As I took up Paul’s main thought in regards to Israel’s salvation I intentionally glossed over a major section–with no manipulative intent. I wanted to look at the problem of Israel’s unbelief without going into an odd theological place: namely the breaking off the Israel branch from the tree.
Now some have taken the passage (in conjunction with the words of Jesus Christ in John) that Romans 11 is teaching the danger of the individual being removed from the Faithâ€”in this case after being proud in his individual gentile position.
Granted there is a very pointed individualistic charge to Paul’s words and I think its for the very reason that there are plenty of Gentiles doing that sort of thing and need to be corrected. But Paul’s entire argument dealt with Israel as a whole being broken off from the root and it would be strange if Paul was comparing Israel Totality to Gentile Individual (although we Americans do tend to think that way).
Rather Paul is leveling the charge at personal Gentiles while still speaking to the entire group. If God was willing to break off the natural branch of Israel (whole) and set it aside how much easier it would be to break off the wild branch of the Gentiles (whole). After all, Israel (corporate) was removed from the root because of unbelief and in so doing the wild Gentile branch (corporate) was able to be added. If anything that should make the Gentile (corporate) humble.
So then an individual application would make the passage say that individual Gentiles should be careful lest they be individually removed from the main tree but this doesn’t make the threat of removal as grand as the sweeping removal that happened to Israel. It was such a major thing that there was room made for a complete different branch; likewise the danger stands for the Gentile Corporate branch.
Paul’s warning is to be taken to heart: God can remove the Entire Gentile Branch if He wants to since it’s not their Olive Tree to begin with–it’s Israel’s.
Rest of Romans series.