Thesis:God gave Israel the highest privilege that can be accorded to man.
Introduction:This evening we come to the end of our studies of Paul's list of the advantages that were extended by God to Israel. Each of these advantages were what I have called "proximity advantages" in that they carried nothing with them that inevitably leads to "participatory advantage". It is one thing to be immersed in a physical setting and it is altogether another thing to actually participate in that setting emotionally and spiritually. As Israel consistently exemplified, one can be physically immersed in the reality of the Divine Presence and completely divorced from that reality in both heart and mind, soul and spirit. The physical reality provided a "proximity advantage", but Paul's enduring grief existed because of the persistent refusal of Israel to move from "proximity" into "participation".
This evening we are going to look into the last, and greatest, "proximity advantage" of Israel. It is described by the words of Romans 9:5 that follow the advantage of being connected to the fathers. It begins with "out of whom [came] the Christ." Our question is this: How is this the "last and greatest" of Israel's rejected advantages?
I. The Old Testament "Sound" of Israel's Rejection.
A. 1 Samuel 8:7 -- "...they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them."
B. Psalm 2:1-3 -- "...let us break their bands asunder and cast away their cords from us."
II. The New Testament "Echo" of Israel's Rejection.
A. Luke 19:14 -- "...We will not have this man to reign over us."
B. John 1:11 -- "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not."
C. Acts 3:15 -- "And killed the Prince of Life..."
D. Acts 4:27 -- "...against Thy Holy Child Jesus, Whom Thou has anointed ... were gathered together..."
III. The "Thing" They Rejected.
A. By using "thing" I go beyond God Himself.
1. He offered Himself and all that He implies in His creation.
2. When He was rejected, so also was rejected what He implies.
B. The "thing" they rejected is a most fundamental and profound "extension" from God to His creation.
1. Our understanding begins with the meaning of "the Christ"
a. Our text has variously been "handled" by translators.
b. A.T. Robertson, the author of a massive Greek grammar, says of the text before us, "As is well known, the difficulty here is a matter of exegesis and the punctuation of the editor will be made according to his theology. But it may be said in brief that the natural way to take [the words] is in apposition to [the Christ]." (AGrammaroftheGreekNewTestament, p. 1108).
c. Taking the words according to their "natural way", we have the meaning of "the Christ" laid out in three ways.
1) He is "the One Who is over all."
a) Whatever sense one assigns to "over", there is no way to "mess up" the overall impression: He's the Boss.
b) The phrase is tied directly to "the Christ" which, in every sense, means "God's anointed" according to the sense of both Psalm 2:2 and Acts 4:27.
c) The issue with "the Christ" terminology is Kingdom Rule.
2) He is "God".
a) In a technical sense, "God" only means "Executor of Power" and may even apply to men (as Jesus did in John 10:34 in a quote from Psalm 82:6).
b) But, technicalities included, the word refers to the execution of power and its boundaries are set by the extent of that power.
i. If the boundaries are "beyond human", then the Executor is beyond human.
ii. If the boundaries are "beyond creature", the Executor is not created.
c) Taken within the flow, the "over all God" means above "all".
3) He is "blessed unto the ages".
a) This terminology means that the recognition of His identity as the God over all will exist in the minds and hearts of some forever with enormous favor.
b) The terminology expresses an enormous gladness and affirmation.
2. Our understanding grows with the significance of "the Christ according to flesh".
a. The Christ has been known for centuries as a Person of two tasks.
1) He could not set up a kingdom without inhabitants and none of those for whom such a kingdom would be set up were qualified: ergo, His first "task" was to "qualify" them (Colossians 1:12).
2) Even after His activity of "qualification", the limitations upon "creatures" means that He could not simply "turn them loose": ergo, His second "task" is to "rule" them forever.
b. Because humanity is a disqualified entity of itself, "redemption" and its corollary doctrines of "forgiveness" and "adoption" are central issues of focus.
c. With this focus, the "Christ according to flesh" is a reference to the reality of His intention to express love by sacrifice and, thus, is a fundamental focus upon "the provision of extraordinary benefit" to human beings.
3. Our understanding comes together with a grasp of "the Christ" in its biblical context wherein the Kingdom is a "spiritual" issue and tasks that produce benefit are highly regarded and those who are given the privilege of producing benefit are enormously exalted.
a. Since the production of the Christ was the production of the Greatest Conceivable Benefit for man, there was no "higher" task.
b. Since God gave the privilege of this highest of all tasks to "Israel", He had exalted them above all nations.
c. In the hierarchy of "values", spiritual things rate higher than "soul" or "body" things.
d. Thus, God's ultimate extension of a "proximity advantage" was the fiat declaration that Israel would be the "Tool of God" for the production of the greatest benefit for fallen man.