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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 11 - Verse 20

Verse 20. Well. True. It is true they were broken off; but in order to show that there was no occasion for boasting, he adds that they were not rejected in order to admit others, but because of their unbelief, and that their fate should have a salutary impression on those who had no occasion for boasting, but who might be rejected for the same cause. This is an instance of remarkable tact and delicacy in an argument, admitting the main force of the remark, but giving it a slight change in accordance with the truth, so as to parry its force, and give it a practical bearing on the very point which he wished to enforce.

Thou standest by faith. The continuance of these mercies to you depends on your fidelity. If you are faithful, they will be preserved; if, like the Jews, you become unbelieving and unfruitful, like them you will be also rejected. This fact should repress boasting, and excite to anxiety and caution.

Be not highminded. Do not be elated in the conception of your privileges, so as to produce vain self-confidence and boasting.

But fear. This fear stands opposed to the spirit of boasting and self-confidence, against which he was exhorting them. It does not mean terror or horror, but it denotes humility, watchfulness, and solicitude to abide in the faith. Do not be haughty and high-minded against the Jew, who has been east off, but "demean yourself as a humble believer, and one who has need to be continually on his guard, and to fear lest he may fall through unbelief, and be cast off." (Stuart.) We may here learn,

(1.) that there is danger lest those who are raised to eminent privileges should become unduly exalted in their own estimation, and despise others.

(2.) The tendency of faith is to promote humility, and a sense of our dependence on God.

(3.) The system of salvation by faith produces that solicitude, and careful guarding and watchfulness, which is necessary to preserve us from apostasy and ruin.

{f} "Fear" Php 2:12

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