Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Did you see that?!?

Cut off.

 No flinch. No hesitation. No second-guess. .. Only action.

In that one, single, character-defining moment, Aquaman's credentials fly through the roof.

The King of the Sea finds himself chained to a boulder, falling towards a pit of lava, with his one and only son by his side. I believe he would have done anything to save his child.

But, what if the babe wasn't his son?

What if the infant wasn't an heir in line for the throne??

What if the child wasn't even related???

That is what Romans 11:16-24 is about:

Paul's story starts out plain enough. "If the root is holy, so are the branches." Those who he is writing to know that the Jews have always been set apart for God as a holy people. He is holy and so they are holy. He is their God and they are His people. They are his heirs.

"But if some of the branches were broken off," some of His people have fallen away. They have given into idolatry and have denied His incarnation. "and you," the Gentiles, those who have not always been set apart as a holy people who were instead of being part of the tree had become "a wild olive shoot," growing beneath its trunk. These same Gentiles were made into part of the tree. The Gardener had mercy on them and instead of tearing them down and casting them into the fire, He "grafted" them "in among the others" so that they may live. They "now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree" so that they may grow.

God has taken those who have not been His heirs and has grafted them among His faithful.

Still, these new members to the body of the tree are warned, "do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root but the root that supports you." They must not forget their roots or the faith and body that they have now become a part of. They must not forget that all that they have been given is a graceful gift of God.

As they look down from the part of the tree they have now become grafted into, they can see the others, those who have been pruned and fallen aside, cast away. "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." How easily they have fallen away and have been...

Cut off.

Paul warns these new heirs not to make the same mistake.

"But you stand fast through faith.
So do not become proud, but stand in awe.

For if God did not spare the natural branches,
neither will he spare you.

Note then the kindness
and the severity of God:
severity toward those who have fallen,
but God's kindness to you,
provided you continue in his kindness.

Otherwise you too will be cut off."

This is the severity and the kindness of God.

Out of His kindness, He cut off a part of Himself to save us.

He sacrificed His all for us, His heir, His Son for us.

The babe fell so that He may see Him in us.

But, then the babe rose proving that the will of God is greater than the will of his adversaries.

Out of His severity, He has cast off those who have denied him.

His reaction is similar to our hero's at the end of the clip, He becomes wrathful toward those who would even dare hinder those whom He loves.

Still, His grace outweighs His wrath. It is still not too late for those branches that have started to rot beneath the tree. "Even they, if they do not continue their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree."

It is never too late, even for those branches that we thought had already been lost.

And, in Christ, we know where we stand with Him.

Although, God is filled with severity and kindness, grace and wrath, Jesus has drank the cup of wrath, He has taken on the severity so that we may know His grace and truth, His kindness and mercy.


***The picture at the end of the clip and with the theme takes place after this event. With Aquaman's water manipulation skills, he is able to re-graft a hand out of water... He took what he once lost, the flesh and blood, and grafted in the water.

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