In Romans 11, the apostle Paul uses a metaphor of a wild branch that is grafted into an olive tree. He reminds the Gentile believers that they were the wild shoots that were grafted into the tree. Israel rejected the Messiah and now the Gentiles were invited in. And in light of this merciful inclusion, Paul tells the Gentile believers to take note of the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward Israel who rejected Christ, and God’s kindness towards them (Romans 11:22 ESV). He tells them not to be arrogant or proud, but rather to fear God. And then, after unfolding this doctrine of the Gentile inclusion, Paul burst into praise, saying…
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!… To him be glory forever.” (Romans 11:33, 36 ESV)
Brothers and sisters, we were those outsiders. We too are the wild shoots who have been grafted in. The gospel is not our native religion. We were those who walked in darkness (Isaiah 9:2). We are those who were “separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus [we] who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12–13 ESV).
Let this theology lead us now into doxology. Let the doctrine of our inclusion, spark in us songs of devotion.
Let’s begin with prayer.
Prayer of Preparation
Heavenly Father, we praise You today as the one who made the world and everything in it. You are Lord of heaven and earth, giving to all people life and breath and everything else, so that we might seek you (Acts 17:24-25). We praise you that we no longer have to merely “feel our way towards you” (Acts 17”:27) because You have come to us. You have given us your word and your Spirit, who bears witness of all Christ has done for us. And by Your Spirit You have called us out from among the nations to be your people—inviting us into your Kingdom, with Christ as our King. Receive now the praise, adoration, and thanksgiving of your people. Amen.