Romans 11:22 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 11:22, NIV: Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.

Romans 11:22, ESV: Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.

Romans 11:22, KJV: 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, NASB: See then the kindness and severity of God: to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; for otherwise you too will be cut off.

Romans 11:22, NLT: Notice how God is both kind and severe. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you continue to trust in his kindness. But if you stop trusting, you also will be cut off.

Romans 11:22, CSB: Therefore, consider God's kindness and severity: severity toward those who have fallen but God's kindness toward you--if you remain in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.

What does Romans 11:22 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the previous verse, Paul warned the Gentile Christians that the only reason they had a place in the family of God was because of their faith in Christ. Without that faith, God was just as likely to "prune" them from His tree as He did to the Jewish people who refused to believe in Jesus. Their status was absolutely not on the basis of their own good works (Romans 3:10, 20) or anything other than the grace of God (Romans 11:6).

Paul now wants to make sure his readers don't miss these two pillars of God's nature. He is simultaneously kind and uncompromising, based only on a person's faith in Christ. God is holy, so He must be firm toward those who have fallen by their lack of faith in Christ. God is kind to the Gentile Christians because of their faith in Christ. They must continue in God's kindness by continuing to trust in Christ. Without faith in Christ, God will cut them off, as well.

Context is crucial in any passage, but this verse is particularly easy to misunderstand when read by itself. The issue at hand is not being "cut off" from eternal salvation, as the following verses will show. God had "cut off" some of Israel for their rejection of Him, and "grafting in" Gentiles. Paul is still referring to "the Gentiles" as a group, as much as to Israel as a nation. If "the Gentiles" act as coldly and stubbornly towards God as Israel had, God is more than willing and able to deem them "cut off" and suffer as a result. The context here is not about eternity, but the relationship and communion with God. Similar themes are explored in passages such as Hebrews chapters 3 and 4.