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The Net Bible rendering of today’s text.

Yesterday’s thought process continues in today’s passage.

FROM OUR STANDPOINT. The Gentiles are not to be arrogant–there’s nothing about them that would make God be more favorably disposed toward them than He was with the Israelites.

FROM GOD’S STANDPOINT. God will be harsh with whomever resists Him and kind toward whomever continues in Him. It shows that He is no respecter of persons.

FROM A TIMELINE STANDPOINT. The status of being included in God’s family isn’t permanently set. Jews and certainly not Gentiles should ever take their privileged status for granted. It can easily be revoked.

A casual reading of this passage might cause some to conclude that it’s possible to lose one’s salvation. After all it says “perhaps He will not spare you” and “you also will be cut off.” Yet we must interpret this passage in light of all scripture, where it is abundantly clear that the salvation of the elect is secure. I take this passage to be speaking of the salvation of a category of people (Jews vs. Gentiles) not of indivduals.

Even so, the personal application for me is this–I should never presume upon God’s inclusion of me in the tree of life, nor take it for granted. And I should always abide in the vine as if I could be cut off and replaced by someone more deserving. That’s the attitude and perspective I want to cultivate.