Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 149 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Romans 11 today and our focus is on The Kindness and Severity of God + The Importance of Perseverance. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Karachi, Pakistan, Bihar, India, New South Wales, Australia, Alberta, Canada, New York, New York and Dayton, Ohio. Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
The next few episodes are going to be a bit on the lean side, which will hopefully make up for the last couple of months being on the high side of 10 minutes. My family and I are heading to visit our hometown of Birmingham, Alabama at the beginning of June, so I’m hoping to record a few episodes to keep things going daily before we leave, and those episodes might be a little shorter than normal. Never fear, though – it will probably all work out in the end!
Our verse of the day is a doozy – equal parts startling and encouraging, with a strong challenge at the end:
22 Therefore, consider God’s kindness and severity: severity toward those who have fallen but God’s kindness toward you—if you remain in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. Romans 11:22
Consider God’s kindness and severity – what does this mean, Paul? Most people who are kind are not severe, and most people who are severe are not kind. What does it mean for us to consider God’s kindness and severity? The first Greek word there is quite simple. Sometimes it is translated as ‘goodness,’ and sometimes as kindness, and the word seems to have both of those meanings. For most of us, hearing the Bible tell us to consider and remember God’s kindness is not terribly surprising. It is a good thing, especially when going through trials and troubles, to stop and remember the kindness of God. That second word is a bit more of a challenge. The Greek word is ἀποτομία apotomía and it comes from a word that means sharp, as in a sharp rebuke. It reminds me of Mr. Beaver’s declaration about Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia – Aslan is both good and dangerous, and that is a description of God Almighty – He is kind and good and gentle, but also He is a consuming fire.
Consider this deep and gripping meditation of Spurgeon on God’s kindness and severity:
Dire famines are still abroad. Fell diseases stalk forth and mow down their helpless victims. The Lord most high is terrible; yet surely he is good. His decrees are inscrutable. What then? We must be always ready to worship him with resignation as well as with exultation, with bated breath as well as with grateful song. Tell me of the goodness of God to the whole animate creation; commend me to the tiny insects that dance in the sunbeams of his widespread benevolence. And I tell you that he is great in power also; his ways baffle our scrutiny. For by one chill wind, by one cold frost, in the course of a night millions of millions of those creatures perish at once. Behold, therefore, the goodness and severity of God! Whether in creation or in Providence, between the tenderness that fosters life and the sternness that destroys life, the balance is held so steadily that we can but get glimpses of God’s goodness by broadly surveying or minutely examining them.
C. H. Spurgeon, “God’s Glory and His Goodness,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 61 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1915), 98–99.
One closing exhortation is found in the last part of vs. 22 – God’s kindness continues towards those who remain in Him, but those who fall away will be cut off. Consider these verses that encourage us to persevere:
Hebrews 3:14 14 For we have become participants in Christ if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start.
1 Corinthians 15:1-2 Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel I preached to you, which you received, on which you have taken your stand 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold to the message I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
Hebrews 3:6 6 But Christ was faithful as a Son over his household. And we are that household if we hold on to our confidence and the hope in which we boast
Be encouraged, brothers and sisters, to hold firmly to Christ – because He is holding firmly to you!
Bible Memory verses for the month of May: Matthew 28:18-20 18 Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
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