“For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.’ Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?” (Romans 11:16-24).
To illustrate how God could provide a potential “win-win” solution to the Jews’ initial rejection of the Messiah and His gospel the apostle Paul uses a tree quite familiar to his first century readers—the olive.
The Messiah came from the root and stock of the Jews. The Messianic prophet himself used this imagery when he wrote: “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:1-2).
Because of unbelief, natural branches (i.e., Jews) were broken off of God’s tree of blessing. Because of obedience to the gospel, wild branches (i.e., Gentiles) were grafted into God’s tree of blessing.
This divine arrangement eliminates all boasting and haughtiness among the Gentiles. Instead, it ought to engender fear. It plainly proves God is no respecter of persons, and it clearly demonstrates both God’s goodness and His severity.
Regardless of whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, the only way to enjoy the lavish spiritual blessings found in Christ is through obeying the gospel. God can graft Gentiles into His tree of blessing; He can graft Jews back into it as well. And, He will cut off any branch—Gentile or Jew—which does not continue in His goodness and bear fruit.