

(Elnathan Parr, D.D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

WEB: But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them, and became partaker with them of the root and of the richness of the olive tree;

The Parable of the Olive
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