And if some of the branches be broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them…
There is no sin so heinous as self-satisfaction, and no virtue so agreeable to God as humility. These words are addressed to Christians, so highmindedness is not confined to worldly men. Notice —
I. THE PARTICULARS OF THE FAILING. It includes —
1. Presuming on our privileges. The Christian has many privileges above the world.
(1) Liberty. But he must not presume on that liberty for egotism.
(2) Enlightenment. But he must not make the light to be a pretext for self-assertion.
(3) Holiness. This must not cause him to think more highly of himself than he ought to think.
2. Trusting too much in worldly advantages.
(1) Wealth will make a man high-minded if not properly used.
(2) Ancestry and pedigree.
(3) Beauty of person, strength of limb, a high education, even personal liberality or usefulness.
3. Haughtiness towards others. The man who thinks highly of himself will act it, and treat his fellows with contempt. Like the Pharisee.
II. THE ANTIDOTE. In this case fear indicates self-mistrust, dread of falling, and reverence for God.
1. Fear is a restraining power. Dread of consequences is an important factor in society. Fear of God is not a slavish torment, but awe and self-abnegation.
2. "But fear." It is the picture of one feeling his way in the gloom, knowing his own weakness and the awful consequences of a fall, and so taking all needful precautions. It induces therefore —
III. THE DETAILS OF THE FEAR. Fear what?
1. The natural pride and teaching of the human heart.
2. The effects of self-righteousness. "Pride goeth before a fall."
3. The danger of being a castaway.
4. The danger of perverting truth.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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;