Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 1 Study # 1
September 24, 2017
1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,
2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.
3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
4 Who are Israelites; to whom [pertaineth
] the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service [of God
], and the promises;
5 Whose [are
] the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ [came
], who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
1901 ASV Translation
1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing witness with me in the Holy Spirit,
2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing pain in my heart.
3 For I could
wish that I myself were anathema from Christ for my brethren's sake, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
4 who are Israelites; whose is the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service [of God
], and the promises;
5 whose are the fathers, and of whom is Christ as concerning the flesh, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
- I. The Sudden Shift of Topic.
- A. The previous content of Romans 6-8 is decidedly "sanctificational".
- B. Then, as if from out of nowhere, Paul suddenly began to address his attitude toward his "kinsmen according to the flesh" who, according to his own doctrine, have been set aside for an extended season in order for God to extend His mercy to "gentiles according to the flesh".
- II. The Historical Context/Larger Picture.
- A. Paul had become the primary "sore thumb" of Israel as he preached Christ to the gentiles and planted "gentile" churches all over the geography of Israel and Rome.
- B. His previously unheard-of theological claim was that the gentiles were being included in the blessings of The Christ (Ephesians 3:4-6). He justified this claim by saying it was "new revelation", "a mystery...not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit".
- C. The backlash was that the Jews were being demoted from their exalted status as "the [only] people of The God".
- D. For self-satisfied, Jewish status-seekers, this smacked of an outright denial of both Paul's "we cannot be separated from The Love of The God" as well as any possibility of purity in motive in Paul's heart.
- E. The New Testament is a clear record of a massive theological "shift of focus" begun by John the Baptizer and continually developed by the authors of the New Testament. Even the coming of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was heralded by Luke as a return to the pre-Babel days of divine extension of grace to the nations at large with no special fixation upon Israel for at least a time.
- F. It is not an overreach for me to claim that this shift of focus was treated as a massive heresy worthy of death by the main body of "Israel".