Monday, October 16, 2023

2023.10.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ Romans 9:1–5

Read Romans 9:1–5

Questions from the Scripture text: What four ways does Romans 9:1 affirm what Paul is saying? What level of grief was so hard to believe (Romans 9:2-3a)? For what could he wish to be accursed from Christ? Which brethren? What are they called (Romans 9:4)? What six great things pertained to them? Who was from them (Romans 9:5)? And Who else came from them, according to the flesh? Over whom is Christ? Who does this make Him?

If the love of God is irreversible, then what about Israel? Romans 9:1–5 looks forward to the midweek sermon. In these five verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Israel are the people from whom Christ came, and therefore for whom we should agonize over each one of them that does not have Him. 

An amazing work of grace. Romans 9:1 is rather unusual. By four types of vow or oath statements, the apostle verifies what he is saying. This is not because his yes and no are sometimes no and yes, but simply because of how wonderful is the work of grace that God has done in his heart to give him such love for the Jews. Becoming forgiving like this is a great work of great grace. Each of us should look to God to do it in our hearts, and conform us to Christ (cf. Luke 23:34), as He has done for Stephen (cf. Acts 7:60), Paul, and other believers for two millennia.

An agonizing grief. If Romans 9:2 is what it looks like when grace has laid hold of our hearts, then many of us should be crying out for more grace. The apostle by whom the Spirit commands us to “rejoice in the Lord always” (cf. Philippians 4:4) continually grieves with great sorrow for the lost. The greatest joy and the greatest sorrow ought to dwell together continually in our hearts. 

An astonishing generosity. The apostle has just finished describing how salvation is determined in eternity and invincibly carried out in time (cf. Romans 8:27–39). But now he declares his hypothetical (“I could wish,” Romans 9:3) desire to give up his own salvation (“accursed for Christ”) for his relatives according to the flesh. This is, of course, something that is impossible for us to do. But it is also exactly what Christ has done for us. He was cursed for us (cf. Galatians 3:13)! 

This self-sacrificial love puts to shame our prayerlessness for the lost. Christ was accursed for us, the apostle was willing to be accursed for others’ salvation, but we find ourselves too unwilling even to be inconvenienced to pray for it. Or to be thought fanatical or impolite to speak for it.

Two categories of those whom we should especially love this way. Paul describes the Jews two ways.

  • First, they are his relatives according to the flesh. We have a special obligation to those to whom God’s providence connects us. 
  • Second, the Jews are Israelites (Romans 9:4). And this he means primarily covenantally. “To whom pertain the adoption” (cf. Exodus 4:22–23; Hosea 11:1; Jeremiah 31:9). “The glory” (cf. Exodus 24:9–11, Exodus 24:16–18). “The covenants.” Notice the plural here; this is not only the Sinaitic covenant, but a recognition of the progression from Genesis 3 through Genesis 9, Genesis 12, Sinai, 2 Samuel 7, even unto Christ. God’s law, worship, and promises (Romans 9:4b) at Sinai all looked forward to Christ covenantally. 

The Jews are also ethnically precious because of the eminent saints at the root of their tree (“the fathers,” Romans 9:5) and the infinitely glorious Branch Who grew from the stump of their tree (“from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came.”) We ought to love Abraham as a father in the faith (cf. Romans 4:11–12, Romans 4:16), and his descendants for his sake (this works for Jews and Arabs alike!). But how much more ought we to love the earthly family of those from whom the Ever-Blessed God was born according to the flesh (cf. Romans 1:3–4; Romans 1:25b)! Indeed, though some point out that it is possible to translate the end of Romans 9:5 differently, it is impossible to do so honestly, as it follows hard upon the heels of Romans 8:35–39.

We should care for the salvation of all who are perishing. But the Lord has placed upon us a special obligation to grieve over the perishing of our near relatives and of the Jews.

For whom, among your relatives, should you be looking for more grace in the heart to grieve over them continually? If you had this grace, for whom else would you especially grieving (both covenantally and ethnically)?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You for Your great mercy toward us. In that mercy, make us merciful to those who are perishing. Break our hearts for their salvation—especially for our family according to the flesh and for Christ’s family according to the flesh, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP126 “What Blessedness” or TPH405 “I Love They Kingdom, Lord” 

No comments:

Post a Comment