“For if the roots of the tree are holy, the branches will be, too.” Romans 11:16
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
Throughout the bible there are many descriptions used to illustrate a point. They help to form a picture that captures our minds and hearts to the truth. These verses above do just this. Although the description above is specifically using trees, there is no one who wouldn’t have seen or encountered a growing plant which would hold the same principles. There is so much to see but for today, let us look at being deeply rooted.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul makes this comment, ‘For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have – Jesus Christ.’ Don’t skim over this thinking, we already know this? For we as God’s people should be reminded of these things to not only encourage us but give room for continued thanks in our Lord God. The first verse above describes God as the roots while the next verse describes God as the water the roots reach deep into. Both emphasize the same thing and that is our dependence on God. The fact that without Christ as our foundation, we would crumble and fall. Dependence means that we can’t live without something and in this case we can’t live without Christ and the nourishment He gives. This is important to understand as everything said comes from this foundation. As we are deeply rooted in Him, we see and get our understanding from Him. These truths are rooted in Him.
Let us be bold and paraphrase the first verse. ‘If Christ is holy, we will be, too.’ What! There is no way the two can go together as we all know that Christ is holy but we are not! Don’t miss this amazing truth for those who belong to Christ, for those who are deeply rooted in him. Let us break it down a bit further to help. The first section says, ‘For if the roots of the tree are holy’. Talking about Christ, we know that He is Holy. Sure the world debates this but we know that this is a fact, a truth that cannot be denied or covered by those who refuse to acknowledge Christ. As we are rooted in Christ, this means that we are the branches described in the second part of the verse.
So then, the Scripture is basically saying (to those rooted in Him) what we paraphrased, ‘If Christ is Holy, we will be, too.’ What does the writer to the Hebrews mean then when he says, ‘And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.’ He was speaking about old and new worship, about what Christ’s sacrifice changed for us who worship God. That change is Christ making us holy and clean through His blood. As we are made righteous and holy, we can now boldly enter God’s presence without fear.
The next question to note is, how do we become deeply rooted in God? How do we become a branch? The same chapter in Romans 11 says this, ‘Yes, but remember – those branches were broken off because they didn’t believe in Christ, and you are there because you do believe.’ A little later it also says, ‘But if you stop trusting, you will also be cut off.’ We become a branch by believing and trusting in God and so believing in Christ and His death on the cross. This we know well but other parts of this same Scripture reveal more. Listen to some of these comments, ‘for God has the power to graft them back into the tree’ or further on, ‘So if God was willing to do something contrary to nature by grafting you into his cultivated tree….’ From here comes another bold statement, ‘Unless God wills it, you cannot become a branch.’
As it is God’s ‘cultivated tree’, He has every right and authority to choose who becomes part of that tree. He also has the power to cut, or trim, or graft new branches to that same tree. That is why it is clearly by Grace that we believe and know God and why we can only be deeply rooted in God because He allows it. So too, He allows us to be nourished and to grow. So too, He makes us holy. That is also why it is a privilege to enter and dwell in His presence because we never have and never will deserve to be there apart from Christ.
Who or what are you deeply rooted to. I don’t think we realize how much of a privilege it is to boldly enter God’s presence. To know this truth, that Christ has enabled us to do so by making us holy, should lead us to rejoicing in Him. We never deserved anything but death yet God showed us mercy. His Grace allowed us to have a foundation that is secure and solid. So, let your roots reach deep into the water that is Christ. May these words apply to you,‘blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.’