Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 11

If part is holy, all is holy

Romans 11:16

If something is holy, it belongs to God in a special way. Israelís priests were very careful to separate holy objects from objects for common use. They had strict rules that helped them to decide about such matters (see Haggai 2:11-13).

Paul is not here discussing those rules, but rather their true meaning. Godís law says that the people should give the first part of their harvest to God (Deuteronomy 26:1-11). Of course, they then kept the rest of the harvest for themselves. However, the reality is that there is no difference between the first part of the harvest and the rest. The whole harvest grew by means of the life that God gave to those plants. So, in reality, it all belongs to God; it is all holy.

It is impossible to have a tree with holy roots and unholy branches. The branches share the life that God has given to the roots. If you tried to separate the branches, you would destroy the life in the branches.

Paul wrote these words for the benefit of Christians who were not Jews (11:13). He wanted to show them their connection with the Jews (Israelís people, who came from the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). God first chose Israel to be his special, holy nation. Now, people from every nation can join the holy people of God (1 Peter 2:9). God joins them, with the Jews who trust him, as one holy nation (Ephesians 2:11-14). It is true that, at the present time, some Jews oppose the gospel, the message about Christ (11:28). However, Godís plan for their nation continues. The first part of Israel trusts God (11:1), and therefore the whole nation is holy (11:26). It belongs to God, and God claims it as his own.

Next part: Christians need to appreciate God's kindness to them (Romans 11:17)


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© 2018, Keith Simons.