Romans 9:1-5

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Text: Romans 9:1-5



In Romans 1:16-17 we have noted the theme of Romans. It is the gospel of Christ which is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.

In 1:18-3:20 we have seen that all people lack righteousness.

In Romans 3:21-5:21 we have seen that God has provided righteousness for all when he sent Christ to die for our sins on the cross and raised Him from the dead. It is called justification by faith.

In Romans 6-8 we have seen God's provision for godly living - it is called sanctification.

A question arises, however: what is going to happen to Israel? Since Israel as a nation has rejected Christ as Messiah, has the nation as a whole been permanently set aside by God, i.e. forever? Paul answers this question in Romans 9-11 . In Romans 9:1-5 we see Paul's concern for the salvation of Israel.

We see: 1) the sincerity of Paul's burden (v.1); 2) the intensity of Paul's burden (v.2,3a); 3) the reason for Paul's burden (v.3b); and 4) the basis for Paul's burden (v.4-5).

In verses 1-3 the Apostle Paul expresses his burden for the salvation of Israel.

We see -


Romans 9:1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost.

I say the truth in Christ and I lie not are expressions that indicate that the Apostle is not trying to deceive anyone. This burden for the salvation of the nation of Israel is deep-seated and genuine. There is no pretense here.

I say is I am saying, I am asserting, I am declaring, or I am speaking.

What Paul is saying is the truth. Another possibility is that it is understood in the sense I am speaking truly. The difference is not great, however, because, if he speaks truly, then what he says is truth.

In Christ is best understood as I am speaking truth as a Christian or I am speaking truly as a Christian.

I lie not is stating the same thing but from a negative standpoint. It is understood in the sense of I am not lying or I am not telling a falsehood.

Paul supports his statements by an additional one meaning that he has a clear conscience regarding the matter. My conscience also bearing me witness means that his conscience is not bothering him or troubling him in any way. He is speaking the truth. He has a clear conscience.

Also suggests in addition to my telling you that I am speaking the truth and not lying.

Bearing witness means testifying, testifying in support of, or confirming.

In the Holy Ghost suggests in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Paul has a clear conscience before God the Holy Spirit Who has not in any way brought conviction of wrongdoing to Paul's conscience in the matter of Paul's speaking truth regarding his burden for the nation of Israel.

Next we see -


Romans 9:2-3 A - (2) That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. (3a) For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ. . . .

Verse 2 expresses the burden and sorrow Paul has for Israel. It is an expression of the truth he is speaking in Christ in verse 1: that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.

That I have great heaviness is that I have great grief, that I have great sorrow, that I have great pain of mind, that I have great pain of spirit, or that I have great affliction.

This is a big burden for Paul, and it weighs him down heavily. It simply will not go away; it is a constant and continuous matter with Paul. It bothers him all the time.

Paul also has continual sorrow, i.e. unceasing (or constant) pain, woe, or grief.

In my heart tells where this continual sorrow is found. It is an internal thing with Paul. He has a great love for the nation of Israel and a desire to see the nation as a whole saved; yet, he is very sad because he does not see this happening. Although many Jews had been saved, most had not yet been saved and would continue to be unbelievers. In fact, his greatest opposition usually came from the Jews.

Romans 9:3 a - For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ. . . .

In verse 3 Paul indicates how great his heaviness and continual sorrow for the nation of Israel is.

For is emphatic in the sense of indeed or in fact.

I could wish expresses an impulse. As such it expresses a desire or disposition, but it lacks realization. It will never happen. It is possible to talk about this happening, but it will never become actual. It does, however, express how strongly Paul felt.

That myself is that I myself and is emphatic and refers to Paul.

What Paul could wish is that he himself were accursed from Christ for my brethren.

Accursed is a word which suggests that he would become an object on which a curse is laid.

From Christ suggests away from Christ. It means that Paul would be willing to become an unsaved man on behalf of the nation of Israel, that is, that he would give up his salvation, if it would result in Israel's salvation.

We also see -


Romans 9:3 b - (3) . . . For my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.

For my brethren is clarified by the phrase which follows: my kinsmen according to the flesh. It means Paul's fellow-Israelites, or Paul's fellow-countrymen, i.e. those who physically were Jews.

Moses prayed similarly for Israel,

Exodus 32:32-33 - (32) Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin-; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. (33) And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

Paul made a similar statement in II Corinthians.

II Corinthians 5:14-15 - (14) For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: (15) And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

In addition, we see -


Romans 9:4-5 - (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.

In verses 4-5 Paul rehearses some privileges which Israel as a nation has enjoyed.

Who are Israelites identifies Paul's kinsmen according to the flesh.

Israelites are descendants of Abraham through Isaac and through Jacob who was renamed Israel.

