It’s a warm summer morning, the sun feels great because the breeze is strong enough to stop me from overheating. While I’m jogging along the sidewalk I casually wave to a neighbour, and with a smile on his face he waves back. Because my athletic conditioning is nothing to brag about I find myself grateful for any shortcut I can find on my running routes. Suddenly my kind neighbour lets out a stern yell, “Hey, stay off my grass.” (You know, I do feel slightly sorry for those corner lot home owners with that walking path at the corner of their lawn.) My neighbours’ kindness and sternness is often dependant on my behaviour. God’s kindness and sternness can be similarly dependant.
In Romans 11:22-24 we learn about One Critical Issue That Turns Kindness Into Sternness
1. Overconfidence is the opponent of faith
Step aside complacent Jewish person, and step up overconfident Gentile person. If one’s worthy of being slapped, so is the other! At this point in Romans, Paul takes a break from focusing on Jewish complacency and starts targeting a Gentile problem.
You and I who are Gentiles (not Jewish), we have been shown God’s kindness simply because of our belief in Jesus. However, we will just as quickly be shown God’s sternness if we follow in the Jew’s direction of unbelief.
Overconfidence is a Believer Killer! It creates plastic, lukewarm, and dispassionate Christians.
I wish I could tell you that your worse struggle is purely against a demon, or another person, because that would be easier. Your struggle is also against your own tendency to get overconfident and drift.
2. Overconfidence is a universal challenge
Belief is the only thing that connects us with God and salvation. Unbelief and a loss of belief will disconnect us. The critical issue is the same for both the Jews and the Gentiles – sternness because of a lack of genuine and humble faith.
For the Believer of 90 seconds or 90 years, overconfidence is your common enemy.
3. Be confident about your simple belief in Jesus expressing itself in love for God and others
It is crucial that we resist becoming overconfident. We can’t fall into the trap of believing that salvation is ours. Salvation belongs to God. We are saved only by our belief in Jesus. Becoming overconfident is a set up for godly correction.
One Critical Issue That Turns Kindness Into Sternness
A sense of overconfidence concerning our connection to God doesn’t rest on humility and isn’t concerned with faithfully loving God first and others second. Overconfidence takes us down a path that ends in a confrontation with God.
What about you?
Is overconfidence getting the better of you? Are you recognizing your humble context while loving God first and others second?
Or, did you see something different in the text?
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