1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,
<b>Paul says my conscience, governed by the Holy Spirit, also assures me that I am not lying.</b>
2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.
<b>Paul speaks words of great grief because of his love for his fellow Israelites.
There is a similarity with Paul's situation and that of Christ and the Jews. (Matt 23:37-39, Luk 19:41-42) where we read of Jesus weeping over the city of Jerusalem.
When He made the claim that He was the Son of God they accused Him of blasphemy, i.e. lying. When Paul preached to the Jews they persecuted him.
Paul begins to plead as Moses did "But now, please forgive their sin, but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written." </b>
3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
<b>Paul is saying that he would do anything including going to hell in the place of the Jews if that would accomplish their salvation.
This is nothing less than the perfect "AGAPE" love that Jesus demonstrated when He died for our sins.
Yet there is nothing that he could have done that Jesus hadn't already accomplished completely.
The Jews had been given the law itself, the living word of God which taught them God's standard of holiness and revealed the way of salvation.
All the privileges they had received, should have made the nation ready for Christ's coming, that they might receive him as Saviour and Lord.
But they did not. He came unto his own and his own did not receive him. The reason for their rejection was that they insisted on trying to attain their own righteousness by works instead of receiving God's righteousness by grace.</b>
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.
<b>The Jews failed to receive Jesus as the Messiah sent to redeem them and is the reason Paul is lamenting.
But it is just as tragic in our day that so many should reject Christ. Some reject Him out right, I will not have this man rule over me. Others reject Him passively, I do not want to talk about this now, talk with me about it later", or "I do not want to talk about this, it is a very personal thing. Everyone will be held accountable as to how they answer (or ignore) the question: Who is Jesus Christ? and more importantly who is He to me, "But what about you?" He asked. "Who do you say I am?" (Luk 9:20)</b>
6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
<b> The Jews were adamant that only those born Israelites were the people of God.
However, God accepts all believers, Jew and non Jews and this is no way contrary to his word.
He has declared in his word that believers are accepted as the "children of the promise," (Acts 2:39, Gal 4:28) not only Israel, but also those who are not lineally descended of Israel.</b>
7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.
<b>I will come, and Sarah shall have a son and he shall inherit the blessing. (Gen 18:10)
God first declared the Blessing to Adam and Eve.
"And God blessed them." (gen 1:26-28)
These were the first Words Adam ever heard and with those words, God imparted to Adam and Eve and to all mankind, the blessing. (the empowerment to prosper and have success. (Josh 1:8))
He also gave them the power to carry out that assignment, the power to be a blessing wherever they went.
The blessing came down through Abraham and Abrahams grandson Jacob, Jacobs son Joseph and to Christ.
"And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ (Gal 3:16).
When God spoke to Abraham and his Seed, He was speaking directly to Jesus. He was giving to Jesus (through Abraham) the blessing that was originally bestowed on Adam.
Thats why Jesus is called the last Adam (1 Cor 15:45). He is the true inheritor of that Blessing.
Then after demonstrating the power of the blessing in His own life, He went to the cross and paid the price for the sin of all mankind.
He defeated the curse, rose again and took the blessing back, so that you and I could inherit it. (Gal 3:13-14,29)
We are heirs to everything God did in that garden. Our call is now to help expand it and do our part to fill the earth with God's blessing. (Gal 3:8)
That was God's will for the first Adam and today His will is back in place through Jesus, the last Adam.</b>
10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;
<b>And that God's blessing is to be available to all mankind, through the promised seed.
Not by works, but by the calling of God.</b>
11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
<b>Paul is making it clear that it is by God's grace and not by works that we obtain the promise of salvation. (Eph 2:8-9; Titus 3:5)</b>
12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
<b>Is it unjust in God to give Jacob the blessing rather than Esau? or to accept all believers and not just Israel.
Absolutely not God has a right to fix the terms on which he will show mercy, and compassion and that is all who will believe by faith and not by works of the law.</b>
15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
<b>Paul is saying that you no longer (as Jews) have the right to decide who gets to serve in certain capacities and who doesn't, who is to be saved and who is not.
God, who is sovereign has made his salvation available to all people His grace is open to all that will come to Him through the faith of Christ.</b>
17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
<b>The blessing of God being available to all who will receive even in the case of Pharaoh.
After many instances of stubbornness and rebellion, God gave Pharaoh many opportunities to repent.</b>
18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
<b>God does show mercy on his own terms, which is to all that believe.</b>
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
<b>Paul refers to Jeremiah 18, where God says that he will fit Israel into his plan, (Rom 8:28) depending on how they respond to him.
If a nation or a person (clay) answers the call of the creator (potter) and repents they will become a part of a vessel of honour.
Refusal to answer the call separates them from God and into a cycle of dishonour, into the law of the spirit of sin and death.</b>
22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
<b>The true people of God, the children of promise, was not based on nationality, but on faith in God. Now he gives quotes from two Old Testament prophets to show that this was not a new concept, but had been prophesied hundreds of years before.</b>
25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
<b>This relates directly to the final restoration of the Jews. (Hos 2:23)</b>
26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.
<b>There shall they be called the sons of God, so that they need not leave their own country and come to Judea. (Hos 1:10)</b>
27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:
<b>Isaiah testifies, that many gentiles will be accepted, and many Jews will be rejected and that out of all the thousands of Israel, a remnant only shall be saved.
This was spoken originally of the few that were saved from the ravage of Sennacherib's army. (Is 10:22,23)</b>
28 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.
30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
<b>What is the conclusion?
That the Gentiles, who did not seek God (Eph 4:17-19, 1Pe 4:3), yet as a whole accepted God's gift of salvation.
Israel , the Jews, although following after the law of righteousness, that law which would have led them to faith, and thereby to righteousness (right standing in God, by faith.)
By grace, through faith, God has provided righteousness for all people, regardless of their actions or ethnic background (nationality).
If people will believe and receive His gift, God will reckon them righteous.
This will confuse many who are unable to believe that a person who hasn't lived a morally good life can be righteous in the sight of God, while a morally good person, who does good works, can be unrighteous in His sight. Righteousness is based on faith, not actions.
God gives unto every man the measure of faith. Faith comes as a gift from God by spiritual hearing of the word. (Rom 10:17)
Living by faith is, spiritual hearing of the word of God, and being convinced of its truth, we put our trust in God and obey His leading in expectation that He will fulfill His promises to us.
We are the ones who are to be moved by faith, not God, for God has already provided, everything. (Eph 1:3)
God gave faith as a gift so that in faith, we might be moved in concert, or in tune with what He has already provided, so that He can bring it to manifestation in our lives.
This is what we must become fully persuaded of, faith first seeks God and His righteousness (Christ) and all these things will be added unto us.(Matt 6:33)</b>
31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
<b>Jesus is the "stumbling stone" Jesus is in the path of every person. Those who fail to put their complete trust in Jesus because they are trusting in themselves will stumble and fall, while those who believe and stand in Him will never be ashamed.</b>
33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
<b>While many Gentiles had received God's righteousness by his grace through faith, as had a minority of Jews, the majority of Jews had not done so, for they still sought to be justified by works of law.
It was this stumbling over the message of salvation through faith in Christ that was predicted in. (Is 28:16)
This brought such sorrow to the heart of Paul who longed for the salvation of his own nation.
For although the stumbling was predicted, the promise remains the same, in that whoever believe in Him shall not be ashamed.
This is the reason why Paul made the gospel so clear in Romans, that his fellow countrymen might repent and receive this gospel message.</b>