Thursday, November 13, 2014

Romans 9:1-5

1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen. 

The Apostle Paul having given one of the most encouraging discourses on each and every believers security In Christ, now turns to an issue close to his heart. And that is the redemption of the Israelites, God's covenant people. Given that they had for the most part rejected their Messiah, it seems one may have to wonder just how God's plans for their redemption would unfold. Now within this framework of Israel's redemption (chapters 9-11), the Apostle Paul will also enlighten us further about the election of both the Jews and the Gentiles to salvation. 

Vs. 1-3 And so the Apostle Paul begins by declaring his deep desire to see Israel saved. The Holy Spirit bearing him witness that what he is saying is his heartfelt longing to see God's covenant people brought into the fulfillment of their covenant relationship with God through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed the Apostle Paul would say "I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart" because of the Jews separation from God. Indeed Paul will go so far as to say that if it were possible he himself would rather be accursed from Christ if it meant his own countrymen and brethren (according to the flesh), the Israelites would believe, and thus receive Christ as their Messiah, which will bring them into the Kingdom of God (vs. 1-3). For they had not, and thus the Apostle Paul suffered some of his worst persecution at their hands (consider Acts 9:22-23; 13:42-52, vs. 45, 50; 14:1-7, vs. 2, 4; 17:1-8, vs. 5-8; 17:10-15, vs. 13 etc.).  Indeed the early church likewise suffered severe persecution at the hands of unbelieving Jews. For just as they rejected and conspired to kill the Lord Jesus Christ with the unbelieving Gentiles, so they rejected and persecuted all who later followed Him, whether Jews or Gentiles (Acts 6:8-8:1-4; 10:34-43, vs. 39; 12:1-4 etc.). 

Vs. 4-5 The Apostle Paul now mentions six things which came from God through the Jews, but are in no way limited to them. The first being mentioned is "the adoption" (see Rom 8:15, 23, Gal 4:5; Eph. 1:3). The adoption pertains to us all who are called and chosen by Christ to be God's children (whether we were Jews or Gentiles, John 15:16, 19) this being verified to us by the Spirit of adoption i.e. the Holy Spirit within us all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. And so it is that we must all be adopted into God's family. For no one is inherently born into God's family because of their lineage, we all must come into God's family by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, God's Son. That said, it must not be forgotten that the Gospel first came to the Jews, and was brought us all through them. 

"the glory", Pertains to God's Presence amongst God's people, which in Old Testament times most clearly seen and portrayed by the Ark of the Covenant amongst them (1 Sam 4:21). Both the Tabernacle and later the Temple was the dwelling place of the glory of God's Presence. In the N.T. times each and every believer becomes the Temple of the Lord, and thus has within them the glory of God, both individually (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16-7:1) and specifically as a body of believers we bear the glory of God collectively (Eph. 2:20). Which is why how we conduct ourselves in and outside of the house of faith is so important. and which is why reverence inside of the house of faith also matters. 

"the covenants", Both Old and New Covenants came through the Jews, the Old now being superseded by the New, which the Lord Jesus Christ Himself ushered in with His crucifixion death and resurrection from the dead (Matt. 26:26-29; 2 Cor 3:5-11; Hebrews 8:7-13; 12:18-24). 

"the giving of the law", The Law was given through Moses to govern the nation of Israel. It was to stand as God's witness to all nations and peoples that the Israelites were God's people (Deut. 4:6). And so it is that the Jews were not only to observe the Law but they were down through the centuries the keepers of it's written ordinances. Now the Law though commanded of them to observe was also to teach them that by their own works redemption could not come to either the Jews or Gentiles, since no one can keep the Law to eternal life (Acts 15:7-11; Gal. 3:10-14). Rather the Law serves as a Tutor which points all people to God through faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (see Gal. 3:19-25). Similarly the Law (though written on the hearts of every born-again believer) is not what governs either the church, or the individual believers within it (Rom 6:14; 7:4-6). Rather we are under the New Covenant, and thus we are governed by the Lord Jesus Christ whose Word and Spirit is to govern us, since both grace and truth is found there (Matt. 7:12; John 1:17; 2 Cor 3:5-9, 18; Gal 5:16-23). Now for those who reject the grace of God and continue on in their unbelief, self-sufficiency, and or sins, the Law will be the means through which God judges them (1 Tim 1:7-11).  

 "the service of God", Again began with and was entrusted to the Jews. Now as this pertains to Israel, this was the priesthood and all of it's rituals and ceremonial ordinances, Sabbath's and or commanded festivals/feast days that they were to observe when Moses received the Law and all of it's statutes and ordinances on Mount Sinai from God (Ex 19:20-). None of which could bring their redemption, but were directly, or indirectly, pointing them to the Day of Redemption, when the Lord Jesus Christ would suffer crucifixion death for our eternal redemption from sin and death. And so it is that Jesus would say of the Law, and thus the service of God through it: "The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it."  Luke 16:16 Now there is a future fulfillment of the service of God according to the Law that the Israelites will fulfill during the Lord Jesus Christ's millennial earthly reign, but their observance of the Feast of Tabernacles then will be during a time where through it God tests both them, and those nations who dwell on the earth with them (see Zechariah 14:16-21). Then at the end of that time there will be one last Satanic rebellion which will be destroyed by God by fire (Rev. 20:4-10), before the Lord Jesus' Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15), after which the Everlasting Kingdom will be ushered in (Rev. 21:1-22:5). Now as the service of God pertains to us in the New Covenant era, every believer is to serve God through the Lord Jesus Christ with whatever gifts and talents and in whatever capacities and opportunities He provides us with to serve Him (See John 12:26; Col 3:23-24). 

"the promises" That is the Scriptural promises of God all came through the Jews, but are not at all limited to them. 

Vs. 5 Finally the Apostle Paul mentions in verse five that through the Jews came the fathers, i.e. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph to whom God promised not only His blessing upon them but through them He would bring His blessing into the world, specifically through the King that would descend from them, the Messiah, i.e. the Christ, "who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen

And so God's blessing is now extended to one and to all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, whether they are a Jew or a Gentile. The only question then is have you received Jesus as the eternally blessed God, as King of kings and Lord of lords, who brings life everlasting and blessing to all who repent and believe in Him. For that is what God requires of everyone, to honor and obey Him, by believing in and obeying His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom He has committed all judgment, (John 5:22-30). Now for those who do there is the promise of remission of all their sins and everlasting life here and now, but for those who do not there is also God's promise of everlasting wrath on them (John 3:34-35). And so the choice is ours to receive the Lord Jesus Christ and have new and everlasting life by faith in Him. Therefore I urge you make a decesion  for the Lord Jesus Christ today!

Scripture Quotations
The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982.

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