Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 1 Study # 2
October 8, 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. Paul's Counter-Claim.
- A. Its existence in the text at this point.
- 1. The straightforward argument of the Jews was that such a horrible heresy could only have its roots in some kind of extreme antagonism toward them. Saul of Tarsus (say they) must have a deep hatred in his heart for Israel for him to be motivated to attempt to destroy Israel's doctrine and worship.
- a. In the mind of the Jews, "hatred against them" was simply an extension of "hatred against the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob".
- 1) On one hand, they were "correct" in that it is impossible to "love" The God and "hate" His people (1 John 4:20).
- 2) And, on another hand, they were absolutely correct because The God is, Himself, characterized by a pure and holy hatred of the "god(s)" of people whom He hates.
- 3) The problem the Jews had was the underlying, and incorrect, assumption that they had a true and rather exclusive "identity" as "the people of The God" (Matthew 3:9 and John 8:39).
- 4) The fact is that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was The Instigator of the total destruction of many of the enemies of Israel -- an action of "hate" -- as well as The Instigator of the provision of a Redeemer for all mankind in Jesus of Nazareth. The truth is that God is both Perfect Hatred for all of the wicked (Psalm 5:5) and Perfect Love for all of those same wicked (Romans 5:8). This does set the stage for human misunderstanding, but it is not significantly different from God being Perfect Justice and Perfect Grace. Human misunderstanding is a given. Infinity cannot explain itself to finitude. Human understanding begins with faith in what is declared, and it is not necessary to be able to explain all mysteries and conundrums.
- 5) And, the critical fact was that the first century Jews, for the main part, were not "the people of The God" so that whatever Saul's attitude toward them was, it did not undercut the truthfulness of his message.
- b. Jesus pointed out to the leaders of national Israel that they were too ignorant to be putting themselves into the position of being judges over Him (Matthew 22:29).
- 2. Paul's claim at this point is simply his anticipation of their accusation that he is a "hater" of Israel and, thus, also a "hater" of the God of Israel.
- 3. And, as with all hypocrites who point their fingers of heavy accusation at others, these "accusers of hate" were, themselves, filled with such hate that rage was all they could think about when Saul of Tarsus came into the conversation. They longed for his death (note well Acts 23:21).
- a. The charge of "roots in hate" is theologically astute: no "Kingdom of God" can have its roots in "hate"; it is totally self-defeating.
- b. The problem with the charge is that it arises out of "hate". Those who are filled with "hate" only see themselves in their "adversaries" and conclude that those "adversaries" are moved by the same motivations they are. However, there is nothing "hateful" about offering the blessings of The Christ to others. The only reason for the "hate" is that the pride of the Jews was offended. Pride has its roots in "hate" and being humbled is not a bad thing.
- B. Paul's response to the charge was, however, a claim that most men, whether Jews or not, would find difficult to swallow.
- 1. The difficulty of "belief" is revealed by Paul's three-fold preparatory comments.
- a. I am saying Truth in Christ.
- 1) Paul's location of the word "truth" at the very beginning of his sentence indicates that this is his focus.
- 2) Paul's use of the particular verb translated "saying" indicates the degree of importance to his coming claim: it is the verb used when "Truth" is being strongly professed.
- 3) Paul's placement of this "Truth" "in Christ" indicates his complete reliance upon God's gracious willingness to place His people "into" His Son so that they have a complete identity in Him that can result in complete honesty of "declaration".
- b. I am not lying.
- 1) The emphasis is upon "not".
- 2) The "lying" is simply the alternative to "saying the truth".
- c. The Holy Spirit is directly involved with my conscience (in the following claim).
- 1) The grammar is deliberate.
- 2) The "witnessing" that is going on is "feminine, genitive" and "my conscience" is "feminine, genitive"; indicating that the conscience is doing this "witnessing".
- 3) This "witnessing" is "to me", out of "my conscience".
- 4) This "witnessing together" is tied to "the Holy Spirit" so that His attendant input with that of the conscience is harmonious.
- 2. The claim itself.
- a. Grief to me is great.
- b. Pain in my heart is incessant.
- c. I was praying that I myself might be cursed from The Christ for the sake of my brethren who are my fleshly kin.
- 3. But, believable, or not, at least the foundations are moved away from "hate" to "love" and it forces the Jews to validate their claims of Paul's "heresies". In other words, it is now the burden of proof upon the Jews to show how the Gospel is a message of hate toward the Jews.