Romans Bible Study #30
The Freedom of God
1 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, 5 whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. NASB
1-5 At the same time, you need to know that I carry with me at all times a huge sorrow. It's an enormous pain deep within me, and I'm never free of it. I'm not exaggerating—Christ and the Holy Spirit are my witnesses. It's the Israelites...If there were any way I could be cursed by the Messiah so they could be blessed by him, I'd do it in a minute. They're my family. I grew up with them. They had everything going for them—family, glory, covenants, revelation, worship, promises, to say nothing of being the race that produced the Messiah, the Christ, who is God over everything, always. Oh, yes! The Message
This section starts with a heart cry, whose heart?, Paul’s, no, deeper, Christ’s heart and the heart of the Holy Spirit. A heart cry, not a disconnected, educated lesson, but a CRY! A cry of pain, of sorrow, of unceasing grief. Only revelation, from the heart of God, brings about this kind of change in a man. Education; highly exalted in our society, is of no use in forming this kind of heart. Oh God, You will have to do this work, or this work will not be done. Give us this kind of heart, we pray.
He just spoke of how we cannot be separated from the love of God, but if such a thing were possible, his heart would be willing for it. What has he gone through, what has he been brought through that he could have such a heart? These are the people who reject his teaching, who stone and whip him every chance they get and some even made a vow that they would not eat until they killed him, and yet for this people he has such love. What has made his heart one with Christ, deeply connected to the Holy Spirit?
The giant of the OT, Moses, and the giant of the NT, Paul, both were so in touch with the heart of God, that they could wish themselves accursed, to see this people change. (Exodus 32:32) It is not possible make ourselves accursed in the place of another, because God does not allow it, but to have that kind of heart is our goal.
So much has been lost by this people who had all of these things, including Christ according to the flesh. Exodus 4 Israel is the first reference to ‘sons’ in the Bible.
God’s first ‘adoption’ was this nation. This tiny group of people among the powerful peoples of the earth. He set them apart, He brought them out. He gave them His name and identified them as His possession. There is an amazing thing happening here, this nation has to fail in its call in every area and every time that it tries to grab hold of it in its own strength, but, this nation cannot ultimately fall, because the call was from God, the covenant was from God. His Name and His faithfulness is at stake in this ultimate fulfillment, NOT through some other people some other way, but through this people on this earth. Fulfilled THROUGH HIM, not education, skill, expertise, human gifts of any kind. Saved by God, or not saved at all, just like us. So they have to go through a time of death, a time of being set aside, in order for the fulfillment to come through resurrection. God’s ultimate and unchanging pattern. Eph. 1:6 “to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”
The purpose of this section (9-11) is to show that God is God. The Potter can elect and choose. This section is a laser beam aimed at the works-oriented mentality of humanity. “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” Romans 9:16
If you dig deep enough, the cross is at the heart of our understanding. We did nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing, to go from being an enemy of God to a saved and chosen friend. What Jesus did on the cross is all that was done, period.
You have to be in right relationship with the Spirit to pray rightly.
Apostolic heart is jealous for God’s Name, God’s word and as a result Israel. God will answer Paul’s prayer, but in a way that no one could have dreamed up, and as this plan is unfolded through and to Paul, he is brought to that great time of worship and praise at the end of Chapter 11.
National culpability, verse 4 “Israelites.” God has a view of mankind that is both individual and national. He brings judgment both on the basis of individual sin and national sin. His choosing of this nation is not a 'changeable’ thing. This verse, 11:29 “for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” is often used for many things, but is specifically in reference to Israel, another reason why “replacement theology” is wrong.
Galatians 3:28“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”Just as a side note, this verse is used to argue for replacement theology, Paul is laboring in this book to show the inadequacy of the law and the true salvation of being ‘in Christ by faith.’ When we come to Christ by faith we are children of Abraham and we do inherit the promises, as individuals, BUT, this does not eliminate the “call and election” of Israel, and Israel alone, to be a chosen nation.
So when 1peter 2verse 9 says all these promises they are Israel’s promises which are yet to be truly fulfilled in them. 9 “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.” These verses could be used to ‘teach’ replacement theology if you did not know that these are Israel’s promises in verse 9, being given to the gentiles in verse 10 and one day they will find their literal fulfillment in the nation of Israel on the promised day when the natural branch is grafted back onto the vine. (Romans 11:24) Very few people are willing to do what we are striving to do, see the whole truth of God as it is revealed by the Apostle over 3 chapters. God we continually ask for grace to let the scriptures change us.
It is important that when Balak was willing to pay Balaam to curse Israel, he could not, because God would not. Numbers 23
Judgment begins with the “household of God” (1Peter 4:17) one aspect of God’s judgment is its ‘national’ view. Our “nation” as individual believers is “the household of God.”
Lastly a comment from Reggie Kelly regarding these chapters.
“The temptation is always to exalt reason over revelation. Without the profound difficulty and mystery of Ro 9, we could not have Paul’s glorious doxology in Ro 11:33-36, because the way to that glory must pass through the perplexities of Ro 9, offenses notwithstanding. Paul simply does not answer the dilemma of election with the naturally expected appeal to free will. He does not satisfy our natural objections by that more ‘reasonable’ solution. Rather, he says “But who are you, O man, to answer back to God?” And “so then, it is NOT of him that wills or of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy.” I just have to leave it there. I dare not say more than scripture, but I must not say less. For this, any servant that refuses to compromise will suffer great loss and reproach, as I’ve often experienced the intimidation of the powers tempting me to refrain from getting anywhere near the subject, lest I open the proverbial can of worms. However, such convenience can only be maintained if the subject of Israel be kept at a comparatively minimal and superficial level; but is that God’s intention?” Reggie Kelly
The next mountain we are to climb by the grace of God is the famous section on Jacob and Esau.
God prepare our hearts, give us eyes to see and ears to hear, in Jesus’ Name. Amen