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. Romans 11:22
Many folks want the gospel to be a spiritual buffet. In other words, they just want to eat what they want to eat. They treat the Bible and spiritual things with the same reverence they would a buffet at the Golden Corral. They take what they want to take, and they leave the rest. This creates many problems for them spiritually.
When my children were little and we took them to a buffet, I had to tell them, “Ok guys, eat a good meal and then you can have a dessert at the end.” If I was to just leave my children to themselves at a buffet, all they would eat are the desserts (especially my oldest son, Finney)!! What happens when a person just eats desserts? They can become unhealthy and overweight.
But this is exactly what people do when it comes to spiritual things. They just eat the desserts over and over and over again. They only desire the things that are pleasing to their spiritual palate. They don’t want to eat the meat of God’s Word, or even the vegetables…not even the bread. They just want to eat the dessert. They want to have their cake and eat it to.
But this reveals their condition (spiritually speaking). They are mere children. For they come to God’s Word (if they even come) only to get the blessings. These ones serve God to get something. One day in the wilderness Jesus fed thousands of people (see John 6). It says 5,000 men. So taking into account that many were married and had children (and back then large families were the norm – Mary and Joseph had at least seven children themselves, according to scripture).
Anyway, He fed approximately 12,000-13,000 people that day. They ate natural fish and bread. But the next day they sought Him out and found Him in Capernaum. They wanted more bread. They only sought Him out to get natural food from Him. They only wanted to be around Him to get something – to be blessed. They wanted something for nothing. Last time I checked, this is how lazy people operate…they want something for nothing. They think the world owes them something. Proverbs 30:15 NASB says, “The leech has two daughters, “Give,” “Give.” One translation says, “The leech has two daughters, and their names are Give, and Give.” What does a leech do? It sucks the life from you.
But as soon as the Lord brought it over to spiritual things, scripture tells us “they grumbled” and found fault and left Him. They had come to a buffet…so-to-speak, and they just wanted the dessert. They didn’t want to hear the truth about their lost condition or the Bread that came down from heaven, or eternal life and their role of responsibility in attaining that…they just wanted something for nothing. Literally, they just wanted another free meal. They didn’t even want to go to work to earn it. They walked miles and miles around the lake to just get something for nothing. And when the Lord told them “No” but that He would give them something that would last forever, they got mad and left.
Oh, but don’t judge; for many are still doing the same thing today with the Lord. Nothing has changed…just the landscape. For the masses are coming to Him to get something. That “something” may be food, a better marriage, money, a better life, a better job, etc., etc., etc. These are children at the buffet that have not been told the truth. What truth? The truth that if you want all the other things, then you must first eat the healthy things that will really sustain you and give you life. Desserts are just a filler food; one cannot live on desserts alone. There is no nutritional value in them – they only taste good and look good to the eye…but they are death to the one who does not use them in moderation. They could develop diabetes or other life-threatening illnesses all based upon their diet of what they chose to eat.
Now, let’s look at the above verse listed at the beginning of this article, and we shall notice a few things: “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.” So here we have a well-balanced meal, a balanced gospel if you will. For here we see two powerful things. We see the “goodness” and the “severity” of God.
And herein lies the problem. Most folks can only see the “goodness” of God. They talk of God’s love, and His mercy, and His grace, and His compassion, and His forgiveness, etc. But they forget the other part of the verse that deals with the “severity” of God. Why is this? Because they only want the desserts…because the desserts only deal with this life. And sad to say, but most are only concerned with this life and this life alone. The Lord tried to get them to see and consider the next life in John 6, and in John 8; but all they wanted to do is find fault, murmur, complain, grumble, and even stone Him to death.
God has two sides to Him. Yes…He is loving, compassionate, patient, forgiving, forbearing, and rich in mercy. But He will also judge all wrongdoing, and all sin, sins, and sinning. The bible says in this same section of Romans that “He will not spare.” God is not playing around folks!! He means business. He gave His Son for you, and if you will not show your deep appreciation for that sacrifice by your living, then you are no different than those who came to Him in John 6 just to get something.
Another part of that verse I would like to draw your attention to is the word “if.” A friend of mine likes to say, “the biggest little word in the English language.” So then, you can only partake of His goodness “IF” you continue in His goodness, “OTHERWISE thou also shall be cut off.” Friends, He’s speaking to Christians here in this passage.
The Lord Jesus had more to say about the wrath of God, the judgment of God, and hell, than about His love, grace, mercy, and heaven combined!! We have a huge responsibility upon us. The way is narrow (which means “restricted” in the Greek) and there are things that you cannot bring with you. Hebrews says to lay aside every weigh and sin that besets us. We cannot bring these things through the gate.
So many people want to put the responsibility of their spiritual lives and their spiritual condition on the Lord. But this is not what the Lord says in His word. He puts the responsibility of our condition upon us. Consider these verses:
- 2nd Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves“
- 2nd Corinthians 13:5 “Prove yourselves”
- 1st Corinthians 11:28 “But let a man examine himself“
- 1st John 5:18 “but he who is born of God keeps himself“(the word “keeps” means “to guard”)
- 1st Corinthians 11:31 “For if we would judge ourselves“
- 2nd Timothy 2:21 “Therefore if anyone purges himself“
- 2nd Corinthians 7:1 “let us cleanse ourselves“
- Revelation 7:14 “these are the ones…who washed their robes“
- Revelation 3:4 “who have not defiled their garments”
- Revelation 16:15 “Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments“
- Luke 21:19 “Possess your souls“
- 1st Thessalonians 4:4 “Possess your body“
- Revelation 22:7 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
There are many more I could have mentioned. This should be sufficient evidence to show the point of what I am trying to bring out; which is that the responsibility of your body and your soul is totally your own. In that great day, you will find out (hopefully not the hard way) that these things I have shared with you are righteous and true. So many today, it seems, just sit and listen with deaf ears. Every writer of the New Testament spoke of this “deaf ear” phenomena. It’s almost as if people are watching a sermon on TV with the mute button activated.
Everywhere I go now, every person I talk to, and every place I teach, I am trying to bring out this truth. The truth that your soul and your body are YOUR responsibility. God has given everything He is going to give pertaining to life and godliness; now what will you do with these truths?
The Bible is not a spiritual buffet of your choosing. You will eat what He told you to eat. Period!! And if you don’t, then you will become spiritually malnourished and sick. So don’t blame God when you get sick. Have you told your own children time and time again, “Don’t eat that” – “Quit drinking that Mountain Dew” – “You’re going to get sick eating all that sugar?” Well…God is telling us the exact same thing concerning the world and spiritual things.
And for those who have ears to hear, He is saying, “Don’t watch that” – “Don’t listen to that” – Don’t indulge in that” – “Don’t go there” – “Eat this book” (Ezekiel 3:3 &Rev. 18:24) – “Live holy (and wholly) for Me” – “Believe what I said in Book in My Book” – “Behold, I come quickly.”