by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 9 Paragraph # 1 Study # 8 December 3, 2017 Humble, Texas (Download Audio)
(015)Thesis: Israel had the heritage of "blessedness" so that Paul, as an enlightened Israelite and preacher of the Gospel, deeply felt the loss caused by unbelief.
Introduction: In this opening paragraph of Paul's clarification of God's larger plan, Paul seeks to explain his own attitude toward those Israelites who were attempting to dissuade people from faith in his message by charging him with promoting a theology of hate toward Israel. This charge reflects Israel's own failing rather than Paul's in that Israel naturally took their "blessedness" as a basis for "hate" (toward Samaritan and Gentile). Being blindly guilty of their own "theology of hate" they naturally assumed that Paul was guilty of the same flaw (the modern psychologists call this "projection", where one "projects" their own faults upon others and assumes those others guilty while being blindly enslaved to the "log" in their own eye).
We have come to the end of the paragraph where Paul brings his explanation of his grief and sorrow over his "brethren", who are Israelites, to a climax. The issue of this climax is Paul's regret over Israel in light of what they possessed as a heritage, but forsook in order to attempt to prove themselves "wise".
I. The Previous Revelation of Israel's Deepest Desire.
A. There are only two places in Romans where God is characterized as "blessed forever" (and the same two are the only places in Romans where Paul uses the word translated "blessed").
1. The first place is Romans 1:25 where Paul brings his declaration of human failure to a climax, and in the process reveals their underlying motive as seeking to be known as "wise" (1:22).
a. Genesis 3:5-6 clearly declares that the most basic motive for disbelief and disobedience is the desire to be "as gods, knowing good and evil".
b. This desire is actually a sub-set of the original sin of the serpent: the desire to be God in His place so that all others will "bow down and worship" because of the superiority of "wisdom" possessed by the usurper (revealed by Satan in the wilderness at the apex of the temptation of The Christ: Matthew 4:9-10).
c. In Romans 1:25 this desire is revealed, and sets the stage for our text as a revelation of the contrary motive of "Israelites" as opposed to Paul.
2. The second place is our current text.
B. The fault of Israel was the desire to rule all others without understanding the most basic requirement for legitimate rule: servant authority where the needs of others is primary.
1. Israel's conflict with Paul was over the degree of influence he had over others for which Israel lusted.
2. Thus, the blind accusation of one's own fault against another.
II. The Problems.
A. Israel had a heritage of descent from "the fathers".
1. This reference to "the fathers" is tightly linked to the two following references.
a. In 11:28, Israel is "beloved for the fathers' sake" even though currently enemies of the Gospel.
b. And in 15:8 the reason is given: certain promises were made to the fathers that require God's continuing focus upon Israel.
2. The reference is to "the fathers" even though they were deliberately excluded from the direct creation of The Christ.
a. The Christ did not have an earthly father for good cause: Adam's sin was transmitted by them.
b. But God still required "faith" in the "mothers" as both Hebrews 11:11 and Luke 1:38 reveal.
3. This heritage put the Israelites of Paul's day in one of two very critical positions.
a. Faith in the promises carried forward in the heritage made it possible to be among those who will inherit the glory of the kingdom of The Christ.
b. Rejection of truth in favor of self-exaltation makes severe condemnation inevitable.
B. Israel was God's tool for the provision of the problem of man's Sin: The Christ.
1. Even though Israel's history was one of gross infidelity, through many twists and turns, God brought The Christ into the "fleshly" condition of humanity in order to, as 15:8 says, "confirm the promises made unto the fathers".
2. Being God's tool is always a privilege as long as it retains its "tool" status, but immediately becomes a deadly albatross if it loses its "tool" status and becomes a "look what I have done" issue.
3. This "tool" identity was a further issue of Paul's grief and sorrow; he, as a former apostate, knew better than most what a sharp razor's edge men walk between blessing and cursing.
C. This Christ is the actual "One Who is over all".
1. This Christ is identified as "The One Who is over all": this violently rejects any who would seek to rule over others without the crucial characteristic of "servant".
2. This Christ is identified as "God": the grammar almost demands this interpretation of the text.
3. This Christ is identified as "blessed unto the ages, amen": referring to His essential predisposition as a contrast to His secondary willingness to "unbless" all adversaries.