To whom pertaineth is the possessive pronoun whose. The same word is translated whose in verse 5. As is indicated by the italics, pertaineth has been supplied by the translators. They might instead have supplied are and the phrase be understood in the sense of whose (are) as is done in verse 5.

The things that belong to the nation of Israel are the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises.

The adoption is a legal term which means the adoption of children and refers to the acceptance of the nation of Israel as a son of God.

This is not the same adoption that believers enjoy. Believers receive the adoption of sons when they as individuals place their faith in Christ as Savior. Adoption is also used in Romans 8 of the completion of believers' salvation at the rapture. Adoption in Romans 9:4 refers to the adoption of the nation of Israel as a son of God.

The glory is the Shekinah Glory of the Old Testament which was a representation of God Himself.

The covenants were decrees or assurances given to the nation of Israel by God.

The Abrahamic Covenant - Genesis 12:2-3 - (2) And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: (3) And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Genesis 13:14-17 - (14) And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: (15) For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. (16) And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. (17) Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.

Genesis 15:1-7 - (1) After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. (2) And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? (3) And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. (4) And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. (5) And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. (6) And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (7) And he said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.

Genesis 17:1-8 - (1) And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. (2) And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. (3) And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, (4) As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. (5) Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. (6) And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. (7) And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. (8) And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

The Mosaic Covenant (It is the same as the Mosaic law.) - Exodus 19:5-6 - (5) Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: (6) And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

Unfortunately Israel did not obey God's voice and keep His covenant.

The Palestinian Covenant is given in Deuteronomy 30:1-10 . It promised that, if Israel were driven from its land, the Lord would restore Israel to the land when Israel turned to the Lord. Of course, the things which would have driven Israel from the land would have been the result of a judgment from the Lord because they had turned away from Him.

Deuteronomy 30:1-9 - (1) And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, (2) And shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; (3) That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee. (4) If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: (5) And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. (6) And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. (7) And the Lord thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee. (8) And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the Lord, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day. (9) And the Lord thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the Lord will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers:

The Davidic Covenant - II Samuel 7:16 - (16) And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.

The giving of the law is the lawgiving or the legislation considered collectively or as a whole. It is referring to the Mosaic Law.

The service of God is the worship of God. It is the same term used in Romans 12:1 translated your reasonable service. It referred to the service of God in connection with the tabernacle.

The promises refers to the various promises God made in the Old Testament to the nation of Israel.

Romans 9:5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

Verse 5 continues the list of privileges that Israel enjoyed as a nation.

Whose are the fathers is another privilege.

Whose refers to the Israelites in verse 4.

The fathers are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

And of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came is stated in relation to Israel.

And continues the thought of the previous phrase.

Of whom indicates the source from which the Messiah came. No verb is expressed in the Greek text, and our translators have supplied came as is indicated by the italics.

Whom is plural and probably refers to the fathers inasmuch as it stands closest to it in the text although it could refer back to Israelites. It really makes very little difference because the Israelites are also descended from the fathers.

As concerning the flesh indicates the relationship that exists between the Messiah and the form in which He came. Hence, as concerning is understood in the sense of as according to, in relation to, or with reference to.

The flesh refers to His physical flesh which He took when He became a man.

Christ is literally the Christ and means the Messiah (or the Anointed One) came.

No verb is expressed in the Greek text. This is not at all unusual inasmuch as people often do not express complete thoughts; yet, their meaning is not difficult to discern. It is usually clearly understood by the ones to whom they are speaking or writing. As indicated by italics, came has been supplied by our translators as a verb in order to aid our understanding. Another possibility which suggests itself in this context is was promised. The Messiah was promised to come out of the nation of Israel and to be descended from the fathers.

Who is over all is a reference to the Christ (or the Messiah), and it suggests that He is over all in His authority or in His position. This includes not only all persons but also all things and refers to the entire creation.

God blessed forever is most likely to be understood in the sense of Christ (Who is) God, blessed forever. If intended in this way, it is a clear statement of the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Another possibility is that God blessed forever is not to be connected in any way to Christ came who is over all. In this event, it is to be understood as a wish in the sense of (may) God (be) blessed forever and, thus, as a reference to God the Father or to the Triune God.

Blessed describes God. It literally means well-spoken of and is used in the sense of praised.

Forever suggests that He is blessed or to be praised throughout all eternity.

Amen meaning truly or so be it, concludes this statement or word of praise.

Despite all its privileges, Israel as a nation rejected the Messiah.

Despite all its privileges, the United States of America as a nation is also rejecting Christ.


Paul had a tremendous burden for the lost Israelites.

How does our burden compare for lost Americans and others?