[Rom 11:22 KJV] (22) Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

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In Romans 11:22 what does Paul mean by “continue in his goodness”?

The Symbolic Olive Tree

"Some of he branches broken off", represent the Jewish people that rejected Jesus , they themselves were rejected. Paul continues ,"and you" meaning the gentiles being "a wild olive shoot were grafted in among them and participated in richness of the olive root" The natural Jews as ancestors of Abraham were given the first opportunity to participate in this Abrahamic covenant. Verse 17.

Romans 11:17-24 New English Translation (NET Bible)

17 "Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them and participated in[a] the richness of the olive root."

Paul in verse 18,19 advises the Gentile Christians not to become haughty and boast keeping in mind that they do not support the root which is God , but that God supports them.

18 "Do not boast over the branches. But if you boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 Then you will say, “The branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.”

In verse 20,21 Paul tells his Roman congregation most likely consisting mainly of non Jewish an some Jewish participants that the natural Jews were cut off because of their unbelief and that if God did not spare the natural branches -the natural Jews, He will not spare you.

20 "Granted! They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but fear! 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you."

22 "Notice therefore the kindness and harshness of God—harshness toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off".

And in verse 22 See then the kindness and harshness of God- harshness toward those[Jews] who have fallen , but God's kindness towards you [Gentiles] provided you remain in his kindness. To continue in God's kindness the Gentile Christians have to "stand by faith", [verse 20] for without faith it is impossible to please God: "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. "Hebrews 11:6 (NASB)


To continue in his kindness, Paul appeals to Christians to demonstrate their faith and thankfulness by obeying God and by living a life of , "Sacrifice of Body and Mind:"

Romans 12:1 (NABRE)

VI. The Duties of Christians

Sacrifice of Body and Mind. 1 "I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship".

Paul most like had in mind his fellow Israelites, when they sacrificed an animal to God, they were expected to offer a healthy animal, if the animal was imperfect, sick or otherwise God did not accept such a sacrifice, so Paul appeals to his brothers to worship God in a holy and pleasing way {thus continue in his kindness] otherwise their worship could become unacceptable to God.

Paul continues to urge his brothers and gives advice of Christian living and thus continue in God's kindness to his brothers from chapter 12 to chapter 15 -recommend reading.


"Continue in Goodness of God" means that God's Goodness, that is to say, His Mercy, His Grace and salvific Love is not acting automatically, without our free reciprocation and constant faithful co-action and our constant growth in Him, that is to say, in His Grace to become a "perfect man" (Cf. Ephesians 4:13). Thus, if we lose faith in Christ and do not co-act with His Grace against our sinful inclinations but succumb to them, then God's Grace will not automatically save us, but we shall make ourselves fall from the bush planted by God as useless branches.


Romans 11:18-22 (DRB) Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 19 Thou wilt say then: The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. 20 Well: because of unbelief they were broken off. But thou standest by faith: be not highminded, but fear. 21 For if God hath not spared the natural branches, fear lest perhaps he also spare not thee. 22 See then the goodness and the severity of God: towards them indeed that are fallen, the severity; but towards thee, the goodness of God, if thou abide in goodness, otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

'What happened to the Jews can happen to Gentiles,' is the gist of his argument here: "they were broken off—but you stand by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear: for if God hath not spared the natural branches, fear lest he also spare not thee."

This is the 'for there is no distinction' and 'God is no respecter of persons' doctrine permeating the New Testament in full force. Just as God can graft Jews in again if they "obey the gospel" (2 Thess. 1:8): "if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again" (Rom. 11:23). He is saying the same is true of Gentiles: we can be grafted out for unbelief and grafted in upon repentance. Here "if thou abide in goodness" appears to refer back to "the goodness of God," which means the same as Christ's teaching here:

John 15:1-10 (DRB) I am the true vine; and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me, that beareth not fruit, he will take away: and every one that beareth fruit, he will purge it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now you are clean by reason of the word, which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing. 6 If any one abide not in me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 In this is my Father glorified; that you bring forth very much fruit, and become my disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved me, I also have loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; as I also have kept my Father's commandments, and do abide in his love.

Regardless of this possible allusion or not, Paul's use of 'belief' and 'unbelief' correspond to a life of grace or reprobation, respectively—and notably and quite clearly not a 'once saved, never going to be one of those bad people' sense.

Romans 2:5-8 (DRB) But according to thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou treasurest up to thyself wrath, against the day of wrath, and revelation of the just judgment of God. 6 Who will render to every man according to his works. 7 To them indeed, who according to patience in good work, seek glory and honour and incorruption, eternal life: 8 But to them that are contentious, and who obey not the truth, but give credit to iniquity, wrath and indignation.

Here obedience to the truth, obedience to the gospel, is "patience in good work," not bare assent or anything less. But again, the primary focus is not belief qua the root of a good life, and unbelief, the opposite. E.g.

Mark 16:16 (DRB) He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.

Belief and baptism are inseparable because the believer gets baptized; the unbeliever doesn't, hence the non-redundancy of not repeating "and is not baptized." The work, and omission of this work, are implied in the respective instances, and so only needs to be stated once. That's why it's also synonymous with "whoever believes in Jesus will be saved," because belief in Jesus is a process and a religion, with commandments, laws, sacraments, etc. even if it can be condensed into the description 'belief in Jesus' as the source and meaning-giver for all these aspects, and not bare assent (Jas. 2:19), but change (Mk. 1:15).

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